This was a considerable challenge: Red Kuk beads, 9.5 mm Diamond shape,
no problem there, but add to that Camel Bone turbans mounted on the markers and things start to get a bit more difficult. Then, the turbans must be set at an angle to the axes of the markers, to make them more realistic. This requires screw threads on the finial, the final component of the set of top beads above the Imama or Alif.The challenge begins, and grows with the addition of inlaid sandal motifs into the turban tops.Not only because of the size, but the fact that both materials need to be color enhanced, which means that there is no chance of sanding off the inlay after gluing to bring it to flush level, as that would remove the color treatment, so they must fit perfectly from the start.
Obviously the turbans needed to be turned separately, and then remounted using a Jam Chuck (turned from a scrap of olivewood) for secondary operations: boring the inside to fit on top of the ‘head’
This allows for the final detailing and the preparation of the inlay recesses. It is not without risks, as if it is jammed to far, the piece will crack. I learned just how brittle camel bone actually is…the hard way as usual.Having completed these parts it was time to pierce out the Sandal inlays. These are tiny, around 6mm long or so, and with a circular piece of Kuk for them to be inlaid into.
The circular pieces I made by parting off slices of a cylinder turned in the collet chuck, this is much easier than trying to saw a perfect circle. Needless to say, the sandals could only be done with the saw…and a good deal of touch-up with needle files.
Here are all of the components ready for their respective color enhancement. The Kuk is done with an all natural blend of herbal dyestuff including henna and coffee. The Camel bone is done with a solution of peroxide to brighten it up. After the desired color is achieved the components are carefully fit and glued together, polished and finally strung up into the final Tasbih.