There are several steps we take when creating dichroic glass bolo ties. First we build a cab using pieces of dichroic glass. We carefully stack dichroic pieces onto a background of black sheet glass. Then we cap the dichroic glass design with a piece of clear sheet and place into the kiln. To melt the glass to a full fuse, we turn the kiln up to 1400 degrees. In order to be most efficient with energy usage, we set up several cabs before we fire up the kiln.
Once the oven has cooled to room temperature, we carefully cut, grind and bevel the glass into a polished and refined shape. We make our dichroic glass bolo ties in 4 basic designs. Rectangles, arcs, shields and elongated shields. The designs in the dichroic usually help dictate what shape we cut out. We use a paint pen to map out the design first, to see what the shape will potentially look like before we cut the glass. Sometimes we flip it around to see what direction the shape will look best. After we finish making the cab, we are then ready to fabricate a setting, using fine silver bezel and a backing of sterling silver sheet.
Now to make the settings! First we outline the shape of the glass on the sterling sheet. Next we cut out a piece of silver slightly larger than the glass, leaving a small surrounding border. Then, we wrap the glass with fine silver bezel, creating a very precise shape that will hold the glass and secure the cab to the sheet. We solder the bezel to the sheet of sterling, and grind the metal into a final shape.
In order to hold the large bolo cords, we create our own figure eight on the back side of the piece. The cords will slide through these jump rings and allow the artwork to slide up and down. Once all the parts are soldered together, the metal is buffed and polished to a mirror finish. When all the silversmithing is completed, its time to set the glass permanently in place with a two part epoxy. Finally, we add a braided leather cord and sterling silver tips and the dichroic glass bolo is ready for sale.