I was very busy with Christmas orders this year. One custom piece that I spent a great deal of time working on was this sterling silver locket that I finished just yesterday, barely in time for the big day today. It's a gift for talented local musician Steve Rio, check out his music if you can, I personally am a big fan.
I started out with a block of wax and after sawing out the rough shape of a heart I started to shape it with files before cutting it in two and beginning to hollow out the center....
Thursday, December 25, 2008
...After carving the inner details with small dental tools I used an electric wax pen to clean it up and add the teeth to the gears and sprockets. It was cast into sterling silver and then the process of slimming it down and losing some of it's bulk began. I used files at first, but soon moved on to my grinder and belt sander. I smoothed it out again with some abrasive buff wheels......
...The process of lining up the center locking mechanism was a tricky one, involving soldering and re-soldering. Followed by a great deal of grinding and fitting until everything was just right. Extra sprockets were riveted in place so that they can actually spin. The center locking pin is hollow so that it can be used for the storage of precious notes or scrolls. The locket was treated with a patina while wrapped in wire to give it an antique ancient feel. When the chain is in place everything is locked up tight and can not be opened. It was a pleasure to build. A real one of a kind piece.
Monday, December 15, 2008
The holiday season is upon us and business has been booming. I haven't had much extra time on my hands, so I've been un-able to update my blog. Seeing as how most of the projects I'm working on are surprises for various people for Christmas, I won't be able to show any works in progress until the new year, at which time they will be completed anyways. So I thought I'd spend a moment to show everyone my gorgeous Christmas Cactus. I picked this little beauty up for free off of Craigslist last spring, the lady who gave it to me told me that it was unhealthy and it had never bloomed. I did a little reading in my amazing home plant book that my Mom gave me for Christmas a few years back, and found out a few tricks for helping it bloom. First and foremost, if you want your Christmas Cactus to bloom in December you must start thinking about making that happen sometime in July. They need to spend a month or two outside during the summer, and then be brought inside before it gets cold. Seems to do the trick. I hope everyone has a very happy holiday season. I need to get back to the bench......
Monday, November 17, 2008
Some people seem to feel that buying jewellery is an expensive proposition. However many of those same people have a jewellery box full of old unwanted and never worn rings, single earrings with no matches, and necklaces that are kinked or busted. That is gold people! Gold = money. I melt down this stuff to make new jewellery that you will want to wear. If you have enough of it, I can be paid in gold too. Here's some photos of a project I did for a good friend of mine. That's his Dad's old wedding band, along with a pretty mean eagle pendant and another pendant he no longer wore. Just add fire, pour into an appropriate sized mold frame, and presto you have what we call an ingot (gold bar). Fast forward from there a few more steps and we have a brand new ring. A ring I might add that said zero dollars next to the word gold on the invoice. So have a look, ask your Mom what she has in her jewellery box. An old sentimental piece that isn't worn can be reborn as something new that can again be treasured and passed down to the next generation to wear or melt as they see fit.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I've never really advertised it, but I do repair work and re-sizing of rings. I get some gorgeous old pieces that were a great Grandmothers or have some other storied past. This is part of the reason I've never advertised this aspect of my work. It can be really nerve-racking putting a blow torch to something that, in essence, is priceless. But it has to be done, no accidents have been had, and (knock on wood) hopefully it stays that way. I've never thought to photograph any of the amazing antiques that have passed through my work shop, because they weren't my creations. However, this blog gives me a new medium that isn't my official portfolio (website) to show a few such pieces. Times have changed in the world of jewellery, I stamp my work with 18k, 14k, 92.5 (for sterling silver), and so on, as well as either DuKo or my logo (the D in the diamond). But a hundred years ago the markings inside a ring could be much more elaborate. I took this piece to be appraised for my client and the markings inside (copied down on paper behind the piece) dated the ring and gave us some additional interesting information. Pick through your old jewellery, it's not too expensive to have a ring re-sized to fit you. Appraisals are also cheap, you may be sitting on a small fortune, find out some interesting family history or come across a "hidden gem".
Monday, November 10, 2008
My good friend Trevor has been instrumental in helping me with my marketing. He built my website and has helped me with innumerable computer issues. Here's his boat "Tops Off", we all benefit from Trev having a boat. Summer's wouldn't be the same with out him. I made tracings from a picture, then transferred them onto a block of wax and carved his boat into 3D. After that it was cast into jewellers bronze (a mixture of silver and copper), filed, sanded and polished. Combined with a custom leather belt, made courtesy of Rivitid designs (notice the spray from the wake) and you have a birthday gift/ thank you belt deserving of a man like Trev. Thanks again T!
Hello, hello, DuKo designs is attempting to get with the times... Special thanks to my good friend Gordon, who has finally taught me what a blog is. I plan to enter some photos and info on various DuKo happenings and projects. I'll hopefully add some stories or background information about some of the custom pieces that I turn out. Wish me luck, I may also grab one of my hammers and smash the whole computer (I've thought about it before). Check back, see how I do...... Have a great day!