The Shop at 49 Grove Street

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to Make a Ring

It's wedding season and Lori's been busy carving wax for wedding bands. We thought we'd show you how it's done.

The method we use is lost wax casting. That means first we have to carve the ring out of wax and then send it to the caster who replaces the wax with metal.

First, you slice a ring of wax from a long wax tube. This should be a bit bigger than the width you'd like the ring to be.

These are the wax rings ready to be carved down into the shape of the ring to be cast.

This electric tool helps to grind away the top of the ring quickly.

When the wax form is getting closer to the size you want it to be, you use less aggressive tools like a hand file. See all the pink shavings!?
The inside of the ring is a size five, so you have to use this sizer with a blade to slowly carve out the center of the ring until you reach the size that you'd like.

It's important to carve away all sides evenly to slowly arrive at the perfect size, width, and height. There are finer tools that resemble dentists tools and picks that allow you to add detail to your ring or to smooth out the surface of a plain band. Anything you can carve into the wax can be carved!

When you're finished, you have a wax version of the ring ready to be sent to the casters. When it comes back you must cut off the sprue (a metal bit left over from where the molten metal was poured into the mold) and polish the metal.

In the end, you may have something like this platinum wedding band by Lori McLean herself!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Alexander Stadler Draws on Our Wall!

Alexander Stadler, author of the brilliant book, What Willie Wore: Scenes from the Life and Wardrobe of a Very Fashionable Dog comes to draw his dog Wilhelmina on our wall as the seasons change. Depending on the time of year she is depicted having a picnic on Governor's Island or delivering Chanakwanzmas gifts to Lena Horne. Sometimes she is accompanied by our shop dog Gidget. See the progression to gorgeous wall-art below. To catch up with Alexander himself check out his blog here.

The wall, pre Alexander. Lori put up these embroidery hoops to hang lovely long Dennis Matthews necklaces. But they needed some company from the glorious Willy who, sadly, recently passed away. The wall is in honor of her and her amazing dog-ness.

Getting started...

A winged Willie emerges to look over the jewelry and the shop...

The finishing celestial touches...

And...voila! Our beautiful wall. Thank you Alexander!