Maori design

Dremel 4000 reference - Maori fish hook

Maori bone fish hook

While browsing the interwebs for ideas and inspiration, I stumbled upon and was immediately captivated by Maori carvings. The smaller, simpler shapes, many of them clearly inspired by fishing hooks, were particularly interesting. They are very organic and natural, and somehow seem to both have and break symmetry at the same time. Their simplicity is deceptive – clearly, these were not based on a few haphazardly drawn lines, but carefully thought through or, rather, felt through.

I sketched down some of the designs I came across, and during the past few evenings have turned two of them into physical objects – these are meant to be necklace pendants.

Dremel 4000 made - Maori pendantsThe smaller one in the background is made out of pine – I have only started working with this wood and, unfortunately, find it ill suited for such work. Pine is very, very soft and breaks and gouges easily. Its grain pattern and colour are also not particularly exciting. However, being soft, it is very easy to shape, plus I find the smell of freshly cut pine rather nice. I am unsure of the identity of the wood that I used for the second pendant: it also smells like an evergreen, but is significantly harder than the pine board and has a somewhat different grain. This is the wood I used for my very first Dremel project (then I though that it was pine) and for a few things since but, sadly, the piece is now all used up.

I cut out both pendants with a fret saw and shaped the external edges with the 408 sanding band. The pine board is 1.8cm thick, so I needed to slice it in half. I used the EZ544 Carbide Cutting Wheel coupled with the 576 Guide to make a cut that was parallel to the surfaces and at a constant depth. This is not a “Dremel-approved” combination, and is a bit tricky to set up and take apart: There is not enough space to pull back the EZ402 mandrel, so I end up pushing the cutting wheel onto it instead. To take it off, I push the latches of the mandrel with e.g. the little Dremel wrench, while using my other hand to lift and slightly rotate the wheel. Once it’s rotated enough to prevent the latches from snapping back in place, I get rid of the wrench and hold down the shaft lock button, while rotating the cutting wheel so that it can be completely disengaged. The cutting part itself works very well, though. The internal surfaces were shaped with some needle files, and then all accessible surfaces and edges were sanded, first with 120-grit sandpaper and then 1800-grit Micromesh.

Now to find some nice black wax cord, and I think these won’t look half-bad on my lovely girlfriend 🙂


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