Step #1: Make sure the inset fits. Test it. You do not force it into a TIGHT spot. you have to take this out - once your satisfied that your ready to make this permanent. Remove the inset and flood the inside with superglue. Replace the piece and this is what you should see, a tiny gap around the entire piece.
A small piece of carboard is wrapped around the bracelet piece and lines are drawn as to where to drill the holes for the bracelet cord to be inserted.
Naturally these must be all the same or the bracelet will not LOCK when final assembly takes place.
We do not use rulers or take any measurements during the entire process.
Here is it obvious: The drill bit is too long, it will go right through in one shot - that is the surest way to CAUSE injury!! Only drill half way - then turn the piece over and drill from the other side.
This is perhaps the hardest step in the entire process. learning how to drill straight and follow that line !! This take a lot of practice
Once that inset is sanded down flush with the top of the bracelet piece, the dust from the inset will mix with the super glue on the gap(s). and blend in perfectly to create a perfect inset with absolutely no visible gaps what so ever.!!!
Of course this isn't going to happen overnight - you have to put in the time;- Create - inventory - !!
And to be quite frank and honest - NO!! You will not sell your first bracelets for no $300 bucks. It depends on material - Fossil walrus ivory brings in the highest prices of all ivory. Next comes white ivory - then mastodon ivory is the cheapst - bone & antler are much lower on the price scale. Detail will fetch a much larger price. The more detail the higher the price - on anything made. Detail sells big time. It is the #1 factor in price
The very first bracelets my sons made sold for $20 bucks each @ Kotzebue Gun & Pawn shop. They were quite pathetic !! Sharp hard edges on the pieces that didn't LOCK the bracelet into the perfect circle.
As time progressed each and every day - the price went up to $40 bucks just to get some cash coming in. We sold lots and lots of those to locals, in time - we rose to $50 bucks - then to 60 for a while then we were stuck $ 80 for over a year until the boys learned to sand and polish between the pieces. the edges that are hidden, Once they did that then the price went up to 120. When people saw perfect bracelets with fossil material insets - the price was $200. That was Kotzebue. Point Hope was slightly lower in prices for the same bracelet. But in Barrow that same Bracelet would fetch $400 easily.
RECENTLY we went to Alaska Fur Exchange to purchase some ivory. We spoke with the owners. They have tons and tons of braclets of all types.
The owner pulled out a bracelet of TRIPLE HEARTS - BLUE FOSSIL IVORY. She said: This was made in Point Hope by a very large woman who sold it to us. My sons laughed and said yes Caroline Cannon I bet. The owner said - how did you know that ? Mark said - we made it and sold it to her !!
The owner said We want all you can make of this style - we will pay you top dollar for these type bracelets.
We got the exact same response from the owner over @ Carls Jewlers in the University mall.
LETS GO SHOPPING; -
This is an excercise in learning how to use your imagination in your surroundings to set up a nice working functional shop for your new job.
These images are merely used as starting points for you to consider how to set up your area neatly so you can function efficently and comfortably for long extended periods of time.
Our very first shop in Kotzebue - June of 2004. This small arctic entry way or qanichaq was only six feet wide and perhaps 12 feet long. barely any room to set up a place to work for four teenagers. We are going to learn and this is where my sons did basic training. Sit down with a dremel and some pieces of ivory. four boys on a couch. Everything they needed is right in front of them.
Very efficient use of a limited amount of space. An over abundance of all supplies such as super glue - drill bits - saw blades - polishing wheels. and burr bits and other small essentials.
For over a year & half my sons sat on this couch all day long and worked. We didn't watch tv. We worked 12 - 14 hours a day and they had a lot of fun. The best part was always when people handed you the $$. They always had the biggest smile(s) on thier faces.
IN seven years time; the best day we ever had; was out of this shop; 3k in one day. We never broke that record in the 3 years we were selling every day in Barrow.
They went from that shop to this one in Point Hope:
This is shop #2 762 Tasiq Street Point Hope Alaska 99766
You can notice; we started out with just one sucker hose
to expell the dust away from the 12" disk sander. Three of those - cost well over $1,000 bucks with shipping. You can see in these photos we graduated to 3 of everything; one for each work station.
Everything we ordered we ordered in excess; such as ear-ring hooks & studs. One thousand of each hooks & studs in gold & in silver from Black Elk was 250 bucks there abouts. It didn't matter what we ran out of- we had plenty of stock on hand to make sure the JOB did not get shut down. The job is to finish one bracelet per day !!! w/matching ear-rings.
Then spend the rest of the day - prefabbing for the next days work.
We lived @ Tasiq street for almost two years then we moved to Barrow - we didn't pack all of this stuff up. We gave most of it away or sold it very cheaply to interested carvers.
Then we moved to Barrow and history was made !! These boys became legends in Barrow.
5 shops were built in Barrow. All brand new tools - the exact same stuff.
