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  #1  
Old 02-11-2010, 12:24 PM
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Default More Bracelets!

I've seen some beautiful bracelets posted on this site. Some are very intricate and they represent outstanding engraving. I want to show another side of the "Silver Bracelet Story" as it relates to sales.

I started engraving silver bracelets about 12 years ago. I was then invloved in the retail jewelry business and I had minimal bench time available to produce bracelets. I experimented to find what the public wanted to buy, how much they wanted to pay, and how quickly I could produce a marketable bracelet that represented good value and good profit.

Western Cut: I found that Western Cut did not work in my area of the mid-west. I like it, but my jewelry customers did not. Western looks like Western, and it does not appeal to the majority of mid-west folk.

Bright Cut: Bright cut, like the example posted here worked very well for me. It's bright, showy, reflective, and relatively easy and fast to cut. I cut this one today to post it here and to analize the cost/sell relationship. So as it turns out:

Sterling Silver Stock = $18.80
Bench Time - 1.5 hours (cut, jig up, engrave, bend and polish)
Retail Price - $275.00


You can see that all I've done is to establish and wriggle cut a rolling scroll pattern through the center of the silver blank - then used my highly polished flat to fill it all in with bright cut. Notice the reverse patterns of the bright cuts within the scrolls. If you do that the reflections just go crazy!
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Here is a composition photo in reply to a question that was asked about Flat Graver Geometry. The bent bracelet is the one in the photo above. The other is one I made for this photo -with a center oval for a name, initial or monogram. The drawing is one I use for students showing the geometry of my flat graver. Then, of course, is the Lindsay PalmControl with a flat graver instralled. Another question was asked about what does one use that has enough power to drive a big wide flat graver through the metal. My aswer is the PalmControl, with a tungsten piston - that's all!




And yet more......
If you have trouble designing scrolls, why not do something without scrolls? You can insert some floral details among the scrolls to break up the design and create another layer of interest.

Also, you know those little sawed off ends that are left after cutting blanks to length -they make great pendants - or earrings, or watch fobs, or key chains, etc., etc., etc.



The close up illustrates how the bright cuts are "stacked" side-by-side - leaving a minimal amount of the original flat surface...and the reversal of bright cut directions adds to the artistic interest by flashing light in multiple directions. Using the flat shown in the drawing I experience no furrowing or jagged edges. After forming/grinding the Flat I roll the outside sharp edges by drawing it backward on leather loaded with Spray Diamond. That polishes the graver and softens the sharp outside edges just enough to prevent burrs and furrowing. I use Lindsay Carbalt gravers and the edges last through five or six of these bracelets before I have to re-touch the cutting surfaces.

Finally, I want you to know that I've made, engraved and SOLD over 420 of fhese little money-makers over the years.

Last edited by MikeDubber; 02-13-2010 at 09:09 AM. Reason: photo additions
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  #2  
Old 02-11-2010, 01:10 PM
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Barry Lee Hands Barry Lee Hands is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

First class as always!
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:32 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

I like these brightcut very much Mike, I will keep it in mind to practice.
The measures of the braceletes are they uniform or do they have a variety (length and width)
Thanks for explanation and showing.
Willem
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Mike,

Beautiful! And the time/cost data is really helpful. Is it cut through, or is it just a dark background?

Chris M. explained to me that there is such a thing as a Gold Magnet, for recovering gold burs. Do you have one for silver?

Mike
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Exquisite Mike. Thanks for taking the time to explain the financial details.

Peter
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:56 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Generally I make ladies bracelets 5 1/2 long - the width can vary with the design. Men's are typically cut at 6 1/2 or 7". All wrists are not the same, and I had some women who need 7" bracelets.

The darkness is reflection.........

I know of nothing about silver magnets???

Mike
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:25 PM
Steve Shepherd Steve Shepherd is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Hi Mike

I like the design and layout a lot. When you bend it to form it does it stay crisp? The price is very reasonable too!

