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Hello to Everyone!

 

I'm finally posting an actual project (I feel like I've been a member for a long time and haven't actually show a project). Anyway, this is a project I was actually inspired for. Usually, I just use somebody else's patter and carve in wood. But since my shop and I currently reside 70 miles apart, and what with starting the family mixed with school (time and a half), and work, I don't get much time with the bandsaw or the woodcarving books. But that leaves time to grow as an artist (hopefully, I am actually growing).

 

I recently decided that conventional college is not for me and quit the 4-year university (computer science), to pursue a degree in jewelery design/ stone setting. And I'm loving every minute of it. A few weeks ago, after I finished soldering a particularly difficult joint, I was smoking a cigarette and pondering life (why, I'll never know). And it just so happened that a huge sycamore is growing very near the school. And I got to thinking, wouldn't it be great, if we (as human beings) just knew what we were meant to be from the very beginning. That would make life so much easier as I spent the last 3 years following the computer science curriculum just to throw it away and start all over as a jeweler.

 

And I looked at the giant tree across the street and thought how trees know right away from the minute they sprout, what they will spend their life time doing. Thus, a project was born. I decided to make an old, weathered, apple tree. After I have cast it, I plan to set a red stone (probably red synthetic spinel), on the end of a branch to symbolize an apple. The apple makes the symbolism so much better, because even thought the plant is near death, it is still doing exactly what it was meant to do.

 

The plan is to cast the tree in sterling silver. And fix it to a piece of rough amethyst I have to act as a base. And depending on how it looks once I've accomplished that, I may put the amethyst on top of a round piece of hardwood, perhaps cherry or walnut. We'll see.

 

Anyway, I'm posting pictures up, I'll have the crop them down first. the rest of this thread will be devoted to this project. I have a few questions I need answered before I can mount the tree on the amethyst; namely How? I've never tried to set metal in stone (it's always been the other way around).

I'm currently thinking to use a diamond bit in a flex shaft to carve out channels that are about the same size as the roots and undercutting so I can actually inlay the roots, and perhaps use epoxy to help stabilize the joint. Any hints or tips would be welcome. As far as actually getting the trunk secured I was thinking about drilling a hole in the amethyst to accommodate a post out of the bottom of the trunk.

 

Thanks for looking guys, I hope I can get this project finished soon. I'll try to get my mold made tomorrow/ maybe even get it burned out and poured by thursday or friday.

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here is the wax carving of the tree. I didn't draw anything out, just kinda flew by the seat of my pants. Carving done with a high carbon steel woodcarving knife (nothing special). It's still pretty thick, but the wax is a little brittle, I might try taking down a little girth with the flex shaft.

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and here they are side by side, and with the tree standing atop the stone as it will in the finished piece.

 

note: Janel, these images were supposed to be resized to 640x480 and have a file size of right around 50 mb. but they still seem huge. Did I get it right, or am I missing something?

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Some thoughts on finishing...

 

I have heard of people using oil based products (i.e. danish oil) to keep a polished metal from tarnishing. Does anybody know if this will work. Furthermore, would danish oil harm a synthetic spinel or the amethyst? because I'll probably finish all of it together if that will work.

 

any tips or tricks would be appreciated.

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IZZY,the way i do a carving is to have a peg to glue it to the base on all of them i can.look at the fiddle player in my gemstone carvings,his shoes are black jade and there is a peg carved on the top and bottom.the base and pants are drilled for the pegs to fit tight and then glued with epoxy and they are steady and nothing shows but the shoes.best regards,kenneth neaves

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Izzy,

At the age of twenty seven I decided it was time to find what in life there was that I’d like to do for the rest of my life, at this time I was a highly paid job shop machinist but felt there was something missing.

 

Went to one of the best junior colleges in southern California to study Art Photography and Graphics as I thought this was my direction, only took one semester to find out that the photography and graphics were steering me towards yet another job so I concentrated on Art for two more semesters.

 

During this time I was still game fully employed as a machinist and for two summers in a row I spent weeks on the road looking for my paradise and taking photographs, managed to sell some of the photographs even some to an advertising agency.

 

After the first long term trip I came back and went back to school, during this time I began to have the desire to play with stone mosaic and jewelry this led to the decision to make this my future. In 1978 my girlfriend (now my wife) and I bailed out of California to make a go of it. Went broke almost immediately, we persisted and over the years it has paid off handsomely in many ways, most of all the peaceful life style.

 

I have been at the thing I love most all the years since although somewhat side tracked with a diamond tool company (still related to Lapidary). Right now I’m in the process of finishing a brand new studio so I can go back to full time Lapidary and jewelry, most likely very little jewelry more so “Objects of Art ” in stone and metal.

 

I have posted an image of the new studio from the outside of the building, if you’d like to see it as it went up go to this link http://www.lopacki.com/studio/ we are in the process of finishing the inside, all that is left is painting the walls and then I get to start designing all of the benches.

 

The main reason I have given this information is to show you that if you follow your dreams your life becomes full of untold riches far beyond money. You can go to this link to see some of the things I’ve been blessed to get to make over the years, hopefully this will help in your decision and give inspiration to continue your quest. http://www.lopacki.com/art/

 

I will answer your questions regarding mounting the tree in the next post as I don’t want it included in this post.

 

All my best ........ Danny

 

P.S. If you want to get an idea of what I’m up to in the new studio when its finished, I’ve posted CAD images of a box I’ve been wanting to build for thirty years, I have just begun the design with entirely new software and as I’m limited on play time most days the design is far from the final product. Gotta love CAD software it lets you see what’s in your head.

 

Link to the box design http://www.lopacki.com/rhino/

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Izzy,

Many times when you make something from sterling you want it to have patina (tarnish), I have made things got them all buffed up and then tarnished them and then gone over them with 0000 steel wool, gives a very nice satin finish and also gives character to the piece. You might texture your tree and try what I have said above.

 

The image below was done as explained above.

 

Regarding attaching the tree to the base, Kenneth has already replied regarding using pegs which is probably the most secure way to hold the two together. Your idea of making a channel to set the tree into would be quite nice, especially if it looks like the tree is growing out of the Amethyst.

 

All my best ....... Danny

 

If you ever have questions and would rather talk than type my toll free number is on my website.

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Thanks for the encouragement and help with this project. I did use the flex shaft with a wood carving bur shaped kind of like a bell, with excellent results. Unfortunately in my excitement I got hasty and didn't get a picture. This afternoon, I added a little length to several of the root and poured my investment for the mold. I'm scheduled to burn out the wax, and cast the silver on thursday afternoon. Then it's sawing and filing and polishing.

 

I'm going to bring home a couple of (sterling silver) fork tines and try the undercutting inlay method for tacking down the roots on a spare piece of amethyst. Hopefully all goes well.

 

thanks again for the replies.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alright guys, I got her finished up Saturday afternoon (and a relief too). I had to give up on the inlay plan, the amethyst was too brittle to handle the beating. However, I did make prongs on the ends of each of the roots, set each one in a pre drilled hole, and glued everything in place with multi purpose cement which dried rather quickly and seems to have done the job well.

 

One of the roots I left alone when I glued the tree to the stone. After the glue dried, I bent the tip of the root over a natural protrusion in the stone to sort of set it in place like you would when setting a stone in a ring. The glue held and I ran another line around the roots. I'm very pleased with the results.

 

The base is Cherry finished with 2 coats of clear Danish Oil, and paste wax. The photos may be a little blurry, I hope you can see them.

 

thanks for looking,

 

Izzy

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