We never had any inkling or desire to move to Barrow; We were quite content in our home village of Point Hope; It was the barge captain two years in a row that convinced us to check barrow out and it was stepping out on a limb for sure. We did not know anyone in Barrow (personally). So on August 7th of 2007 Mark & I flew to Barrow (homeless). We arrived flat broke. Not one dime - BUT.. .. .. .. We had - 30 pairs of ear-rings - 16 quality bracelets and 3 bone masks.
We arrived 7 pm - tired and hungry and flat broke. Mark walked across the street from the Airport to King Eider hotel. I waited at the air port. 20 minutes later he came out with a big smile - he sold 4 sets of ear-rings for $30 bux each. We headed straight to Pepi's !! Singing & dancing the whole way.
Our first shop in Barrow - we were guests in this home for two months. It ended up costing us a fortune ! LITERALLY. A 70 year old elder took us into his house on our second night in Barrow - he was happy to have company or guests and would only charge us 500 per month. We said sure-
Shop #1 in Barrow We took all our tools when we left - but... .. we left all the wood benches and shelving in place. The owner was dissapointed when we left and appreciated the work done to his storage room with benches and shelves.
Okakok Street in Barrow
Shop #2 in Barrow - $1000 bucks a month rent - for this one small room. Sounds outrageous eh ? nope - chump change. If I look at this situation of $1000 a month. This is ridiculous BUT - ALL THAT AMOUNTS TO. is just ONE BRACELET per week for rent. It was a very tiny price to pay
considering we made 27 bracelets that sold every week!!!
We were here for four months and we were quite content at our living arrangements and then a 7 bedroom house became available to us and it was perfect for two shops. We were growing very fast -all brand new tools.
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Shop #3 @ 336 oogruk street
Shop # 4 in Barrow We sure moved around a lot.
448 Egasaq Street
We used the entire kitchen area to build our shop. Sanding had to be done outside. Then we built a small sanding area in the qanichaq. (cunny chuck)
THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE
of how: NOT TO
SET UP A SHOP.
IT is a total mess !!
Now presently we are in Anchorage and we are very limited as to how to set up a working functional shop here in this tiny 2 bedroom apartment. Jesse displays his new work area in one of the bedrooms. Everything is within instant reach. Put on the head phones and 'dream' while you work. Go someplace else, the work your gonna be doing is so simple you have plenty of time to travel in your thoughts.
Slicing up a small nub from the end of a piece of fossil ivory. No lines are drawn, no measurements are taken. Eye sight only. slice em up nice and neat. This requires a few hours work to finish. coping saw, dremel, vise - watch what happens here in the next day or two.
This may seem boring, and it is in a sense, but it is part of the JOB!! How bad is your urge & desire to succeed ?? Then purchase a small piece of IVORY for 50 bucks. Slice it up, take your time. There is no rush. But if you put in the necessary time and FINISH all the steps.. .. YOU WILL have a saleable product. Where to go to sell them ??
ANCHORAGE: Bingo parlors on Tudor, Northern Lights, & Fireweed. Native hospital, Go where the money is: i.e. Doctors - Lawyers - You do not have to be 'native' to produce 'native' art 'style(s)'!!
The gift shops all over Anchorage will purchase your beginning bracelets but don't expect to get more than 40 - 60 bucks. That's ok. Just bring in ten of them @ once and make 400. Its gonna take time to learn how to produce high quality bracelets, BUT IT IS easily accomplished with practice of these same simple steps.
When you make a bracelet, your doing the exact same thing 14 times.
Just how many pieces do you think it is going to take to beome an expert ?? Nt very many !!!
ONE STEP AT A TIME:
Learn them well.
Once you learn how to make ear-rings - Put in the time. You can easily fill a case of 100 boxes in a weeks time or less !!
That is an easy Thousand bux, in about 3 days time. Now Hustle and fill 2 cases per week. do that for just one month.
You are going to make a lot of money. Especially when AFN is going on in Anchorage or Fairbanks. It is easy to get a table and sell your crafts for big bucks. When working, take the time to think, you got plenty of time for this when doing simple tasks over and over !! This is all going to become so second nature much faster than you realize.
Once you begin to collect $$. Then the fire will be lit and you will climb very fast in making outrageous money!!
Next I have a close up of a bracelet being worked on. Well actually 3 different bracelets are being worked on now.
This heart inset bracelet will have 12 pieces. As this piece is sanded lightly through the different grits - 400 - 800 - 1600 All scratches will dissappear !! Fossil Ivory w/baleen heart inset. Placed on top of a Nickel, 5 cents
Once this piece is sanded using the much finer grits i.e. 800 - 1500 the shine will become scratch free. It will look like 'glass' when polished for the final step. Now repeat this same process a dozen times to finish the bracelet pieces and don't forget two more for the matching ear-rings.