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.

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.

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.

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 !!

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

...having fun

My studio has been a very busy place since I last updated my blog. As always there has been a steady flow of custom pieces, usually wedding bands and engagement rings, however I've also had the pleasure of creating various other unique jewellery projects. The bracelet pictured at left is actually many of my clients old broken 14k yellow gold bangles, mounted on a large custom sterling cuff. The original bangles held significant sentimental value but needed a change to keep them from breaking over and over again. The new invigorated bracelet holds all the sentiment of the old bangels, yet has the flare and structural quality of a fresh piece. The joy that I witnessed when my client received the finished project reminded me why I really like my job.

I mean really, who doesn't want a sweet gold tooth? You'll be the talk of the town, impress all your friends, and be seriously blingin' and bad ass. (Made with real dental gold, guaranteed not to turn your gums black.) So don't all call at once, these things take time to make...

Dead things

Over the years I've done a few projects involving skulls. They seem to be popular so as of late I've been messing around with a few more skull related projects. I'd like to take things a step further and start casting some real skulls. Tiny ones, birds, mice, rats, etc. However I'm not going to go on a small animal killing spree. So I ask for your help, please if you have any small skulls or bones that may be suitable for casting, contact me. All the necessary contact info is on my website. Also any recommendations for removing flesh, fur, and feathers would be greatly appreciated.

recent projects

Just wanted to add a few pictures of pieces that I've been working on. The first picture is of a recently completed 19k white gold engagement ring with three bezel set sapphires. The second ring is 18k white gold with a central aquamarine surrounded by 12 pave set diamonds. Next I have a set of hers and hers sterling silver bands that were made extra wide and chunky. The fourth picture is of a 14k white gold engagement ring with a Moissenite set between two blue sapphires. My final photo is of a 14k white gold bangle with a satin finish. It has 7 gypsy set diamonds and a bezel set princess cut diamond that functions as the release for the clasp.

Merry Christmas Blog 1 of 3.

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....

Merry and the Ho and Ho!

...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......

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!!

...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.

Happy Holidays!!

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......

Old Gold

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.

repairs, re-sizing, and re........

Tops Off!

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!