As far as the gold -silver magnet set up I did them for Rio Grande from 1984 -1986. Was originally called the Save-U-Later and renamed by Molly to The Collector. maybe you have an old Rio catalog

Steve Shepherd
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:30 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

The bending process does nothing to alter the design and brilliance of the bright cuts - everything remains the same.

I am familiar with Rio Grande, that's where I buy silver stock for the bracelets...but I was not aware that there was such a thing as gold or silver magnet. I collect everything around and in my bench with a vacuum - then I send all my scrap and dirt to a refiner.

PRICE: I agree, the price of $275 for a braclet is reasonable and perhaps that's why I've sold so many. Still, I make a really good hourly rate and they continue to sell. I've often started and ended a full day making these things - my record is 9 silver bracelets in a day.
There might be a hidden message someplace in there there as well.

Mike
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

This looks pretty classy Mike.

Looks like this bright cut is single cuts side by side and not a combination of cuts and liners you do in the Western style.

Peter
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Mike,

Your Midwestern brightcut is truly distinctive, and a lovely rollicoaster for the eye. I was very taken with your creation when first I saw it at your Reno seminar a year ago. It really pops, and is a totally different look from Western Bright!

As a tool choice question, at what 'bright' width would you change from uniform-heeled square graver, to flat? We know that uniformed heel leaves almost zero edge bur, and the deep edge of wide bright tends to leave some edge bur in tight turns. I have experimented with some relief and heel on the side of a regular flat with promising results, so I am just wondering if you have any favorite bright cut geometry?

best

Rod
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:04 AM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Nice Mike. I agree, you have to find what sells in your part of the world. I am from Indiana, Born and raised there. I like the flash of the bright cut. Take care Jack
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Old 02-12-2010, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

I've added another photo and drawing to the original post to illustrate Flat Graver Geometry.
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  #13  
Old 02-12-2010, 06:29 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Mike,

This is one of the most useful and inspirational posts I've seen in a while!

Do you sell these direct to the customer, or do you market them through various retail jewelers? If the second is the case, do they get half of the retail price?

Thanks again!

Tom
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

I do some of of both selling routines, but mostly through retail jewelery stores. Stores I deal with will stock four or five at a time and re-stock as the items sell. Stores add their profit to my price and normally "case mark" their goods with a 35-50% retail bump.

Extremely Important Note:

I always engrave the store name or logo on the inside of the bracelet - that makes it special for their sales staff and identifies it as their "brand merchandise!!


I'll also be marketing these and other hand engraved silver items (pendants, earrings) through the Eiteljorg Museum Gift Store during my Artist In Residence commision for the next two months., i.e., never miss an opportunty to sell yourself.

Like it or not - if you are an engraver for profit (most of us are) you must sell yourself and your art. It's not hard to do, but you must be creative and you must allow retailers to participate in the profit. When I walk into a jewelry store to "sell" my engraved merchandise, I always have one or two items (with the store logo engraved inside or on the back) to leave with the owner (no charge) to present to his sales group at the next store sales meeting. Retail jewelers usually have a staff sales meeting every two weeks where new merchandise is introduced and discussed. They lust after special things like this. Any item that identifies itself as a Store Name Merchandise is exclusive, and that gives the sales person one more thing to add to the sales routine.

Go ahead folks - make a few pieces with the name of the #1 jewelry store in your town engraved on the back. Pick a home town store (not a big box mall store) take your items to the owner or the sales manager and introduce yourself and your skills. It really works - and having a relationship with a name store also identifies you as a serious and credible craftsman.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:34 PM
Dakota Kid Dakota Kid is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Hi Mike,

The bracelets you engrave are stunning, I really appreciate you taking the time to explain the process. I really think the individualism of these, and the quality of your workmanship is the key component. It will always win in the hearts of the customers.

Thanks again for sharing the tips and help!

