Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wedding photos

I absolutely love it when I receive photos from my clients of their wedding day. It makes the work I do even more rewarding when I know that I've added to that special day. Keep them coming everyone....

Friday, September 10, 2010

limited edition team logo belt buckles part 2

Once the logos have been carved into the wax it's time to flip them over and hollow out the back. I hold them up to a light so as to be able to achieve a consistent thickness throughout. I then use my wax pen to add details like the findings to the back, as well as to clean up any nicks in the wax that have occurred in the carving process. These particular buckles were made as gifts and so I also added the recipients names to the back in the wax before I cast them into jewellers bronze (a mixture of sterling silver and copper). Once cast they still need to be filed, sanded and polished as well as have the moving fastener for attaching a leather belt added and hammered in place. I have added a rich dark patina to give them an aged look and provide a dark contrast into the crevices in the background. It's then time to polish them and add leather for photographing. They are being produced, numbered 1 to 50, in a limited edition series that should soon be available for purchase on the web.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Limited edition team logo belt buckles

I started by modifying these team logos in photoshop. I needed them to be the right dimensions to work as belt buckles, the wings logo is a great example, as normally the wheel is small and most of the logo is a wing. I printed them out to the actual size needed and then set about turning them into 3D waxes for casting. I scribed and then cut the right size and thickness of wax off of my large wax block. The next step was to tape a logo to my piece
of wax and carefully poke holes through the paper into the wax to transfer the logo onto the wax. My hand often cramps up during this step. Once I've poked holes every couple of millimeters around the entire logo, I remove the paper and connect the dots to complete my transfer onto the wax. Then out come the dental tools and so begins the painstaking process of carving my team logo belt buckle in 3D.

Friday, July 9, 2010

lilies brooch

I was recently commissioned to make a 4oth anniversary sterling silver brooch based on my clients wife's favorite flowers, chocolate lilies. Seeing as how it was their 4oth (ruby) anniversary I had the added task of incorporating rubies into the design. We settled on star rubies due to their uniqueness and the fact that they are most often found as cabochons and would fit my idea of adding them as berries. We over looked the fact that chocolate lilies don't have berries, because what else were we to do?
I carved the brooch out of wax and had it cast into sterling silver.
My client wanted an antique sort of look to the piece, and I was glad that they were willing to spend a little extra to get me to make the findings by hand. I settled on a french catch, two pieces of tubing one that slides inside of the other. The outer tubing is soldered to back of the brooch and a cap or handle is soldered to the end of the inner tubing so that it can't slide out of the outer tube. The catch pin is fabricated from a piece of sterling plate and hammered to give it strength, it is riveted into position once everything else is soldered in place.I added a dark patina before polishing so that the crevices would remain dark. This helped me to achieve an antique sort of look.
The final step was the stone setting, a little hammering and I was ready for a final polish.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!!

DuKo Designs wishes everyone a very happy Canada day. I'll be out of town camping and doing Canadian things like drinking beer, eating maple syrup, paying homage to the beaver, and whatever else it is that we do. Have a great long weekend !!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Remaking a favourite....

These 14k yellow gold and sterling silver wedding bands were made special order for clients who liked an existing design that I've made a few times in limited quantities.

Having a rubber mold of the design sure does make life easy. First I inject three waxes from my rubber mold. Cast them into sterling silver. I needed to combine two of them together to make one ring large enough for him. Hers only needed minor tweeking to get the proper size. I then got the files out and removed the sterling silver edges.
After making 14k yellow gold square wire, cutting, bending, and joining the pieces into replacement edges, I was ready to solder them in place. Once I was satisfied with the way everything lined up, I filed and sanded the rings until near completion. I applied a dark patina to the silver that would sink into the crevices creating a nice contrast once the rings were given their final polish. (shown below).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Custom Wedding Band : 19k White Gold with Sterling Silver Inlay

I thought the process of how I created this custom wedding band would be interesting to show on my blog. These photos show some of the techniques I went through, from carving the wax to the patina finish.

It began by carving a man's ring size 8.25 from a wax tube. It was then cast in 19k white gold. This created the frame for the structure of the band.

Sterling silver was inlay-ed into the center which allows for contrasting colors and textures, as the 19k gold is a very hard metal in comparison. The 19k white also doesn't react to the patina I used.

I annealed the ring and added the hammered texture carefully so as not to ruin the shape of the ring with the constant tapping.

I finished the piece to a high polish and then the final patina was added.

The contrast in the two metals through color and hammered texture make it a truly unique design. I was quite pleased with the finished result.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Proud parents

When my good friend told me that he wanted a rough gold bar with his young daughters name in it to hang on a chain for his wife, I have to admit I didn't know what to make of it. I'm a little more accustom to making much more polished and finished pieces. Luckily, I'm in the business of making sure my clients get what they want. He had all the gold, we just put a blow torch on it and poured a small ingot. Then a few passes through the rolling mill to flatten it out. Solder on some jump rings to hang it on a chain. Rough engraving (what he wanted) is quick and easy too. I'm rather pleased with the results, and there wasn't hours of sanding and polishing either.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Building a "Koru"

I just put the finishing touches on a neat custom wedding band for a client of mine in San Fransisco. He sent me this image at left of a Koru. I had to Wikipedia "Koru" to find out what sort of custom ring I would be making, the "Wiki" definition goes like this:
koru (Māori for "bight"or "loop") is a spiral shape based on the shape of a new unfurling silver fern frond and symbolizing new life, growth, strength and peace. It is an integral symbol in Māori art, carving and tattoos. The circular shape of the koru helps to convey the idea of perpetual movement while the inner coil suggests a return to the point of origin.
After a few em
ails back and forth of various sketches and designs we settled on the image shown, above at right, and then it was time to get busy making the ring. I made the inner shank from 14k yellow gold, and the outer shank out of 19k white gold (to match his fiances). I used a template printed from the original image he had sent me to trace the Koru onto the 19k stock and pierce out the design with my jewellers saw. After some careful fitting the two bands were in place and I could solder them together. Some filing, sanding and polishing and the ring was complete.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Duko Designs Internship with Amanda Lye

From January to May Duko Designs had an intern, Amanda Lye, from Halifax's Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. Some things we worked on while Amanda was in the studio included a series of branch and buds, sage leaves and a Japanese maple leaf belt buckle. This included everything from design, fabrication, various mold making techniques, wax injecting and casting multiples. We will soon have a whole new jewellery line with the branch and buds. Here are a few photos of the various process' involved in a few of the pieces we made.

We collected some branches from a storm in January and cast them in jewellers bronze. Then we made designs from the cast branches to include the buckle and hook for the belt buckle and earrings. We fabricated these and then rubber molded the finished designs and had them cast in silver. They were filed, sanded and tumbled along with the sage leaf line. The final step was to patina them to bring out colours such as orange, red and purple.