Craftsman of the Month
Cover of Rock&Gem V1N1 March-April 1971

E.C. Aldrich - January 2001 - Tiger's Eye Bola and Belt Buckle

January Craftsman of the Month E.C. Aldrich uses similar steps to make two projects--a bola or a belt buckle out of tiger's eye. Following are his instructions:

"Use one high-quality slab of well-oriented, variegated tiger's eye, or two slabs back to back, for each belt buckle or bola."

"Under good light, use a pencil to follow one of the chatoyancy lines across the middle of the slab."

"Using a 16 mm-square template for a bola and a 27 mm-square template for a belt buckle, mark four squares on the slab."

"Cut out the shapes with a trim saw. Grind them to template size with a slight negative bezel."

"Arrange the cut pieces to form a pattern and fasten together with 330 epoxy on wax paper. Use the epoxy generously. Let the piece cure overnight. You now have one stone instead of four.

"Grind the bola piece square and dop."

"Grind the buckle stone to fit an oval brass buckle blank. Then epoxy the stone into the blank using 330 epoxy generously. Epoxy must squeeze out around the stone; any that gets on top of the stone or on the brass is no problem. Cure overnight."

"Sand and polish the bola stone. Polish the edges and the flat top to a high luster."

"Holding the buckle, instead of using a dop stick, cab the tiger's eye down to include the brass buckle. Polish to a mirror sheen. Your buckle is now finished."

"The sterling silver bola mount is rather simple. Fit bezel wire around the stone and solder it together. Solder the bezel to 24-gauge silver plate. Fit trim of your choice around the bezel and solder it in place. Pickle and polish. Be sure to stamp it sterling."

"Solder in place the bola back of your choice. I use the Day bola back."

"Polish the silver to a high sheen. Set the stone in the cup. Add bola cords of your choice and sterling silver tips. Your bola is now complete."


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