Wooden Jewelery

I may have mentioned in the past that my father is an avid practitioner of wood turning. He discovered the artform about two years ago, and has been hooked ever since. He's gotten quite good at it, and I'll be photographing some of his newer pieces soon to share with you. His specialty is working out 'burls', which he'll sometimes find by chance during one of his many nature walks, but recently acquired a truck load from a nearby farmer who'd found plenty on one of his firewood hunts, and got them for a STEAL.

He's slowly branching out from bowls, and has been working on some vessels, honey dippers, and most recently, baby rattles, LOL! (they're impressive though, the design is called 'Captive Rings', and they're made from one single piece of wood!) He's even experimenting on the bowls now, and has been adding shell inlays in some, and is letting some of the natural elements of the burls show through, like leaving bark on the edges. It's really neat, and just like when I was a little girl and used to sit in a far corner of his workshop and would watch him work for hours on any given project, now I like to sit on the basement steps that lead to his workshop, and just watch him in full concentrated action.

Dad at work on his latest bowl

Last week, during my week long visit, I presented him with a challenge: To make me a bangle!
"Ah What?" he said... "A bangle daddy, it's a bracelet you just slip over your fist. I love them, and have a very difficult time finding some that fit my large hand, and the ones I do find, are cheaply made, generic, and crack if I drop them"
"oh, okay... Well, let's see how I can make that..."
So, we got our heads together, drew a few designs, went hunting for some wood in his shop, and tossed some ideas around. He didn't want to go too crazy with the first one, Just a simple one. He settled on Maple. He got two inch-thick planks, and glued them together. The next part was excruciating, well, for me anyways. We had to wait 24 hours for the glue to weld the pieces together... LOL!

Not much to look at at first, just a big block of wood. But is took shape rather quickly.
Once he had shaped it into a cylindrical shape, it took about 45 minutes to complete.

And Voilà! Dad's very first Bangle!
He told me that the way he had fabricated it, it would be practically indestructible; you'd have to take an ax to it in order to break it! LOL!

Of course, not being the kind of person who's just satisfied with, well, one... I immediately challenged him to create a more intricate piece. Wider, and with two different kinds of wood this time: Black Walnut & Maple. Sort of like an oreo, LOL! Well, he took the bait! He set off to cut the planks, and glue them. The next morning, he just couldn't wait to get to work on this one. He was concerned that it would be much too large for my arm, but I assured him that this is exactly what I had in mind! I wanted a wide bangle that would sit higher on my arm.

Here's the block, which he's already started carving out.

A side view, with the original bangle for comparison.

Here we go!
I like the way the wood curls up and flies all over the place.
You can see it starting to take shape here, it's a lovely, even cylinder. Next, he'll start smoothing out the edges and giving them a more rounded shape.

The lathe turns so fast, the friction heats up the chisel. The chisel will get so hot, the metal will turn BLUE!

Now, dad is polishing the wood with bees wax. It's his favored method of finishing a piece, since it's completely organic. That way, no toxic materials will come in contact with my skin.
I liked the look of the beeswax polish so much, I had him do it with the initial bangle as well:

And here they both are!
I am now the proud owner of practically indestructible bangles, made just for me, and just my size! They're UNIQUE! They're DURABLE! They're PERFECT!
He's promised to make me another wide one, this time with Bloodwood where the Black Walnut is in the one he's already made me. I've got his gears going now. He's got a few ideas to try some with shell inlay, and might pull out some of his carving chisels, and start adding some carved elements to the wider designs. I've worn the pieces a lot since, and on our way back from his place last week, we stopped in at the local Greek Festival, and boy oh boy, I even had some of the vendors asking me where I'd gotten them! I made sure to point dad out, and tell everyone that he had made them. He was really proud. And surprised! He told me he never would have thought that they would have garnered so much interest! He was most pleased with my incessant comments of "Oh dad! they're GORGEOUS!" and "I just LOVE them!". He said he was happy that he could make me so happy with something so simple. But to me, they're not simple. They were made by my father's hands, and to me, that renders them priceless.

Seems like I may have found a new niche for my Papa to explore!


I've got a great post coming up with photos of my darling friends, and their brand new Birthday Jewelery! ;)


MeHereNow said…
Yay first comment! Happy Belated Birthday Princess Jewels. Hope you had a great one!

Lovely,lovely bangles - might we see a family business "merger" coming soon?!

Well done Daddy Jewels!
Jewels said…
Oh Definitely dawn. I'll be putting dad's bowls up for sale on my website as soon as I get home!

And as for a merger, well, I think that's a given ;)
I'll be touting those bangles 'til the cows come home! LoL!

P.S. Yay! First!
jin said…
WOW! Those are incredible!!!
Cool to see them from start to finish! LOVE the beeswax shine, too!
caramaena said…
Oh gorgeous!
Dino aka Katy said…
oh wow they are so pretty hey if he goes in business let me know I'll bye one
Jewels said…
Hello Jin!
Yes, I really liked watching the process. A tad noisier than beading tho, lol!

they look fantastic!


Thank you Caramaena!
Jewels said…
Katy, you'll soon see them on my website, along with his bowls. I'll keep you all posted of that event
Christina said…
Those are amazing!
Pat de Verre said…
Comme tu as de la chance. Ils sont superbes. Mon pauvre père qui est mort il y a 10 ans cette semaine, était un gaucher contrarié et ne savait rien faire de ses 10 doigts. En revanche il avait l'oreille absolu et savait jouer de tous les instruments sans avoir appris. Chacun ses talents. Merci pour ce beau et intéressant message sur le tournage du bois. Big bisou.
Camille said…
merci ma chere de partager ces belles photos... et pour ta presence le soir de notre petite fete... et pour le collier extraordinaire que tu m'as offert!

je t'aime et tu me manques deja...
Jewels said…
Thank you Christina!


Bonjour Pat! Oui, je suis chanceuse, et je le reconnais! Drôle, mon papa est aussi gaucher! Attends de voir sa toute dernière création!
Jewels said…
Je t'aime aussi Camille! À bientôt j'espère!
Not Ashley said…
They are just beautiful, and so unique. A great collaboration between you two.

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