Wilson Capron hosted a March 3-6. The class was attended by six students coming from California, New Mexico and Texas. Each student was able to complete a pair of spurs while learning metal finish and the steps taken to make a pair of spurs. Students were taught to use equipment like belt sanders, buffers, a band saw and files that are very important to the process. Five of the six students stayed at Wilson’s shop bunk house where his wife Katy served three meals a day. This was a great class where friendships were made that will make everyone a better craftsman.
Beau Compton just finished 7 days of intensive – very intensive – training in my shop as part of his TCAA Fellowship. In that time we concentrated on design, die work, forming, fabrication, engraving and filigree along with this we had long discussions on pricing, business practices and continuing education. It was a very productive time.
At one point Beau commented to me that 5 years ago he didn’t know if he would ever get to meet Mark Drain or myself and now thanks to the TCAA Fellowship he has spent time in both our shops.
I personally want to thank Beau for being a focused student and for his dedication to Western Silversmithing.
I want to remind anyone interested in applying for the TCAA Fellowship Scholarship program please remember entries close April 1st and if you have applied before don’t hesitate to apply again. You are allowed and encouraged to apply multiple times.
For more information go to TCAA website or contact a TCAA member.
Pedro Pedrini saddle shop is also home of the Western Leather Academy, a saddle making and leather workmanship school . Here is the spring 2014 tuition with Gene Kirkendall from Lakeport, California, James Brachet from France, and Rocky Armitage from Jamestown California
Cary Schwarz taught a design and floral carving class at Christoval, Texas June 17,18. Ten students spent one day working on paper learning principles of design, and a systematic way of laying visual information down. The second day featured instruction on swivel knife work, stamping tool selection and use. This session was held at Wilson and Katy Capron’s home and shop where the students enjoyed world class hospitality and Katy’s fabulous meals.
A Drawing /Engraving class today in Wilson Capron’s shop is wrapping up. The class started Thursday morning with exercises in developing their skills of observation to enhance their drawings and designs. After lunch each day engraving mechanics and problems have been addressed.
Cary Schwarz and his son T.J. are here filming for a future video featuring these exercises in drawing.
Chip Merchant, a bit and spur maker from Mollala, Or spent some time in my shop last week. We designed and got a pretty good start on a pair of buckaroo spurs. We discussed functional aspects , design, engraving and finishing techniques of bridle bits and spurs though the course of the week. He’s a talented individual and very determined to get it right. I think we can all look foreword to seeing some nice work from him in the future.
Sincerely ! Ernie Marsh
Rawhide Braiding Mentor Nate Wald and Student Caleb French in a video produced by the Wyoming Arts Council
These are the Spanish colonial spurs for this years exhibit ,they represent the most time I have ever put into one project. I was inspired to go the distance on these by the ornamental spurs of the Spanish artisans of the 1700’s thru early 1800’s as well as the works of Master Maker John Ennis who seemingly stretched even their talents.
The men who proudly wore these styles as well as the men who made them lived in a time when life was cheap, warfare, strife and hardship were the norm, their family honor, fighting, and horsemanship skills were their main sources of pride.. rightly so as quite often their lives depended them.
Plenty of time to think of such things while these were in progress..
This is the initial drawing of my TCAA 2013 Globe bit. I first draw things out to secure my design before I start the metal work.
The top shank has all the inlay cavities chiseled out with just the bottom section left on the bottom shank. After that I will complete the inlays in the rings and then start the mouthpiece. When the mouthpiece is in place, I will then finish the rest of the inlaying.
The inlays on the rings are in. With the exception of the one ring that is black in the photo, I have filed the inlays and now I’m in the process of file finishing the rings to a #6 Swiss cut. Next I will start the mouthpiece.
Today I finished cleaning up the shanks, well to this stage of the game, and the mouthpiece just needs to be sized and then welded into the shanks. It should look like a bit tomorrow.
It now is coming together. You see the bit and a couple of conchos to mount over the mouthpiece. I had to make a die for them. I have the die as well in the photo. I plan on finishing the fabrication of the conchos. Then the inlays will be completed.
Today was a long day of making things right. Sometimes things go together without extra effort and them some don’t. I tend to learn more when they don’t. It was real tricky centering the conchos on the shank and then getting the TCAA logo to be pointed up after I screwed the conchos in place. This a new method of putting the conchos on so the kinks had to worked out. The inlays are now in as well and the clean up has started. Filing is finished so hand stoning will commence tomorrow.
The bit now has reached its final polish. Everything is to an 800 grit polish. I tried a new method by using oil with wet/dry paper on the final step and I really like how it came out. The conchos are now finished as well. One is in place in the photo but only for the photo. The next step is to somehow attach 24 kt gold to the half moon areas that you see above and below the concho. The first method I tried on a practice plate was unsuccessful, so tomorrow will be educational.
I figured out how to get the gold in place this morning. It is called a raised wire inlay. Grooves are cut into the metal wide enough for the gold wire but not as deep as the thickness of the wire so that the gold will stick up above the surface. The difficulty was in the small area I gave myself to work with. Engraving has started as you can see. I lack the top ring and just the inside of the big bottom ring and then on to the other side.
I finished engraving the rings and was able to get the gold inlayed on the opposite side.
Here is the progress on the engraving. Not to complain but I think if you straighten out the bottom ring it would be a foot long! It takes forever engraving the rope design on the inlay portion. I’m excited about the look so it’s worth it. Next I will finish up the engraving and then start the blueing. I plan to Nitre blue it and antique the silver.
The blueing is complete. I antiqued the silver before I blued the bit, but I’m not sure how well it turned out. I will determine whether I need to highlight the silver with paint or not. If I do the paint will have to dry overnight and then I can take final photos. It’s getting real close to being finished now!
I have come to the end! I didn’t like the antiquing so I painted the engraving with an etching ink. The bit took take me a little longer than I expected, but that happens sometimes. I think it is most important to hold true to the integrity of the project and let the time take care of itself. I hope everyone enjoyed the progression. This bit will be displayed at the TCAA show at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in October. Please make plans to attend now and if you have any questions feel free to contact me.