Each gold toothpick is made in ATTIC's studio using hand tools and series of traditional fabrication techniques. From the jeweller’s coping saw to a rawhide mallet, most of the hand tools that we use in the studio today have not changed much over the years.
To make the toothpick, we are essentially, shaping and polishing a segment of wire that has been sized just right. We start by using a torch to soften the material so that it can be worked with, and as we go through the steps of making the object, the gold becomes hard enough to use as a tool.
Soften a piece of gold wire using heat from a jeweller’s torch - this is called annealing
Reduce the diameter of the gold wire by pulling it through increasingly smaller holes in a forming die
Anneal the wire again
Hammer the gold wire flat on a hardened steel block
Measure the wire with calipers & cut to desired length
Hand file the tapers onto each end of the wire
File and cut the grip feature into the surface the toothpick using a diamond-coated burr
Sand away the file and hammer marks with progressively finer abrasives
Polish the sanded toothpick on a polishing wheel with polishing compounds
Steam clean the finished gold toothpick
We use a caliper to measure the wire after it's been sized down and straightened.
The goldsmith's workbench has a bench pin that juts out from the work surface.
This, along with the curve in the work surface, allows us to get nice and close
to the object so we can see what we are doing and easily move tools
around the small piece. Here we are cutting the wire with a coping saw.
Here we're hammering the wire on a hardened steel block with a rawhide mallet.
Rawhide is easier on the surface of the metal, and doesn't leave deep marks
that have to be polished out later.
Here's a close up of the toothpick being filed on the bench pin. Every goldsmith's bench pin has it's own unique character.
Toughly filed, this 14k gold toothpick still needs a bit more shaping before it gets
sanded down and polished to a mirror finish.