Protective Talisman for Travelers: A tutorial

Have a healthy fear of flying? Or maybe a family member or friend does? Robert Dancik might just have a solution for you. Author of Amulets & Talismans, Robert Dancik is a believer in a mystical power to protect. Here he shares instructions for how to make a beautiful talisman meant to keep the traveler’s anxiety at bay. Bonus: You’ll use unique and fascinating techniques in completing this  project, techniques like machine cutting and drilling, metal stamping and cutting, and the application of chemical patina. (This tutorial was previously published in the book Amulets and Talismans by Robert Dancik, copyright 2009; republished here courtesy of   Tools
  • jeweler’s saw
  • Faux Bone blade, fine
  • metal blade, #2/0
  • bench pin
  • half-round file, medium
  • sanding stick or sandpaper
  • checkering file
  • letter stamps or other metal stamps
  • bench block
  • flat-head hammer
  • mallet or dead-blow hammer
  • wood block
  • drill
  • 1⁄16" (2mm) drill bit
  • wire cutters
  • round-nose pliers
  • brass brush
  • 1⁄16" (2mm) Faux Bone
  • 24-gauge copper or similar
  • #0-80 micro bolts and nuts
  • 18-gauge copper wire
  • patina materials
  • 5mm x 12mm bullet-shaped stone or
  • similar
  • rusted washer or similar
  • tin snips
Eyes are a traditional symbol for protection when traveling. To this day, in many European countries, eyes can be found painted on the front of boats, cars and even airplanes, presumably enabling the vehicle and passenger to find the way home. The washer at the top of this amulet is my symbol for an eye, and the wings are to ensure the swift completion of the trip. This particular talisman was made for a friend deathly afraid of flying, hence the repeated inscription: “The plane will stay up.” This is her personal mantra when flying. The carnelian, traditionally associated with the third eye, is to afford her peace of mind. Step 1 Cut a piece of Faux Bone to about 2½" × 1½" (6cm × 4cm). Draw a set of connected wings on the Faux Bone and cut out with a jeweler’s saw equipped with a fine Faux Bone blade.       Step 2 On a piece of 24-gauge copper, draw an oval approximately 1" × 2" (3cm × 5cm). Draw a 3⁄8" (10mm) circle about 1⁄8" (3mm) in from one end of the oval. Drill a small hole inside the circle and cut it out with a jeweler’s saw and metal blade.     Step 3 Using a jeweler’s saw or tin snips, saw or cut out the larger shape of the oval. File the edge of the oval to refine the shape. Sand the edges using sandpaper or a sanding stick.       Step 4 If you like, use a checkering file to create texture around the edge of the oval.       Step 5 Using 1⁄8" (3mm) metal letter stamps and a flat-head hammer, place the oval on the anvil and stamp it with words.       Step 6 On a block of wood, create a dap by making a large diameter indentation with a hammer. Using a dead-blow hammer or rawhide mallet, curve the oval by hammering it from the back into the depression in the jig.       Step 7 Position the wings beneath the oval and about one-third down from the top (the end with the hole). Using a 1⁄16" (2mm) drill bit, drill one hole on one side of the oval and the wings. Insert a bolt to keep the pieces in place. Repeat with the other side of the oval. Remove the nut, bolt and wings.     Step 8 Using a 1⁄16" (2mm) drill bit, drill a total of eleven holes (one at the bottom and five up each side), approximately 1⁄8" (3mm) apart.       Step 9 Make a coil of 18-gauge copper wire. Hold the wire on the round-nose pliers and distress the coils with a checkering file. Make ten jump rings. Attach one to each of the five holes on the sides.       Step 10 Mix a batch of liver of sulfur according to the manufacturer’s directions and patina the oval and jump rings to the desired color. Brass brush all the parts to a soft sheen and burnish all edges.       Step 11 File and sand the edges of the wings. Using the edge of the half-round file, create the lines of the feathers. Tilt the file at an angle to round the front more than the back.       Step 12 Add color to the wings and any other texture as desired. Reattach the wings to the metal oval using the nuts and bolts. Trim the excess shaft of the bolts and rivet.       Step 13 Cut a 5" (13cm) piece of 18-gauge wire and flatten it using a flat-faced hammer. Spiral the wire down one prong of the round-nose pliers.       Step 14 Take the wire off the pliers and bend it back onto itself. Grasp the wire at the bend and bend it again at the pliers’ edge. Cut the wire ¾" (19mm) above the last bend and form a loop in the wire.       Step 15 Insert the bullet stone into the spiral and twist the wire spiral around the stone to tighten if needed. Insert the loop at the top of the spiral into the hole at the bottom of the oval and twist the loop closed.       Step 16 Cut an 8" (20cm) piece of 18-gauge wire and fold it in half. Pinch the open end tightly with pliers and use a flat-faced hammer to hammer the wire flat.       Step 17 Use heat to patina the wire, and then use a brass brush to polish the wire. Grasping the folded end with chain-nose pliers, create a tiny hook. About ½" (12mm) from the hook, create another bend in the same direction. Thread on the washer and squeeze the wire to secure the washer. Step 18 At ½" (12mm) above where the hook goes over the washer, grasp the wire with a pair of chain-nose pliers and separate the wires into a Y shape. About 1" (3cm) from the separation, give the wires a one-quarter turn to create a slight twist. Using roundnose pliers, make a loop on the ends of both wires. Step 19 Cut a 1" (3cm) piece of 18-gauge wire and clean and patina it. Also patina the Y bail. Bend the 1" (3cm) wire to form an oblong jump ring. Connect the oval and the washer using the jump ring. Attach a chain to the loops of the Y bail.     From Amulets and Talismans by Robert Dancik, 2009; Courtesy of To learn more about or purchase Amulets and Talismans by Robert Dancik, click here.    

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