Slashpile Designs Blog

A year in custom projects December 31 2016

Many of the custom projects we worked on this year!


Barbara & Duncan married each other all over again --with special custom rings we made for them! July 08 2014

Barbara & Duncan celebrated their tenth anniversary of their first date by marrying each other all over again with a lovely and romantic ceremony in Big Sur! Following the ceremony, they hiked 12 miles up the local mountains. We made these 18 karat white gold viking style bands for their special day. To read the full story of their second wedding, check out Duncan's blog here

These pieces were super interesting to work on because they really used such a perfect combination of new technology and traditional jewellery techniques. We first modeled the rings in CAD, without the texture. In this step, we create a file for each ring that is sized to the customer. Each file is 3-D printed in wax and then cast in the metal of choice (18 karat white gold in this case!)

The casting comes back covered in plaster and with a sprue attached, so they require a fair amount of clean up. This is done with very simple hand tools, such as files and sandpaper. We gradually improve the finish, step by step, until we get to 600 grit sandpaper. It gets tumbled to make it shinier and then Tara then applies the texture by hand, using our flex shaft (dremel) with a round bur (like a drill bit with a round top). Each ring is then polished up to perfection!

Here are some process shots!

  
 

Behind the scenes: How we make our Lost & Found Rings! August 21 2012

Since I've been making lots of rings lately, I thought it would be cool to share the process with you! Here is a behind-the-scenes, step-by-step description of what goes into making our Lost and Found Rings. Pretty please, don't try this at home unless you are a trained jeweler. :)

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First I pick out the stone I want to use for my ring and I select what type of bezel wire I want to use. In this case, I chose a beautiful large, round carnelian, and I decided to set it in a simple, straight bezel setting (we also have scalloped or serrated bezel wire).  I get my materials ready (bezel wire, stone, ring band and silver sheet), then I get started by measuring the length of bezel wire I will need to go around the stone.

  

 

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I cut the length I need, file the ends so that they match up perfectly, bend the whole piece into kind of a 'D' shape, then solder the ends together. After soldering, the silver is slightly oxidized, so I have to put it in an acid called 'pickle' that makes it nice and shiny again. I then press the 'D' shape around the stone, making sure it fits perfectly (no jiggling, or else the stone can loosen itself and eventually fall out!).

  

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Next, I trace the size of silver sheet that I need and cut it out using a jeweller's saw. This part doesn't have to be perfectly even, but there needs to be extra space just in case the pieces shift while soldering. I then solder the bezel onto the sheet (the third photo is what the silver looks like after soldering).

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Pickle again to clean the piece, then file the edges of the sheet so that they are flush with the bezel. I then sand the entire thing with my emery sticks starting with 220 emery, then 320, then 400 and then 600 (as you can see, this the part of the process that takes the most time!)

  

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I then put the setting aside and get my ring band ready, first by sizing it, soldering it together, cleaning it up with rotary tools and emery paper, and then filing one side as flat as possible to make a clean soldering seam between the band and the bottom of the setting.

  

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Now, where it all comes together! Soldering the band onto the setting. Pickle again, emery again, then see if the stone fits...and it does!

  

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Now, the most rewarding part--Setting the stone! Using my pusher, I start to push the bezel tight around the stone. I push on one side, then the opposite side, making sure not to go in a rotating sequence around the stone (which can cause more material to end up at one side). I then push in between my first pushes, over and over again until the setting is somewhat smooth.

  

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I use this tool, called a burnisher, to smooth out the setting even more. I then use 600 emery paper to clean it up even more and then throw it in the tumbler to shine up that surface! The finish from the tumbler gives the silver a soft shine.

      

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I take it out of the tumbler and TA-DA! My ring is ready to wear (or list on Etsy!)

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