~ A Darling Love Story ~
A darling lady contacted me through Etsy to ask if she could send me a bullet shell that was sentimental to her husband.
She wanted me to turn it into a key chain.
She planned to give it to him for Valentine's day.
I had done this before, told her as much and gave her my address. Previously though, the shells I have done were shot in 21 gun salute at funerals. I'm asked to put the deceased's initials, birth and date of passing on them.
She then told me the casing/shell was the first bullet her son ever shot with her husband. I got misty. I come from a shooting family. It's a milestone. A beginning of life milestone.
I had never been contacted to do a "first shot" piece.
After a little back and forth about what she wanted it was revealed the bullet casing was much smaller than the ones in the listing and which I normally use. We were both momentarily disappointed that I was unable to put all the characters she originally wanted as they simply would not fit.
Truth told, I wasn't certain I could even do much with it at all...
Anyone who knows me well could tell you I'm a bit jaded by life but this love story gave me some hope. I told the darling lady I enjoyed a good challenge and to go ahead and send it. Even if I could only stamp it with a heart it would warm a couple of hearts.
The Letter & Brass Arrive
A few days later the letter and casing arrived & I set to work~
The Work Begins
I had told the darling lady who was now a client we could fit more on it if I smashed it completely flat. The process pushes the pin out.
Once it was flattened / smashed I was able to see what would actually fit. The client had wanted me + you with a heart as her first choice. Unfortunately that wasn't going to work.
Her second choice was C + S with a heart.
That would fit but I had another problem to deal with first.
The tip end had literally taken a beating even though I tape it off and concentrate on the pin end. The reason I don't work with this size much is they aren't as malleable. For every success there is failure. A 50/50 chance doesn't work for stocking my shop on a daily basis. At some point the tip end needs to be flattened & it's a lot of stress on the thin brass.
Raw Rivet, Stamping & Pre-Drilling
I decided a copper rivet would add strength and stability so I added that and then began the stamping. I also pre-drill the hole for the key ring. The size depends on which ring a client chooses.
Next Step - Polish, Darken & Drill to Size
The polishing process naturally sets the oxidation into the stamping imprints and a black sharpie evens it out.
I love how even in the "smashed" state one can still see WIN (Winchester) and 9MM
The Finished Piece
It makes me very happy!
One Last Shot with the Pin
I got a little punny with that title!
Here's to True Love