The Path [July 2009]

madake bamboo, lens, aluminium, hard drive case, 18ct gold
for Richard Chenhall

This piece was commissioned by Richard, a fellow shakuhachi player and friend.  He wanted something with bamboo, So i started by selecting the bamboo (a piece actually cut from a section of a damaged shakuhachi flute) and a lens that was the right size, and then shaping the bamboo ring and fitting the lens.

Once this was done, I could 'mock up' various possible internals. I showed a couple to Richard, and he liked the way it was going. I settled on an interesting detail cut from the stainless steel case of a certain model old computer hard drive - a labyrinthine pressure relief system. Stainless is pretty tough, and I broke a good half dozen fine sawblades cutting it down.

An aluminium hard drive platter spacer ring was cut down to provide something i could tap a hole into for the attachment bolt, and also as a binding to prevent the bamboo from splitting due to changes in humidity. The ball that I fitted into the hole in the labyrinth started off as a brass ball bearing, but I wanted this piece to be a bit special, so I tried to find a gold stud earring that fit in the hole. No luck, but a local jeweller was happy to make me up an 18ct gold ball the right size.

It was tricky machining the outer ring so thin - the lazy way would have been to leave it thicker, but I wanted to expose a ring of the bamboo between it and the inner part - a nice detail for the back of the piece.

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