Note: This is part 2 of a two part series on my process. You can find Part 1 of the series here.
Once I have finalized the composition and traced the shapes, I cut out the rough shape using a scroll saw. Multiple small pieces can be cut from the same block, while larger pieces usually use the entire block. Once the shapes are cut, I use a disc sander to refine the shape.
Next, I refine the shape further by hand using sanding sticks. The shapes are a challenge to sand evenly because of the combination of very different materials, as well as the visual distraction from the pattern.
After the edges of the shapes are sanded I begin the process of sanding the parallel sides. If I am making a pair of earrings, I cut the shape in half with a jewelers’ saw, creating a mirror image effect. Starting from a course grit (120) I sand the edges to a fine grit (1500)
The next step is sealing the pieces with microcrystalline wax. This not only protects the wood but also brightens the colors and adds depth to the wood grain. This is one of my favorite parts of the process – the pieces instantly transform when the wax is applied!
The final part of the process is making the metalwork. Using recycled sterling silver, I hand fabricate each part using raw materials such as wire and sheet.
After I fabricate the metal pieces, I clean up any solder and sand them from a course grit (320) to a fine grit (1500) creating a brushed finish on the sterling silver. My finishing techniques have been refined over many years of working in the jewelry trade; Did you know I used to refinish high end watches?
The next step is to either apply a surface patina. If the piece has a bright finish, I use a process called depletion gilding to bring the fine silver to the surface of the piece by heating the piece and removing any surface oxidation many times to achieve a brighter finish.
Finally, I assemble the finished pieces. Some of the pieces use an internal pin structure to hold the wood and metal together, while other pieces such as earrings use rivets to allow movement.
And then the piece is finished and ready to wear! As you can see, each piece is a labor of love taking many hours to complete.
Thank you for following along in this behind-the-scenes look a my process. Be the first to know about new blog posts, events, shop updates and more by joining the mailing List. Plus, mailing list members get 10% off their first online purchase!