I thought I’d just offer a little tip, but then decided I would go ahead with another quick show and tell on how I make a simple ring – I want to say shank, but am pretty sure that’s not what it’s called and I can’t for the life of me think of another name for it…
Just not that good at words sometimes.
So first up. The tip.
It’s not a big tip and probably everyone does it, but I used to get frustrated trying to straighten up wire. Don’t laugh.
Wire straightener – riogrande.com #116717
Personally I never use it, but if you want to straighten longer lengths of wire for viking weaving etc., I’m sure it would be pretty handy.
Now for the ring.
This is just a simply way of making a ring shank. (I just looked it up and I think it might be called a shank after all). There are so many ways to make rings and everyone makes them differently, but I just wanted a simple band (haha! I think I have the word I was looking for. Came naturally when I wasn’t looking…) but with more support because the top of the ring is larger and a single band seems too thin for it. There are different styles also so chances are you won’t want to use this one. But just in case you do and have never made one before…
There is a chart for working out lengths of wire that you need for each particular ring size. I’m just too lazy to bother with it, but if you really want to be economical with your silver you should look at it.
In this video I have already made the top of the ring as I wasn’t planning on making a show and tell.
As always be warned that I don’t edit but I do make the videos in snippits so you can skip around. If you click on the video it will take you to YouTube, but you’ll have to come back to the blog to watch the next one. The show and tells really are just for beginning jewelry makers that might need a little encouragement so the idea of them being out there in the YouTube universe kind of seems too much.
Ring mandrel – riogrande.com #112390 – this is a stepped mandrel which would be more accurate.
NOTE: If you use the wire/length chart above be aware that different gauge wire would alter the fit of the ring slightly. If, for instance, the wire is thick the inside diameter of the final band would be smaller so that’s something to be aware of. Also this chart will make a perfect ring shape and I have taken some of that out so you will still cut too much silver for this particular style. If you do cut the wire to the correct length, however, you can hammer the ends and file them down before bending it into the ring shape. Not as fiddly, but I’m often down for fiddly…
Diamond burs – riogrande.com #346063 – there are lots of different burs of different quality, but this is a cheap starter pack which includes various shapes. Once you’ve figured out which bur you use the most you can invest in more expensive ones.
Silicon polishing wheels – riogrande.com #332579 – again there are lots of different silicon wheels so it’s a matter of experimenting until you find those that work best for you.
Snap on sanding discs – HERE – you will also need the snap on mandrel which you’ll find at the bottom of the page.
Graver – this is a selection of gravers – HERE – I use one with a sharp point to scrape any solder that may have flowed into textured pieces. You’ll find them at riogrande.com also
O.K. so here’s the thing. My buffing machine should be bolted down onto the table, but I’ve never got around to it. Don’t judge me…
I just haven’t found a spot that I’d like it to stay in and it’s usually o.k. However when I first started out I made the mistake of buffing a length of chain that I was holding too loosely and it whipped around the wheel (and my hand) and as I tried to jump away I pulled the whole thing onto the floor. This is when the knob fell off.
DO NOT DO THIS!!! (I can’t write that loud enough) I’ve stupidly done this twice (maybe three times, but I’m not admitting to anything). It hurts and it could have been a lot worse than it was. Fortunately I only broke the machine, but I nearly took my fingernail off and had to say ouchy ouchy more times than I’d like to tell you when the chain was wrapped around my hand so tightly that I didn’t think I’d be able to get it off especially as my eyes were watering as I tried to use my not so good at cutting left hand.
I can’t stress enough how dangerous the buffing machine can be. My new one, because I think I’m going to have to get another one, will be screwed down. Don’t make me come out there to smack some sense into you as someone should have done to me…
Black Max – riogrande.com
3m yellow radial discs 80 grit – riogrande.com #326026 – There are different grits for different jobs, but I mainly use this one.
You can buy a selection pack of them if you’d like to experiment with each grit at – riogrande.com #326024
NOTE that I like to use the 7/8 size. You can buy the smaller ones here – riogrande.com #332595
I use this wheel on my buffing machine to finish my piece – riogrande.com #330541
And this is the smaller buff for my handpiece – riogrande.com #338130
This is the link to the new mask I have – HERE – So far I like it and it’s easy to get on and off. It seems to push down on my nose a little which made me sniff in the video, but I think I just need to adjust it more.
NOTE: The fibers from the buffing wheel and the dust from the Black Max will still be in the air when you turn the machine off. Normally I keep my mask on because of this. I do have a dust collector, but it isn’t connected to the buffing machine at the moment because we took it off so that Stephen could whip me up something less cumbersome than the set up I had. He never got back to me which is why I’m seriously considering cutting back on his food rations. With that and the knob situation I’m deciding if it’s really worth keeping him around…
The video stops on this one as someone called me. Sorry.
It may seem like it in the video, but I’m not sanding an awful lot of the bezel thickness away. I’m just really skimming it over the surface to clean off the Black Max. If you want to try this just be careful to keep an eye on the blue masking tape so that you’re not sanding through it. You could also put two layers of tape over the stone if you’re worried you might damage it.
And that’s it!
Hopefully it wasn’t too boring. As I said it’s really just to encourage new jewelry makers to have a go. I found rings quite intimidating at first and couldn’t quite figure out the best way to do it.
This is one way to make a simple ring band. Someone else would make it differently and probably far better, but it’s just a beginning and you can go on from there.