This Custom Life


It’s been a while and I just had to sit down and throw up a few custom jobs that have me pretty excited.  A few I’ve just wrapped up including one LONG TERM project that took me the better part of five months to finish.

The Abraxis ring.


A client threw this one at me back when we were all wearing coats and I have to admit, I just didn’t get the concept at first.  He had worked the whole thing out – knew exactly what was supposed to go where and how it was supposed to look.  He did what I usually like clients to do which is REALLY think out what imagery was supposed to be worked into the design.  Problem was, I really didn’t think it would come together the way we were talking about it.  He’d say “put this here and put that there” and I’d kind of think “okay…gonna be a trainwreck.”  But hell, this ring came out great.  More than great.  I was very, very happy with it to the point of wishing I’d offered something like this as a regular part of the line.

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We’ve got some great texture worked into the shank with a classic 3/4 skull and crossbones on one side and a buddhist wheel on the other.  Big cock on the shank.  No, I’m not kidding.  And guess what, it looks badass.

The front features the wrapped snake and Abraxis with his two snake legs, whip and shield.

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Google it.  I think it all ties together.  Very cool project and definitely a one-of-a-kind piece.

Speaking of one of a kind pieces, I also had a client come back to me after ordering a Torque and want a full custom skull ring to go with it.  I dig this.  First of all, that’s kind of my thing: a big ring and a bracelet on the same hand.  I used to offer a special on the Full Right Hand that packaged these together.  Second, the concept was great.

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This is the emblem from the Prussian Totemkopf.  There are some pretty amazing photographs of these calvary badasses in full regalia.

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It’s got distinct round eyes with bone ridges completely encircling the brow.  No bottom jaw.  I was adapting this a bit since we can’t do a good 3/4 version that would wear comfortably, but I think it’s pulled off rather well, if I do say so myself.


The trick is, when a client brings in a concept for a 3/4 view skull ring, to design the ring straight-on that will look accurate from the 3/4 view, but still wear in the round.  It’s hard to explain, but you can see in the photo above that the skull has the same basic sculptural planes that the reference does once we turn the skull’s head.

It’s always a blast doing Jupiter rings or a one-off skull like this one (which started as a Big Voodoo, believe it or not) because I feel like it’s going back to my roots as a skullsmith.

Not to be outdone, I also had a client order her fella a custom wedding band with a series of small skulls nested in the shank.


When I do a band, I still want it to be hefty.  Nothing is worse than one of those cheesy paper-thin bands that was obviously formed out of a piece of wire and soldered together (which is basically how it’s done 90% of the time.)  This one is cast all in one piece.  And the result is a lot heartier and more satisfying.


Still comfortable as well, since I comfort-fit the inside of the shank.  But this bad boy won’t squash into what I call the “five year oval” that many of the thinner rings become after they’ve been squashed and stretched into oblivion.

Last, but not least, I’ve got an AWESOME project on the bench for a client interested in a full custom piece.


We’re doing one for the man.  The Evel Knievel ring is underway.  It’s hard to explain to young people what a big freakin’ deal Evel was, even by the 1980s when I was growing up.  Well, we’re doing a ring for Rob to honor Evel and his bike.


This one is based on client sketches that I’ve adapted into something very wearable that uses all of Evel’s imagery.  Another longer term project that’s going to take some time to get right, but it will be worth it.



The block-out is done to a size 10.  Fits like a glove, but she’s heavy and solid as well.  We’ll keep hacking away at this one and post updates as we go.

One of the reasons I’ve been away from the blog for a while is that I’ve moved into bigger and better digs.  I’ve got a new place and a new studio with more room for metal work.  Very happy.

The bad news is I’m also going to be back in Hong Kong for the month of June and this means I won’t be able to work on any pieces while I’m gone.  So if you have a project in mind, email me and get on my waitlist.  I’ll get to it by the end of June and try to get your piece knocked out as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality that we both want.  Stay tuned!

The 10th Dragon


I’ve just finished a new wedding ring with a massive jade stone and I had to show it off.

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This isn’t a client piece, actually.  This one is for me.  I wanted to make a new wedding ring that was massive and used a jade gemstone as the prominent feature.  I found the stone in Hong Kong and I started sketching on the plane ride back to the US.

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I also thought this was a great follow-up to my bitching rant about lightweight jewelry.  This ring is solid sterling and completely massive.  And it’s an everyday wear.  

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I don’t think I’d posted a ring that was all about the stone in a while, so this is long overdue.  If anyone’s interested in a piece like this, email me and let’s talk.  See?  Not all skull rings, right?

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Bangle update coming soon!  I’m getting ready to take a few days actual vacation, so it’s time to get crackin’  Got a lot of waxes to finish before I hit the beach.  

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.


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.

Why’s it gotta be a skull ring?


…it doesn’t.  At least not all the time, right?

I’ve got a few projects in the works right now and a few of them get away from the custom skull ring thing.  Skulls: my bread and butter, of course.  Still, it’s fun to get out of skull island every once and a while and do something different.

Ian, author of Alien Phenomenology, one of my new favorite reads and the designer of Cow Clicker  (and the proud owner of THE Cow Clicker ring) just ordered a set of white gold wedding bands.

And here they are:

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We’ve got a nut and squirrel theme here done on nice, substantial squared-corner bands.  This is how I like to do ’em.  They’ll be comfortable, but it’s still a RANG.  Not some thin, whispy metal string tied feebly around your finger.  It breaks the plane of the finger and stands out.  It gets noticed.  My thing is, if it doesn’t cause you to almost rear-end someone in traffic ’cause you’ve been staring at it while you drive, it ain’t worth wearing.

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