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The Art and Jewelry of J.Grahl Design


Hi Ted,
Yup … the good old days (unless you factor in cutting off sprues on beryllium copper castings… scars on my hands & arms for months.
We did a lot of precision casting for Douglas Aircraft & National Cash Register. Small components mostly (that is where the epoxy/metal mold part comes in). We were the first on the west coast to experiment with shell casting because the scale of the parts started getting bigger and we had to find something other than investment for dealing with the size.
This wasn’t my focus, though we still have precision stainless casting done at Tech form at times (as well as our platinum casting when necessary).
Our molds were designed for high pressure (220 lb. psi) injection at low wax temperature (150 deg. F). This reduced shrinkage to near nill. We used a proprietary wax that injected similar to styrene plastic, the finish was like glass.
Our industrial & art bronze casting was a really interesting experience. We were a commercial foundry for a lot of up and coming artists as well as a bit of an experimental operation. New alloys and techniques were an everyday occurrence. Great stuff to see and very useful to experience the varieties of outcomes when delving into uncharted waters. It really would be difficult to find a similar situation today.
I searched the Dark Ages, found a discussion but no images. Could you re-post.


Hi Jim,
The “dark ages” here in the UK were from the time the Romans had enough of us, and our rain! till the Normans decided they wanted our fair maids.
Around 140 ad to 1066 ad. A somewhat pagan time. Only the monasteries kept any civilisation going.

Heres my interpretation of this time, there in 316 s/steel 1mm sheet fused with Tig as a flat 2 part strip, then concaved between 2 dies, and finally bent into an oval. then the edges are curved upward.
then polished bright and fire oxidised at a dull red/temp colour with a 2in dia slow propane flame pointing upwards on my heating stand. This is where I anneal, heat tools prior to hardening. Pretty essential in my work. Put it together originally to do torch enamelling!.
Time to make around an hour when making a pro/run of say 10.

These are 2 wide and 1 medium. also made in narrow 3/4in and with difficulty finger rings to match.
All the number rank and name marks are stamped inside before assembly.
A real fun one to do.


Hi Ted
Very cool, there is a sense of war & trouble there… or I’ve seen too many Mad Max movies.
What you make look simple is not. These are not user / forming easy materials to work with. Even the controlled melt (looking) edge is a lot tougher in stainless than gold. Primitive looking does not always equate the the skills necessary to get that look.
Great work.


X Marks the Spot…
(and for her) Treasure.
Here is a gift that was easier to sketch than do.
Fabricated in platinum, and set with 53 1.2 mm round, VVS/VS1 E-F color diamonds, this delicate little piece covers a lot of finger.
This is really a play piece, not for heavy wear but for that evening out with a bit of zing.
Sooo simple(ish), were it not for the fact that these are not round, but elliptical curves making what appears to be a round ring, and a whole lot of time spent in preparing the piece for setting.
Enjoy a few steps of the process,


Jim,Controlled melt edge? Yes, your spot on, you only get one go at it, timing is crucial.
also your next post, Moore and Wright center finder, know them well.
Dont have that one but others.
You may have Millers Falls? (USA) hack saw frames with rosewood handles,? hand drills?
also rosewood.
Then theres Starrett Athol Mass. Diston etc.
Have them all.


Hey Jim,

One of the things I love about reading your process posts is seeing parts whose relationship I don’t immediately know. And then… a few photos down the line, it all comes together, and there it is, that beautiful final piece.



Thank you for your response and your time—I know our time is valuable, even more so these days as we get older. Sounds like you have had an interesting and exciting journey so far—being around talented people and the time you have had in the industry, is very advantageous. You have done well for yourself and I admire your work !!
I got involved with rocks and minerals around 3 years ago here in Jacksonville, Florida with a non-profit organization called Jacksonville Gem & Mineral Society (JGMS). Call it what you want—I think that it was meant to be! It introduced me to a world I never really knew about – Gems and Minerals from our awesome world!! There’s around 400 members (100 or so active) and we teach faceting, glass blowing, silversmithing, cabbing (natural stones) wire wrapping, PMC, Chainmalle- etc. Our members for a small fee ($3-$5 an hr.) can take classes and start a new adventure in life!!
When became involved with JGMS, I took a cabbing and silversmith class—now 3 years later I’m a Silversmith instructor- Cabbing instructor and will be President of the club next year !! Oouuchhh!! Not really, I really enjoy my time there-- sharing what I’ve learned so far, and it keeps pushing me further in my abilities. Of course, my time is donated to the club, being a non-profit.
That’s my story on how I came to be and where I am so far today. I have a studio in my home (It’s set up pretty good so far, I’ll include pic) and I have a piece of property locally at our beaches where my intention is to build my own studio and have a retail outlet. My money making job—is home remodeling, I’ve been a general contractor for over 25 years now and I have to juggle that which pays the bills --and my most inner passion of working with Sterling Silver/Brass/Copper (and soon Gold) and natural stones and gems.
Jim, I really appreciate your help and insight !!! It’s wonderful to have someone to turn to and to share this beautiful journey with!!
Would love to meet up if your down my way or if I’m in your neck of the woods!!

Russ Fisette


She’s one lucky lady. That’s a gorgeous ring, Jim!


This piece is so beautiful in its simplistic form, yet so incredibly creative in its masterful design. I just love it !!!


Beautiful as always! Great job!