Wylde Crown and Scepter

Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of working with photographer Clay Patrick McBride, building props for his recent photo shoot with Zakk Wylde (founder of the band Black Label Society and former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne). Clay asked me to build a rusted, “king of the underworld,” crown and scepter that Zakk Wylde would wear and hold while sitting on a thrown in a gothic castle. Clay and I met, went over some initial details and then we checked in throughout the process to make sure everything was on target. Everywhere I go my eyes are constantly scanning for unusual pieces of metal, and I had a stockpile of beat-up, rusted goodies that I was excited to incorporate into this project. Clay gave great pointers and was always open to bounce ideas off of. When it was all said and done I met up with everyone after shoot, met Zakk Wylde, and clay took this photo of us.

I built the scepter first. Clay had a handmade ceramic skull from a recent trip to Central America that he wanted suspended at the top. For the main shaft I used an old sign post that I had found in a seashore town which had heavy pits from all the salt. The post didn't have the taper that scepters commonly have in the handle so I had to expand the steel out towards the top and weld in spacers to keep the correct shape. The end of the post was totally disfigured by the rust, it looked great, but it was tricky to find a way to resolve the wild end to then make a place for the skull. I ended up using a twisted metal sphere to pull the rusted mess back together. The knob that originally had been at the top of the sign post I welded to the base and added a fence spike to make it all come to a point. I then biked around for scraps of rusted flat bar and barb wire to surround the skull. I welded bead lines and wrapped barb wire around the post to accent the handle of the shaft. After assembling it all, I topped it off with the Iron Cross from a Black Label Society logo.

The Crown required more fabrication from stock metals than the scepter. I used a cone calculator online to figure out the proper cut to make in a flat sheet of steel to create the base. It's weird holding a rainbow shaped piece of flat metal and hoping that the two ends will meet together and make a cone shape, but I put it in my ring roller and it did it! I cut a 10 degree cut into the square tube posts to make the crown start to become more vertical. Then I added fence spikes, also welded in at an angle, so they pointed straight up. To rust the stock metal I submerged it in a salty bath and gave it 50amps of juice with a car charge. I left it in there Electroetching for a couple hours and it came out with a good amount of red/orange rust as desired. At that point I didn't know exactly how far to take it, so before proceeding I contacted clay and he gave me some pointers and the go ahead for a totally raw, mean looking crown with thick chain and barb wire. When I tried it on the heavy crown had some painful pressure points against my dome so I tied in some rubber supports cut from a blown inner tube. This peeked my interest to do some research and I found one King's crown that weighed 75 lbs!