Sterling silver acoustic guitar urn for ashes.
This guitar was made from a picture of a guy’s guitar. The body of the guitar is hollow and a silver plate is soldered on the back to hold in the ashes.
A young lady handed me a spent bullet casing and told me that she would like to make a piece of jewelry with this. She explained that it was a shell from a ceremonial gun salute at her father’s funeral. She had some ideas of what she wanted: a bracelet that was casual enough and sturdy enough to wear anywhere. His name and birth stone on one side and his birth year and the year of his passing on the reverse side.
We made plans on the design of a bracelet. I was going to solder on sterling silver jump rings, solder on a silver bezel for the citrine and attach a silver chain. But once I cut open the shell I was pleasantly surprised to find the base more solid then I thought it would be. This allowed me more options. I text her some of the proposed ideas that I came up with along the way. Like how I had thought I would have had to add a bezel to set the stone. But the brass was plenty thick enough to flush set the birth stone.
I used a tiny ball burr (0.036mm) under a 6 power microscope to engrave the letters. (The last name blurred out for privacy.)
Instead of just soldering on jump rings, I made a sterling silver ring that fit in the channel at the base of the shell. I soldered two rings on it before fitting it over and soldering the large loop In place, making it seamless, for a great appearance. By using a necklace for the chain, I had the length to double up the chain to give it enough thickness to look proportionate, design wise, yet still be feminine.
The last picture is the date side which still has the primer cap and manufacturing stamps in which I added the dates.
Not only is this a cool looking bracelet using a bullet shell, but the meaning behind this one is so awesome.
Here is another cool custom snare drum wedding ring. It all started when I saw his Drum Workshop shirt and asked him if he has one of those awesome drum sets. He does. (I’m so jealous).
I showed him my drum ring and the next thing you know, his wife says that he has to have one. Lucky guy. We got to work on his drum ring.
This 14k yellow and white gold ring is made up of 28 parts. The shell and rims were milled in wax. I did them in different color waxes just to help us in the shop keep straight the color of metal each were to be cast in.
Shown here is the shell, rims and lugs assembled after casting. The lugs were fabricated from a rod of white gold, cut into little slabs. Each was concave to have as much contact with the shell as possible . It took about an hour just to space out the 8 lugs and to laser tacked them in place. Then I soldered them on at the bench with a torch.
The 14k white gold 20 gauge wire used for the tension rods were laser welded in place.
A florentine graver was randomly used to give a wood grain effect.
I was digging in my workbench at home and found these rings. My first cast ring (copper barbed wire ring) and first fabricated ring. (The silver dangerous, spike ring).
Not sure where the spiked peace sign pendant wrapped in fabricated barbed wire went. Lol.
I am glad that I grew out of the dangerous jewelry phase.
This custom remount pretty much kept the same classic design as the original (not pictured) but the goal was to do a more lighter, feminine version in white gold. The micro prong set diamonds helped lightening up the feel of the ring from the original bulky 3 channel design. We also opened up the shoulders of the ring to make it more airy. We did a cool square shank and cast it in super white 14k gold alloy that does not need rhodium plating.
Here are a few of my favorite custom tanzanite rings that I made.
This bad boy started with a 12mm wide platinum band. I added two platinum “tree trunks” to support an 18k yellow gold trillion bezel that floats above the ring. I was always amazed how heavy this ring felt. Platinum is considerably more dense then gold.
This irregular shaped trillion tanzanite had awesome color. It screamed in this super white gold mounting.
This is my first trap set pendant. I looked at a number of pieces from different manufacturers. There were various technics of setting, all with there pros and cons. I took what I thought was good from each and got to work. Since the outer ring of stones are holding the center diamond in it’s seat. I picked out stones with the same diameter AND depth. I measured to the hundredths of a millimeter. I needed to hit 1.00ct total weight. The six outer stones weighed 0.76ct so that left about a 1/4ct stone for the center. I laid them out and it seemed that this combination was going to be perfect.
I did most of the work in wax. I did recut the seats once it was in gold. I was surprised how low the center diamond was set in the mounting. I kept on burring deeper and deeper until the underbelly (pavilion) of the outer ring of diamonds rested on the crown facets of the center. (Trapping it in place). Luckily, I built up the prongs extra tall in the wax. It gave me the leverage to push the shared prongs over the diamonds with pliers rather then having to use a hammer hand piece which would have vibrated the stones like crazy when securing the stones. Then I simply trimmed and dressed the prongs to a triangle shape.
I love being asked to find solutions for a wedding set. For hers, she wanted a bypass design. So the design was quite obvious. I matched the heart motif and kept a similar width and profile.
I cast it in two pieces so I could better finish the inside of the bypass.
It is nice to see yellow gold making a come back.
Even with wanting to keep a similar bypass look, his ring had many possible design variations. He chose the center to be a half round band.
I used tungsten burnished to work harden the ring. It hardens the surface and makes to more scratch resistant.
You can check my whole website dedicated to drum and guitar rings.
But here is how I made my last order:
I use a Wolf Wax attachment to turn a #35 foredom hand piece into a mini router. I first ream out the tube to the desired finger size and then shape the wax to a plain basic band.
By changing the large cylinder bur to a wheel bur, I milled the step of the “rim” of the hoop. I Flipped the wax over and repeat the cut.
I marked out 8 equal lines for the placement of the lugs and tension rods.
For this design, I carved the lugs in the wax. By doing the rims, shell and lugs in one piece, it dramatically cut down the labor of assembling individual parts in metal. (Which I have done on some drum multi colored gold versions.)
Here is the finished wax after texturing the shell with a 1.0 mm ball bur for the finish the customer custom ordered.
The wax model is sprewed on to a rubber base and a metal cylinder is placed over that.
A special plaster is poured into the flask. When the plaster hardens the rubber base is removed, exposing the ends of the wax sprew. The flask is placed in a kiln. As the temperature rises, the wax melts out, leaving a cavity of exactly what was carved.
The molten metal is “shot” into the flask with the aid of a centrifuge.
Here is a flask just after casting.
When you dunk the mold in water, the plaster breaks down.
Here is the rough casting with the sprew and “button”. You always need to carefully calculate how much metal you use to cast with. Too much, and molten metal would go flying out after overfilling the mold. Too little, and the ring is incomplete or plagued with porosity. (Small voids)
The ring is cut off of the button and goes through a process of sanding and polishing. The button can be used in the next casting along with the addition of more new metal.
I am working on the tension rods. Holes are drilled and wire is soldered in place.