When I started learning how to make silver jewellery the first thing I ever made was a ring, over the years I have found that there is several ways to make a ring so I thought why not show my way of doing it! For all of you wanting to dip your toes into working with silver this is a perfect tutorial on how to make a simple band ring!
You will need:
1. Sterling Silver Wire (I am using 2mm round) 2. Sizing Mandrel 3. Jewellers Saw & Sawblades 4. Torch 5. Solder 6. Steel Tongs & Soldering Blocks 7. Wooden Mallet
8. File (I am using half round) 9. Polishing Materials 10. Renaissance Wax 11. Bench Peg
12. Salt, Water, White Vinegar
Step One: Sizing Your Wire - Begin with finding your ring size, this ring will actually be apart of my Russian Band Necklace so I will be sizing it a I. To find the length of wire you need wrap some string around your finger and then measure the length of the string. You can also use a ring sizer. Once you have your wire sized out wrap it around your mandrel, I use hobbycrafts sizing mandrel.
Step Two: Sawing your wire - Begin by sawing the excess wire off your ring, once you have sawed off the excess start moving your wire so the two open ends meet. It is important at this point that there is no space between the open ends and that both are tightly connected as this is what will make a secure solder join. To make sure your connection is secure place the ring up to a light and if you see light coming through your join then that means you need to try again. TIP Using your saw, saw through where the two lines meet to get a more secure fit
Step Three: Soldering - This is where our secure connection comes into play as this is when we go from wire into a ring band. Using solder place a small amount around your connection, I personally use medium solder paste from Kernowcraft as I find it easier to use. Take your torch and run your flame around the band so the heat is evenly spread around the band and then focus on your connection until you see your solder flow. It should look as though it has melted and then quench your band in some water.
Step Four: Pickling - Pickling is where you take your ring which is now covered in dirt and fire scale and clean it. Picking is always important as if you need to resolder you have to have a clean surface as solder will not flow if there is any dirt. You can buy a pickle machine and solution but if you do not have these items place your ring in a bath of hot water, white vinegar and salt. Keep your ring in this bath until your ring becomes clean.
Step Five: Making a circle - Next take your steel mandrel and wooden mallet, place the ring on the mandrel and start to tap the ring with your mallet to form it into a circle, at this point you can go back to your sizing mandrel and make sure you have the correct size. If your ring is too small you can very carefully tap the ring down on the mandrel to stretch it a little but be careful not to do it too much or you may break you ring. The more you stretch your ring the weaker it becomes. If your ring is too big saw the connection and saw a little off, rechecking the size and then repeat the first few steps. Make sure to pickle between each solder.
Step Six: Filing - Taking your ring use a file to saw off any excess solder, make sure when your filing to go with the curve of the ring so you keep the shape. Once you have filed off the excess you can use a rubber burr with a pendant drill to get rid of any scratches. I like to use the medium rubber burr from cooksongold. If you do not have a drill you can use emery paper, going from the roughest grade to the softest.
Step Seven: Polishing - This is my favourite stage! I could spend hours polishing my pieces (and I do!) There is a few ways to polish, I usually use a leather mop and some luxi blue polishing compound and a leather pendant wheel. If you do not have a polisher or pendant drill you can use different polishing papers, I swear by the ones from Kernowcraft! If you don't want a high shine you can use a frosted pendant wheel which gives a gorgeous frosted texture on your ring or you can also use your different grades of emery paper to give it a matt finish.
Step Eight: Wax - Tada! You ring is just about finished! With all my pieces I like to give a little bit of extra protection from tarnishing. To protect my pieces I use Renaissance Wax from Kernowcraft. Using some kitchen roll cover your ring in a light layer of wax, you do not need a lot. Leave for a few minutes and then buff with your cloth!
I had an amazing time writing this post! Let me know what you thought of my tutorial and if you followed it make sure to send me a picture of you ring! Also if you would like see any other tutorials just let me know!