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Nevada man is master ring, and other great pieces

Dan Heintz founded the business, What the Fork? Heintz turns old pieces of flatware into jewelry, figurines and other keepsakes. (Photo by Mary Ann Gardner)
Dan Heintz founded the business, What the Fork? Heintz turns old pieces of flatware into jewelry, figurines and other keepsakes. (Photo by Mary Ann Gardner)

Old flatware utensils are often thought of as being useless junk, with no purpose other than for eating food. But just because flatware utensils are mainly used to eat food, that doesn’t mean they can’t be repurposed into something new.

Dan Heintz of Nevada, is founder of the business, What the Fork? According to Heintz, “My friends often call me ‘the Spoon Man,’ because I can take any spoon and make something new out of it.”

Heintz started the business in 2010, because he inherited several pieces of flatware from his great-grandmother. The flatware had been monogramed with the first initial of her name. “I wanted to give my family members something to remember her by, so I started making rings out of her flatware,” Heintz said.

Jewelry making didn’t stop when he was finished with his great grandmothers’ flatware. He began to collect old flatware from auctions, Goodwill Stores and other antique stores. And now his collection has grown to include several hundred pieces of flatware, spanning from the 18th century to present time.

According to Heintz, silver-plated and silver flatware are among some of the best types of flatware to use when making jewelry.

The Process

When Heintz first started making rings out of flatware, he would use a socket from a wrench as a mold to wrap the hot metal around. However, his son Tyler Heintz, built him a new “ring bending machine” to be able to make his jewelry easier.

According to Heintz, there is a five-step process for making a ring made out of a piece of flatware. First, he heats up the piece of flatware, so it is malleable.

Next, he “quenches” the flatware. To quench the flatware means to dip in a liquid such as water or windshield washer fluid.

The third step is to mold the flatware in the ring shape, and to cut off the excess material that is not needed for the ring.

The fourth step is to size the ring, by hammering it down on a ring stretcher until it reaches the desired size.

The final step is to polish the ring and make it bright and shiny.

But the fun doesn’t stop with rings. Heintz can make a lot of things out of flatware. To date, he has made rings, necklace pendants, dresser pulls, key chains, ring holders, bracelets, business card holders and figurines all out of pieces of flatware.

“I love making new things out of flatware, I really had no idea I was so creative until I started making jewelry. This really is one of my biggest passions in life,” said Heintz. Heintz takes pride in the fact that he never lets anything go to waste, he always finds ways to use scraps of the leftover flatware.

Heintz may be contacted at 515-509-7606 or through Facebook.

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