matte finish coffee spoon


Fabricated Sterling. Approx. 6 inches.

This spoon has a matte finish. The reverse of the bowl shows the forging hammer marks. A riveted bail is attached to the end loop. It doesn’t really do anything, I just like the movement.

Here is the reverse:


Some details, both ends, front and back:





tobacco seed holder fail


So here is my first try at this design. You’ll see it looks very similar to the one posted August 10. The significant difference is that on this one the gate doesn’t open. It was supposed to, however. During the final join (when the back was added) solder flowed from some of the previous joins and the gate piece became permanently affixed.

A couple of things went wrong. Here is the inner working before the back was added.


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On one the gate is opened and on the other the gate is closed. Both the stop and the center dial peg joins flowed during the last join. I think the primary cause was my oversight in not opening the gate during the last join. The heat required to seat the back (because the bubbling flux kept the back moving) made the previous joins also flow again. Not good.

I know there are many lessons to be learned from failure, but failing still stinks. All that self-doubt, loathing, and cursing. I'd rather not fail. And this was just a piece of silver. In the failing moment nothing can be said to diminish the muck. A decision to start again, an adjusted strategy, and a first step is the way through the muck. And it really helps to then succeed (even if you must try, try again).

In this case my design was flawed. I redesigned and started over and it all came down to the final join. That was a tense moment.

Here is the piece in its current form:


It will be recycled into some other form.

coffee spoon



Fabricated Sterling and 14k gold.  Approx. 5 inches.

This is meant to be an “everyday” spoon, unique to the individual, and part of the morning routine.  The bowl is polished on the front, and the forging marks remain on the reverse.  The bowl is nestled in a square wire frame formed so the corner, rather than the side, of the wire meets.  The end features a heavy, forged square with a 14k gold embellishment in its center.

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t spoon


Fabricated Sterling.  Approx. 7 1/2 inches.

The bowl is forged and I left the hammer marks as texture.  The square wire handle twists tighter as it approaches the t end.

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Details of the bowl, the t end, and the reverse of the bowl.

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A few more angles highlighting scale and proportion.  It’s long enough to use in a tumbler.

tobacco seed holder


Fabricated Sterling.  Just over an inch in diameter and weighs 3/4 of a troy oz.

Earlier this week I harvested some wild tobacco seeds.  It put the holders in my mind (see the post from June 21 for two other tobacco seed holders).

Some background regarding the tobacco seed holders:  Wild tobacco is considered by many people a very special plant.  I learned some years ago when working with the Comanche and Pawnee nations that “God enjoys the smell of wild tobacco and draws near when it is being burned in ceremony.”  I was told that in the languages of these people (and many others, by the way), the meaning of the English words “life,” “breath,” and “spirit” are all contained in a single word.  In this understanding, one “breathes” in the tobacco smoke where it becomes mixed with his or her “life.”  Then it is exhaled, as visible life/breath/spirit, and God, drawing near, breathes it in where it becomes mixed with his life–a kind of sacramental interaction. I was also taught that tobacco has its place when used properly, but it is often misused by those who don’t understand that place.  As you consider these ideas, you may recall the biblical notion that a burned offering could be described as a “pleasing aroma” (“Then Noah…offered burnt offerings on the altar.  And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of man.'” Genesis 8:20-21).

I was later charged with the task of perpetuating and distributing these seeds (to keep the plants growing and available in the future), and I felt they required a worthy container.  Hence the holders began.

This is my second attempt at this design.  In the next couple of days I’ll post photos of my first failed attempt.


This one shows the inside closing mechanism before the back was soldered on.  There is an inner disk which is turned using the dial-like knob on the front.  It is turned to line up the holes on the inside and outside disks which serve as a gate allowing the seeds to be added or dumped.

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The piece is assembled here, but before the final polishing.

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After polishing.  The gate is shown opened and closed.  The last one here shows the reverse.


And one more.


Here is my sketch for the piece.  Just before I began manufacture I decided to use a square wire for the sides rather than a taller sheet metal ring.  I think the thinner profile is much more dramatic.


This one includes the tiny tobacco seeds.

Water Cup Charm


“For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of cold water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 9:41).  

“It is a long walk. And truly blessed is the one who offers us that cup of cold water along the way” (J. Oschwald, The Sword, June, 2014, unpublished).

Commercial copper plumbing end cap and fabricated copper handle.  The end cap has an inner diameter of 1/2 inch.



My father was a carpenter.  During the hot summer days of central Illinois he always took a 5 gallon Igloo thermos cooler filled with ice water with him to work.  Suspended by a wire to that thermos was a handled copper cup.  I have not forgotten the taste of water drunk from that cup.  In my mind, a water cup must be of copper.

This pendent is a reminder to serve.  No matter how trivial the service may appear.

“Unnecessary Complications” Tea Light Candle Holder


Fabricated and cast Sterling, copper, commercial chain.  Approx. 10 inches.

This one has been a long time coming.  I looked up my sketch and see it was dated May, 2011.



It’s been mostly finished for awhile, but after showing it to my friend this last week I was inspired to finish it.

It weighs a little over 5 oz.  Ridiculous, I know.  When I had it roughed out, a high school-aged neighbor (on the edge of Steam Punking) asked me why I didn’t make it out of brass.  “Is it because it’s too expensive?” she queried.

Here are some detailed images:


There are three pulleys.  The wheels are copper and were turned on a bench lathe.  The rest is fabricated Sterling (except for the commercial chain).  The counter weight is solid Sterling and cast.  It can be moved forward or back to balance the burning candles.  The lower arm swings back and forth, and a three link chain holds it at a hinge.




Let me know what you think.

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