Light my Fire

It’s finally about time to get started on this mythical Zippo lighter I’ve been talking about.  It’s been a while since I got my hands on a sterling silver zippo case and I’ve been thinking about exactly how I wanted to approach this project.

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It’s simple enough in principle.  I need to combine these two things.

What makes it difficult is that every asshole on the planet who makes skull rings (granted there aren’t THAT many of us) has some version or another of a skull zippo.  How could mine be a little different?

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Well, for starters I’m not going with a realistic skull.  I’m making the kind of skull that my clients are used to seeing from me:  big, heavy, and kinda stylized.

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We’re going to give it just enough dimension to get some serious light shaping on the outside.  I only have a few milimeters to play with, so we can’t go nuts.  Plus, nobody wants this thing wearing a hole in their jean pocket while they carry it around.  The form has to be flat enough for comfort.

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Yeah, that’s right.  My skull zippo is upside-down.  I’m going to put the break in the lighter at the skull’s teeth because that’s the freakin’ shape the lighter makes.  Seriously.  Why the hell are so many of those skull zippos out there putting the break right through the skull’s eyes?  I get it.  Maybe the first 150 times, it worked.  But that’s just about all I was able to find online.  So yep, mine’s upside-down.  You fish this fella out of your pocket to light up  and he opens his jaws and spits flame.

The carving isn’t even close to being finished and I have a lot of scroll work to put in once it is.  I still have to design the chain clasp and everything.

On another note here’s a shot of a Big Voodoo I’m working on for a client who wanted to see how raw the ring could look short of scarring it up with a file.  The way these are designed…well, they’re pretty f’king raw already.  Still, I’m throwing up some shots to see if this is enough or if we need to take this to the next level.

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Finally, finally, finally done with the tentacle ring.

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THis bad boy took a while because it was done completely from scratch .  THat’s right, a raw block of wax.  Now we’re nearly finished.  Just a bit o’ wax polishing and then its time to cast in sterling silver.  Stay tuned!

EOD….Wedding Bands… relation.


I don’t know if any of you people out there know Jason, but all I can say is if you do, don’t let him punch you.  Ever.

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Because if you do, not only will you probably ruin a perfectly awesome skull ring, but it will likely result in severe facial lacerations.

This EOD skull ring was designed based on the client’s tattoo.  It was difficult for a number of reasons, primarily the fact that it is not a symmetrical ring.  If you set it down, it will list to the side.  The skull side has more mass.  So how do we pull this off?

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The skull has a flame theme along the side and the side with the bomb has a bunch of feathers.

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The rear is texted with “EOD” and the client’s initials.

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We’ve got bolts and bones forming a loose X, but this doesn’t make it a symmetrical piece.  The trick is, it has to look good ON THE FINGER, not sitting on a table.  Plus, it has to be at least a little comfortable to wear, so the shank has to have balance.

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The result is a badass skull ring with a lot of mass.  Not gonna be something you can wear to bed.  Adding all this detail – there’s aways a chance you’ll lose the raw energy of a hand-carved piece.  I think this ring keeps it.  IT’s still just rough enough to keep that hand-carved Voodoo style that you’d expect, but all the information is in there and it’s readable.

Added to this, I’ve just finished Ron’s wedding bands.

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And a good thing, too, because the wedding is coming up fast.  These are exactly the kind of bands I like working on.  Listen…it takes a lot for me to look at a band and think, “Damn, that’s as cool as a sculptural ring like a skull ring or a signet.”  In this case, I think we’ve pulled it off.

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First of all, they’re thick.  Yes.  This is the trick with bands.  Nobody hires a sculptor to carve custom wedding bands with the intent of ending up with something thin, brittle, and looking like it was made out of a piece of gold or silver wire that was bent around into a circle and soldered shut.  These babies are CARVED out of a block of wax as a single piece.  No solder.  It’s a sculpture, just as much as any skull ring would be.

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I’ve kept the heart and cross theme from the couple’s engagement set.  I’ve even let the cross element draw its contours into the top of the band so you can always tell where the heart is.  After all, this couple knows they’ve found each other, right?  We shouldn’t be SEARCHING for the heart.

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Along the band I’ve carved some scrollwork set into a channel.

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That’s a unique look, right?  Hand carved engagement ring, hand carved wedding band…both designed per client’s specs and made to fit together.  It’s a LOT of silver, so I don’t know how comfortable it will be to wear BOTH of these rings all the time day and night, but it’s definitely workable for regular wear.

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Definitely a cool project.

Stay tuned for more.  I’ve got some charms, a few new custom projects, and FINALLY that Zippo lighter coming up soon.


Squidly Beast

I’ve just about finished the wax for Michael’s tentacle ring.  This has taken a good amount of time since the entire thing has been carved from scratch and there is a good amount of detail to worry about.

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We haven’t set the spot int he mask where the gemstone “eye” will be yet.  That’s going to go down after I confirm the size of the stone.

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“Mask” you say?  Yeah, the idea is that this Lovecraftian creature is wearing a gas mask.  I’ve put some texturing on the mask and the skin of the creature itself.

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So Michael….the back of this ring is still wide open.  Thinking you want any detail back there or should we keep it smooth?  Also, blax onyx okay for the ‘eye?’

Bands and tentacles

1 Comment

Think I’ve finished Ron and Michelle’s waxes for the wedding band set.  This was another one of those projects that is hard to part with now that they’re done.  I really dig how the scroll work turned out.

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These are big, thick, satisfying bands with comfort shaping in the inside.  I was able to work in the heart and cross imagery from the previous pair of custom pieces that I had designed for them.

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So now I have to just clean and polish these waxes up and get ready for casting.  We’re on a clock BIG TIME on these two.  Can’t miss the wedding.  Why more people don’t do full custom wedding bands is beyond me.  I’ve made a bunch of them and to me, a wedding ring is the BEST opportunity to splurge.  Screw the stupid cake.  That thing is toast before the night is over and you probably won’t remember eating it anyway.  The rings will last your entire life and likely be passed down to family after you’re gone.  With that said, why go for standard bands?

These are going to be sterling silver, which means the won’t hold up as well as gold, but that’s cool.  In fact, my own wedding ring is silver.  I actually like that it ages WITH the client.  It’ll get dinged and dented as you go along.  After 50 years, you’ve got yourself a vintage ring with authentic aging.  It’s like a piece of bone.  Totally awesome.

But meanwhile I’ve got other projects in the fire.  I’m working on a very, very cool custom piece for Michael D.  This was originally going to be built on the frame of a Big Voodoo to save costs, but like an idiot I scrapped that idea to go for an absolute full-custom piece.

It’s not a skull ring.  It’s more of a HP Lovecraft creature wearing a gas mask.

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So congrats, Michael, your idea was too fucking cool and now I’m doing a full custom ring from raw wax.

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This is going to take a lot longer, but it will be worth the extra time.  Plus, my client gets a full custom piece for about 70% of the cost.

Stay tuned for more action on America’s number one skull ring network.

Go Denver.