Chris H.
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  #16  
Old 02-12-2010, 10:54 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

not only looks very nice mike, looks to me you may very well have invented an entire new species of scroll ! what are you going to name this ?
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:48 AM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Maybe Mid-Western Scroll - or Razzle Dazzle Scroll
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  #18  
Old 02-13-2010, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Nice bracelet. My wife wants me to engrave one for her..... You order your metals from RioGrande, What's the thickness of the metal you use. Do you order the whole sheet and cut to size or do you get it cut to width and then cut to length.
Thanks,
Keith
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Old 02-13-2010, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithPedersen View Post
Nice bracelet. My wife wants me to engrave one for her..... You order your metals from RioGrande, What's the thickness of the metal you use. Do you order the whole sheet and cut to size or do you get it cut to width and then cut to length.
Thanks,
Keith
I order most of my metals from Hoover & Strong, but I have ordered some from Rio Grande. I like 20 gauge silver, and most suppliers require that one measurment must be 6". I normally order a 6" X 6" sheet and cut to width and length as I need.

Mike
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Old 02-13-2010, 02:37 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

That looks superb, i`d be happy to finish one in a day, just shows what can be done with years of practice.
I wonder.. if the tungsten piston needed? i would think the standard would have plenty enough power to do it also being silver?
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  #21  
Old 02-13-2010, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

The standard piston works OK, but the tungsten piston makes cuts that are cleaner, and brighter. I think the reason is that I tend to push the standard piston harder to help it cut. The tungsten cuts without me having to manhandle the tool, especially near the end of the cut - when I am moving a greater mass of metal.
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Old 02-13-2010, 04:05 PM
KeithPedersen KeithPedersen is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Mike,
Thanks for the info on the silver.
I will order some and give it a try.
Keith
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  #23  
Old 02-13-2010, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Beautiful bracelet, thanks for the info
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  #24  
Old 02-13-2010, 11:01 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Mike's being a little modest with that time. I watched him do a western bright cut bracelet once and in 15 minutes from the time he clamped it in the vise there was a finished bracelet ready to be bent and polished.

What took place in that time frame was: he simply licked his pinkie, rubbed it on a cake of chinese white and smeared it on that silver blank. He drew guide lines with a pencil on half of it.

He cut that like the barber does my hair, no farting around then transferred that half to the other side with chap stick and scotch tape and cut it. DONE! Just like that, and it blew me away that a thing could be cut that fast and still look like it took hours. There's where the pros are seperated from the novices.

Granted there a lot more cuts in that bent bracelet pictured so it may take longer but my first thought as he finished flicking silver chips all over the place that day was that a person could make a decent wage if he had enough imagination for designing different versions and practiced enough to cut at that speed.

It all comes from his experience and cutting miles of metal, literally. He gave me the advice that day that he wrote in the initial post and it works, most all my engraving jobs come from one manufacturing jewelry store here in town and I stay as busy as I want to. I think I was Mike's first student when he started teaching independantly, I've been picking his noggin ever since.
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Old 02-14-2010, 06:49 AM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Thank you Tim - you are a fast learner!
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  #26  
Old 02-15-2010, 11:46 AM
Steve Shepherd Steve Shepherd is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Mike

Really enjoying the added pics. Could you tell me about the outside border and how it is done?

Steve
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Steve:

Re: Rope Border

This is great border and I use it a lot - both on jewelry and on firearms. I also teach it to my students. It's a bit difficult to learn and even more difficult to describe in words. You can see the Flat Graver Geometry at the beginning of this Thread, but the only effective way to learn it is to have someone show you how.

Tim Wells does the border very well and he has a video camera fixed to his microscope. He is going to produce a video that will be posted on this Forum very soon.

Yeah Tim
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:49 AM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Hi Mike!

Excellent work!
Magnificent detailed elaboration and relief!!!
I represent as it will look on a graceful female hand
And to be poured and play all sides reflecting sun beams!

This bracelet will decorate with itself any woman and becomes its best friend!

BES
Eric S. Brezhitsky
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  #29  
Old 02-16-2010, 09:08 AM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Good observations Eric

Jewelry has always been made to glitter - and to enhance the appeal of anyone who wears it. This method of bright cut optimizes the "Glitter" effect. It sparkles, it shines, it reflects the light beams that hit hundreds of surfaces.

