Saturday, January 28, 2012

Making a Ring Band

I'm kind of the queen of rings. Okay, so it's not official, but I consider myself experienced at this. I make lots of ring bands. Most days I can be found in my studio working on several rings at a time. I love seeing a sheet of metal turn into several renditions of finger jewelry. I thought you might like to see the process. This is the beginning...measure and cut a strip of sterling silver. Watch your fingers.
Then it's time to texture it. Lots of my rings start with a hammered finish. Tap tap tap to get it uniform and nice. If the silver strip starts to bend in one direction, I hammer on the leaning side until it comes back to center. I want a straight nice piece to form into a ring. Sorry, I can't hear your questions right now, I'm wearing ear plugs.
I have recently switched to this disc sander to square the edges. I used to use a file, but the edges were often not truly square and were much harder to line up nicely for soldering. Soldering goes best with a tight fit, so now I use the disc sander and get super square nice edges. Yay! Next I use calipers to get a very accurate measurement for the length, mark it, cut it and I use the disc sander on the other end of the ring blank for a perfect fit.
My new ring bender - I love this tool! It helps me bend the ring into a nice circle so that I have a perfect, tight seam for making a good solder join. I keep inserting the blank into the machine a few millimeters at a time and it comes out nicely rounded. I used to use my half-round pliers and my fingers for this, but this tool makes perfect circles much quicker. Yay for having the right tool for the job.

Time for some fire! I use a line of wire solder almost as long as my seam. I add a bit of flux to make it flow and then heat the whole ring evenly until the solder fills the seam. I get the solder to flow down into the lower seam and then flip it over and heat again until solder flows into the other half of the seam. My little torch uses oxygen and propane and I have no trouble heating a large ring enough to melt solder. I use medium solder that flows at 1360 degrees. It's so cool to see the solder flowing - it's art in itself. Next, quench it in water to cool and then it goes into the pickle to take off the oxidation and the copper that has come to the surface of the silver.
Next I use my handy dandy tool that my sweet brother-in-law made for me - just so that I could polish the insides of rings without burning my fingers! I tighten the ring into the clamp and use 3 grits of sand paper, a texture wheel, and then 4 grits of abrasive drums to make the inside smooth, shiny and pretty. Thank you, Bob, from me and my fingers!
Then it's back onto the ring mandrel for making it perfectly round and exactly the right size. This is a good place to take out any stress or aggravations from the day! :)
Into the tumbler it goes for a couple of hours. This is filled with a mixture of shapes of steel shot that tumbles and rubs against the ring to as it turns. This hardens and shines the ring and makes it sparkly and beautiful.
Almost done - just a bit of final polishing on the polishing wheel and then it's ready for it's new home on someone's finger.
That was fun! Thanks for coming by to see how I spend lots of my time in the studio. Doesn't it make you want to play with fire, too?

And, if you've enjoyed seeing this, you can take a tour of the blogs of some of my very talented friends on the Aspiring Metalsmiths team and see what skills they are teaching us today. I know we'll learn lots!


Shannon of Gifted Designs - http://gifteddesigns.blogspot.com/
Pennee- All Wired Up Jewelry Designs - http://allwiredupjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com/
Jessica @ Abella Blue - http://www.abellablue.com/blog

14 comments:

  1. Wonderful to see you work Stacy! I particularly like the sander for getting the ends even. Smart!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great how to!

    What is that tool in the first photo? A saw?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great tutorial Stacy! I've never made a ring from sheet stock before, so this was very informative!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks you guys! The tool in the first photo is a metal shear. It's a fantastic tool for cutting sheet without distorting it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. wow, love it! I have total studio envy. :D

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ok- now I am really feeling like a total amateur- I have like 2 real tools- the rest I just wing it- such fun seeing a real studio artist at work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  7. You silly woman - you are a REAL studio artist!! And you make a lot of your own tools - how cool is that?!?

    ReplyDelete
  8. your brother needs to sell his wooden ring holders - love it - what a great idea for inside finishing!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is great! I'm just starting to learn all this, so it's really cool to see what other folks are doing. So very generous of you! I look forward to exploring your blog and those of the others you link at the end of this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for coming by! I'm happy to have you join in here. :)

      Delete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Filme hd onlinefilme Online Hd, Vizioneaza filme online subtitrate 2013 gratis traduse in limba romana la calitate HD, filme hd online

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very Very excellent and useful publish. Thank's to talk about your experience with us. I will try to keep in thoughts these recommendations in my weblog writing reviews procedure.

    Very Very excellent and useful publish. Thank's to talk about your experience with us. I will try to keep in thoughts these recommendations in my weblog writing reviews procedure.

    ReplyDelete