A basket of skull rings. And other crap.


I’ve had a bunch of new projects rolling in. A lot of really cool custom jobs that I’ve wanted to put on the blog. Problem is, there are just too many. You get to a point when you can either produce work or just talk about it and my clients would rather me produce. My turnaround time for custom pieces can be a month or more as it is, so we’re not exactly talking about ride-the-lightning speed here.

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Ive finished up Michael’s custom sugar skull with turquoise eyes and a heart with thorns placed into the forehead. I don’t know why this one was so damned hard to photograph.

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The heart was dimensional like the thorns and the result is very cool, I think. Took a while to carve up, but it was worth it.

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I also wanted to show the progress on Dee’s skull ring. We’re going to try Tiger’s eye for the eyes on this one. eh? Should be cool, right? Those stones are either going to make this one of the most badass sugar skulls I’ve ever done, or they’re going to supremely suck and we’ll have to go with something else.

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Speaking of taking a while to carve up……Danny’s been waiting for me to finish this fucking thing for what seems like eons.

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I freaking love these square turquoise signet-style rings I’ve been churning out, but they’re a bitch to make. I think I’ve ranted on this subject before. The solution, I suppose, would be to get the turquoise miners to make every turquoise stone the exact same size. (a simpler solution would be for me to make a template that fits most stone sizes and try to make adjustments as needed, but that just sounds DUMB.)

I’ve just started another project which promises to be cool as hell.

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Tiki ring. yeah.

I have to apologize to a few would-be clients out there. I’ve been turning down a lot of work lately because I’ve had so many custom projects on the table. Please don’t take it personally and feel free to send me requests a bit later (sometimes its all about timing) and I’ll jump on them. Now this doesn’t apply to the dolphin jumping over a heart-shaped crystal people……screw you and the unicorns you rode in on.

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To add to the stack, I’ve also been asked to write a book about skull rings. You read that right. Actually, it sounds like an intriguing idea. Why exactly does one wear a small metal version of their head on their finger? And if you’re going to do that, who should make that little metal version of your head and how should they make it? It’s going to include some history and cultural discussion as well and I’m hoping to include some comments from my favorite skullsmiths from around the world.

So stay tuned.

Client shots

Jassen sent me a shot of his Crow Skull recently.  He ordered a custom finish on his piece which is now wearing to one of the coolest finishes I’ve ever seen.

Thing looks like it was unearthed from Conan’s tomb.  Righteous.  This is why the black finishes are so cool.

Also, Mike sent me some shots of his Bushido Ring hard at work in the audio control room.

You guys take nice pictures.



Land of the Gods is finished


Mike’s Japanese LVD is finished.

Obviously this little gem turned out great.  The green jade looks dark and mossy in the eyes.  In many ways, this is like the sugar treatment, but taken in a different direction.

Great thing about the jade is that it brightens up in the sun.  Indoors, it almost looks like black onyx.  I’m going to put a few more touches on the finish and then ship this baby out this week.  Mike, shoot me your address if you haven’t already done so.

Nathan Morgan’s Blue’s Power and a few out of the fire.

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Nathan Morgan’s ring is finally finished.  Blues Power, jack.

I made the teeth a little crooked just to give it some gas.  Going to ship this sucker this week.  NMT, let me know when you’re playing in town again.  Maybe I’ll swing it by in person.

I’m also ready to finish up Mike’s Japanese ring as well as my new Boss Voodoo with the gold teeth.  The casts came out great.

To avoid keeping all kinds of precious metal at home, I do all my metal work at a shop right outside of the city.  I’ve done the odd gold tooth now and again, but his will be my first time doing an entire grill full of gold teeth.  I’ll try to post photos of the entire process so you cyber-space f’ers can laugh your asses off if I screw it up.

Japanese ring is next, though.  It’s going into the tumbler this afternoon and then I’m setting the gemstones.  Pics soon.

Land of the Gods is WAXED

Fairly certain I’ve got Mike’s Japanese ring all set to go.

The Little Voodoo is a tiny frame so it was tough fitting everything.  Here’s the lowdown:

Forehead is a take on the Book of Five Rings and a Lotus framed in what kind of resembles a samurai helmet.  The back of the ring continues that pattern all the way around the shank.
I’ve sized the eyes for the jade stones.  This bad boy should look fantastic when its done.
I’m real happy with this.  Mike, shoot me an email and let me know if this is good to cast.

Land of the Gods 2

This is my first marker pass at Mike’s ring.  He wants the eye pattern from Becky’s Sugar Cat (which I agree, does have a Japanese flavor to it.

This is a rough marker pass, so it might be a little hard to see.  There’s not enough room for five individual rings in the forehead, but I am going to come up with something using the lotus theme.

The shank has horizontal lines running around it (like a helmet) and meet at a seam in the back.  We have to have someplace to put the sprue, don’t we?

Mike, let me know if I’m close on this one.

Land of the Gods

Mike has ordered a Little Voodoo (I’m seriously almost out of these waxes) and he wants a full custom job on it.  The themes are complex but to sum it up, its going to be Japanese.

Now I’m not talking about anime and neither is Mike.  That’s not Japan, okay?

I’m talking Musashi Miyamoto, Book of Five Rings, Seven Samurai, Bushido, Zen, badass Kamons, green Jade eyes, Son of Heaven, Shogunate, land of the gods Japan.

Like most things Japanese, this is going to be simple, but also complex as hell.

I’ve got a leg up on this because I’ve seen everything Kurosawa’s ever done. I’ve seen some Mizoguchi, a ton of Ozu, and a few Seijun Suzuki flicks.    I’ve read The Book of Five Rings.  I’ve read some histories of Japan.  Yeah, I’m not an idiot.

Now the first thing is obviously going to be jade eyes.  Mike and I are on the same page here.

Forehead?  Right now I’m thinking of making a kamon out of the five ring motif that appears on a number of editions of Miyamoto Musashi’s “Book of Five Rings.”

kamon, man.

Mike was very clear that this shouldn’t be mistaken for a Chinese ring and I couldn’t agree more.  So using a Kamon is a great way to go.  Check out the lotus in the upper right hand corner of that pic.  I can work that in with THIS:

The five ring symbol creates a sort of lotus-type shape anyway and I can probably combine that into an original crest that fits the bill.

I’ve also collected a lot of kanji.  But here’s the thing.  Unless you’re born and trained in kanji and the art of making script, this stuff is almost impossible to do correctly.  There are subtleties in the form that my Irish-American ass won’t be able to get a grip on.  So likely this is out, unless I keep it very, very simple and have Mike approve everything before I try to carve it.  Musashi details elements in his book (fire, water, earth, void, etc) and I’ve collected kanji script for each element.

that means "water" apparently.

If you think you understand this stuff, trust me, you don’t.  Typefaces in the English alphabet are like child’s play next to kanji.  Still, the kanji script for all of Musashi’s elements would look great around the back of the shank.

Yet another thing to think about is this tsuba shape, which is supposedly designed by Musashi before he died.

This too could be worked into something like these images:

I really dig the upper right hand corner, second from the right on the top row.

For the shank, it would also be interesting to explore a diamond patter like one might find on the hilt of a sword. Damn, there are so many options.

Anyway, Mike, let me know what you think about my five rings idea.  Or if you like something else you see up here.