Mke
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Beautiful Mike, something you may have to teach me...
Thanks
Jerry
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:46 PM
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Willem Parel Willem Parel is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

While waiting for this video Mike, is the Rope Border the same you described on a seminarvideo, by just turning your wrist while the graver going forward???
It looked so easy on the video and I tryed it that way but with a minor result (i'll keep on practicing!!)
Willem
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Old 02-16-2010, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Yes, the borders you see on this Thread are the same "Rope Border" I did last year at the Seminar. It's a matter of establishing a regular "beat" and rolling the wrist straight forward as the cut is made.

It sounds easy and it is, but it's a combination of moves that's a little difficult to master. Most folks invariably try to turn to the outside and sweep the cut off the metal - but its' more of a straight forward wrist roll, starting on the inside point of the flat and ending in the center of the flat on the outside edge.

When Tim gets the video done I think you'll be able to make more sense of this explanation.

Mike
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:18 AM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Thank you for the additional pictures, comments and details, Mike!

Quite a dazzling display of faultless and fast cutting, and a feast for study. No room for faulty geometry on these side by side bright cuts. Thank you for letting me know about your flat graver geometry, I am inspired by these results, to perservere with just that strop on the leather and see if I can keep the edge bur down.

best

Rod
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:57 AM
Curtis Wilson Curtis Wilson is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Mike Thanks for all of the information, it is greatly appreaciated.
Curtis Wilson
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:30 AM
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

That's a very inspiring bracelet. Thanks for posting the photos!

It would be really cool to see a video of this being engraved! Do you use a microscope?

Just because it's related, here's a neat video that's been posted here of a gentleman engraving a silver bracelet.

And to think, my sister used to live in Evansville... I could have had a lesson or two!

Amazing work

p.s. The one thing I don't understand is, whenever I make a bracelet and engrave it (with a pantograph)... the surface distorts as I bend it around a form. Perhaps that's because it's usually nickel silver. Perhaps that work hardens to fast and causes distortion?
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Old 09-12-2010, 04:12 PM
rod rod is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Ever since I climbed an ancient spiral stair case in France this summer, I have been giving some thought to Make Dubber's splendid original creation of what he has named "Mid-Western Bright Cut"... a good name, as it is different from Western bright cut, and as Monk has written, it does seem like a brand new approach. Wide bright flare cuts have been around for a while, yet Mike has quite a few creative ideas incorporated in his fine bracelets and earrings, generously explained in his tutorial.

There is a lot more going on than a 'spiral staircase'. The pattern can take you on a merry dance of interpretation, and will give the eye more than one path to follow, making it all the more attractive. After a good meal and a glass of wine, I start to see 'cornucopia' horns of plenty in the pattern, and stare for long periods, letting my mind wander.

I have been trying all manner of ideas in getting my flute ring engravings to 'pop' more, as the player of a wood flute wants a dash of sparkle to be seen under the lights on stage. Mike has invited us to jump in, and see what we can make of this, so I have started to practice the 'vocabulary' of his creation, and at the same time' see if I can cut it on the round, on diameters of about one inch (25.4mm).

Below is a 100% Dubber design practice, wrapped around a copper plumbing pipe, with a heavy milgrain border. It is embarrassingly short on precision, tool control, smoothness of scroll, etc., but just revolving this wide ring under the light did demonstrate to me what Mike wrote ... it really starts to become a light-show, because his approach has been to make sure he is reversing the direction of his wide flare cuts, and this reversal is what the interplay of sparkle gives ( I hope I have got that right?).

So I am encouraged to pursue this style, and gain more tool control. Leaving the flat earth society and cutting on the curved surface is a challenge that needs to be mastered by engravers, as it has to be done so often on commissions. For that reason I include a picture of my way of mounting wide rings. This is not the same as the more excellent, precise 'wedding ring' fixtures that are available for purchase.

