Dan Caprio

Dan Dicaprio (http://dandicaprio.com)

ECU 2011 Metals Guild Symposium “Shifting Traditions”

Woodcarving for Jewelry (Dianne’s Notes) with permission from Dan

Resources: Wood – Woodcrafts in Raleigh, NC

4317 Pleasant Valley Road

Raleigh NC 27612

Phone: 919-781-1911

Fax: 919-781-1980


I found this a wonderful resource as the website for each location gives images and descriptions of the woods they carry. Dan’s favorite woods are ebony and holly.

Tools – Highland Woodworking Tools: www.highlandwoodworking.com

Tips: Uses scroll saw blades in a jeweler’s saw

Keeps files in a canvas wrap that has slots for each file

Uses jewelers files for final filing

Uses a flex shaft especially made for wood craft; it has a square drive which gives more control.

Uses low profile Linstrom flush cutters and low profile beveled cutters

Uses natural hair brushes to clean burs

Dan’s pieces are usually 2” to 5”

Wire: Dan uses 26 GA Sterling Silver or 22K Gold

Dan’s Tools Set-up at ECU


1. Draw Design: Think about the tightness of the curves in your design as you will be using a band saw to do the rough cut.

2. Cut Out Design

3. Glue the Design to the Wood

a. Use a large piece of wood for small designs so that you have enough room to keep your hands clear of the band saw blade

b. When placing the design on the wood consider the direction of the grain. If you have a narrow section running cross-grain it will be weak.

c. Use rubber cement and allow to dry.

Form Rough Cut on Band Saw

4. Rough Cut on Band Saw

a. Make sure the saw blade is sharp and properly adjusted

b. Wear safety glasses

c. Keep saw blade holder (guide block) positioned right above wood surface

d. Cut out inside curves first by chipping away small sections instead of trying to cut the curve with one continuous cut.

e. Stay aware of where your fingers are in relation to the saw blade

f. Cut away remaining areas

5. Cut the rough form into two pieces

a. Position the form with the flat side down, if the form rocks when placed on the table, use shims to keep it stable before cutting

b. Cut into two pieces

6. Glue the two pieces together

a. Use rubber cement

b. Immediately after applying rubber cement to both pieces rubber band the pieces together

c. Allow to dry

7. Begin 3-D Carving

a. Draw design on each side as seen from that angle

b. Consider where you are going to place the pin-stem and catch

c. Use a wood workers square drive flex-shaft

d. Use the (I don’t know the name of the wheel bur but it is pictured above in the flex-shaft hand piece to begin carving

e. Run the flex-shaft at a high speed to reduce grabbing and binding

f. Keep fingers clear

g. Keep work flat on the bench pin

h. Use a natural hair brush to clean burs

8. First Filing: Use Woodworking files (Dan likes a #2 cut half-round file) to further refine form

9. Continue to Refine Form to 75% of finished profile

a. Switch to Jeweler’s #2 cut file

Roughed Out Form on Left

10. Using a twisting motion, Separate Two Pieces at Rubber Cement Line

11. Hollow Form

a. Leave about 1/8” of material on all sides

b. Leave more material where pin-back will be attached

c. Watch to make sure the wall of the form is not becoming too thin. If you will be leaving wire extended beyond the wood surface you may need to leave a little more than the 1/8” so that the hole for the wire can be drilled a little deeper.

12. Glue Two Pieces Together with Superglue (Wood Glue will work)

a. Use a generous amount of superglue

b. Do Not use 2 part epoxy

c. Place and clamp pieces together

13. Finish Wood Surface

14. Drill Wire Holes

a. Use #77 drill bit for 26 GA wire; test before drilling holes in artwork. Adjust drill size as needed

b. Drill depth should equal the length from bottom of drill bit to the top of the first turn when cutting wires flush to the wood surface. When leaving wires extending beyond the surface drill holes slightly deeper

15. Attach Wire

a. Pull out 1.5 feet of silver or gold wire

b. Put a slight film of glue on wire-end and implant into a drilled hole

c. Allow to dry

16. Lacquer the wire and the wood

17. ZapThe Crack

a. If a piece should develop a crack

b. Fill the crack with fine filing from the same piece of wood

c. Add a generous bead of superglue on top of filings

d. Allow to dry for 5 minutes and sand

Form on Right Crack Repair at Bottom Repair is Complete

Some Pieces Do Not Require Cutting apart to Hollow