Feb 12, 2013

A cast ring begins with a block of wax.  The first step is to saw, file, scrape, and sand the wax model to the shape of the final ring.

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Feb 12, 2013

It starts out rough, but i know i can see the final piece just waiting to emerge.

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Feb 12, 2013

The new wax model next to original wax sketch for the ring.

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Feb 12, 2013

Two small sticks of wax are attached to the top of the ring.  They are called “sprues” and become the channels that the metal is poured into.  The sprues in turn are attached to a rubber sprue base and everything gets a final check.

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Feb 12, 2013

The wax model is placed in a metal “flask”. Once the whole thing is filled with investment plaster, this becomes the mold.

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Feb 12, 2013

The piece is entombed in high temperature plaster and awaits the burn-out.

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Feb 12, 2013

The investment mold being fired in my kiln. It’s called lost wax because the wax model is burned away and the metal is poured into the resulting void.

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Feb 12, 2013

Sterling silver melts at just under 900 degrees Celsius.  I use a torch to melt it in a graphite crucible.  Wish i had a shot of the pour itself, but i need both hands to get it right!

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Feb 12, 2013

The raw silver casting with it’s sprue still attached.

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Feb 12, 2013

The casting is filed and sanded to a smooth surface, any imperfections on the surface are removed.

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Feb 12, 2013

A small piece of fossilized mammoth ivory is chosen and sawn to rough shape.

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Feb 12, 2013

Hand filing the rough casting gets things close to final dimensions, but I use a small milling machine to “deck” the top surface of the ring where it mates with the ivory.

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Feb 12, 2013

To create a perfect fit the mortise is also machined to tight tolerances.

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Feb 12, 2013

The ivory tenon fits the mortise in the ring like a glove and all of the major shaping has been accomplished. Once the two pieces are pressed into final position I can file the inside of the ring flush and smooth.

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Feb 12, 2013

The last step will be a final polish by hand!

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Feb 12, 2013

The finished Mortise ring in sterling silver and fossil mammoth ivory.  The shape is inspired by antique ivory rings from Southern Sudan.

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Jan 25, 2013

At the plater getting covered in 24K gold.  Magic!

Thanks to Junior at RGP here in Toronto.  The and his dad do all my plating and they are old school alchemists.

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Jan 25, 2013

Now for the matching piece!

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Jan 25, 2013

Details are critical.  Shaping the socket for the ear wire on a tiny round punch.  The lead-in and curve if this step guide the tail of the wire so it clicks in place without fiddling.

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