This preamble brings me to my main question, and I am hoping Mike will respond:

I have written essays on 'copying' the creative work of others, as it happens in my main trade of flute making. Yet, I do like the approach of reversing the lean-direction of this bright cut approach. My practice test below is a straight 'Mike' pattern wrapped round a copper pipe. My aim is, to see if I can get this kind of sparkle in some of my own patterns such that I allow plenty of 'daylight' between Mike's generously illustrated bracelets, and some future one's of my own making. In short, I want to make use of his posted ideas as a springboard into my own orbit, and not as a safe landing strip, but it appears that the reverse direction is the key to sparkle, no matter what the pattern, and that is Mike's neat idea?

What say you?

best

Rod
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:01 PM
Fred Marrinan Fred Marrinan is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

That does sparkle Rod. McKenzie study scroll for throughout his engraving career-going to great lengths to create something unique and simple that would be his own. I have been told by those who were close to him that it was one of the disappointments in his life that others copied it. I hope his is always known as McKenzie Scroll. I also hope that Mikes Mid-Western bright cut is known as Mike Dubbers Mid-Western Bright cut. Others have and will continue to copy both but they will always be compared to the originals-I hope the same for your efforts. Fred
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  #38  
Old 09-13-2010, 10:47 AM
rod rod is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Mike and I have exchanged an email,

He is very good hearted, sees immediately where he could critique and assist, so for the moment I am going to put in some private practice, following his lead.

I am very excited!

Rod
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:58 PM
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I am very taken with the 'Dubber' unique 'Midwestern Bright cut', so generously discussed and illustrated by Mike on this thread.

Circumstances prevented me taking a class at this time, yet Mike generously reached out, via mail, and with his assistance and blessings, I have been doing some practice plates following as closely as my present skills allow, one particular 'Dubber' pattern. With permission granted, practicing his design, without alteration, is my first choice in making progress, as the master/student comparison will jump right out at me

(warning label: practice plates using another's designs are for practice...not for sale!)

Clearly, I have a long way to go with the basic vocabulary of these cuts and with my tool point control, yet, I am have a ton of fun, trying to improve, and hope some mastery of this style of cutting will yield a few independent flute engraving ideas soon.

I see on the Dubber website:

http://www.firearmsengraving.com/

Mike offers a variety of teaching programs, including a day by day, where the student may ask for a particular technique to be focused on. So a trip to his neighborhood is on my wish list for 2011!

Thank you Mike, for assisting in kick starting me down a fruitful path, and for your clear teaching approach!

Rod
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  #40  
Old 12-10-2010, 11:35 AM
tundratrekers@mtaonline.n tundratrekers@mtaonline.n is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

How is the polishing done?mike
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  #41  
Old 03-21-2013, 03:19 PM
AdamDCole AdamDCole is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeDubber View Post
The bending process does nothing to alter the design and brilliance of the bright cuts - everything remains the same.

I am familiar with Rio Grande, that's where I buy silver stock for the bracelets...but I was not aware that there was such a thing as gold or silver magnet. I collect everything around and in my bench with a vacuum - then I send all my scrap and dirt to a refiner.

PRICE: I agree, the price of $275 for a braclet is reasonable and perhaps that's why I've sold so many. Still, I make a really good hourly rate and they continue to sell. I've often started and ended a full day making these things - my record is 9 silver bracelets in a day.
There might be a hidden message someplace in there there as well.

Mike
Thank for the information you shared! Do you think you could tell us what you order from Rio Grande as your raw material? I am completely new to this and when I go to their site I get completely lost as to what I should be looking for for bracelet blanks.

Also, what is the best way bend the blanks to shape after engraving?
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  #42  
Old 03-22-2013, 12:29 AM
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Steve Ellsworth Steve Ellsworth is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Best to sign up for a class, you will learn more.
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  #43  
Old 03-22-2013, 03:46 PM
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MikeDubber MikeDubber is offline
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Default Re: More Bracelets!

Here is the link for Rio Grande that lists the information for ordering Silver bracelet stock.

For an average size bracelet I typically order pieces 6" X 3/4" - in 20 gauge.
http://www.riogrande.com/Product/999...t/101920?Pos=9
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