Thursday, November 22, 2012

Step by step - Russian wedding rings.

Hello friends,

I have had a few people ask how to go about making one of these rings. I am certainly no expert at making them... with only two of them under my belt so to speak, it may seem a little presumptive of me to write a "tutorial!" I learnt these steps while doing a beginners jewellery making class at NMIT, (Australia)
Let's just call it a step by step!
There are also a lot of instructions to be found on the internet and some very good U-tube videos for making single rings too if you wish to see the hands on 'live' approach.

1. Work out your finger size... and go FIVE sizes larger. There are different approaches to sizing Russian wedding rings...  The five sizes larger formula is what we did in class and this ring was a perfect fit.Yay! The sizes we used came from Tim McCreight's book, The Complete Metalsmith  ( I noticed the spiral bound version is on special and free delivery.. might have to buy myself a Christmas present!)
Allow a few extra mm's for any filing of ends.

2. Cut three equal lengths of wire. ( My first ring was made from 3mm wide x 1.3mm thick half round, soft wire) Make sure the ends are filed smooth and square.

3. Shape roughly in to a D- shape, make the ends meet on the straight run. The ends need to be a perfect join with no gap. Cut through the join with your jewelers saw until the ends are meeting with no space in-between. ( Hold it up to the light to check) You may need to do this more than once. Solder all three rings. Flux inside and outside the ring prior to soldering. Quench, pickle and rinse after soldering. Smooth away any excess solder with a file making sure you file in one direction only.

4. Shape rings back to round on a steel ring mandrel using a nylon or leather mallet. Chamfer the edges with a file. ( this allows the rings to 'roll' smoothly when worn on the finger). Smooth the edges you have just chamfered and also the inside of the ring, using grits of sandpaper from 400 to 1500, starting with 400 and working upwards to the finer grade. Then do the same to the outside of the ring.

5. Lightly anneal TWO of your rings... the old soldering line will be exposed as a dark line. Cut through this line carefully with your saw.

6. Attach the cut ring to the third ring ( which was not annealed or cut) Make sure the join is nice and tight fitting with no gap. Flux both rings inside and outside and solder the cut join. (cool, pickle and rinse)

7. Clean up this ring that has just been soldered... remove any excess solder, file and sand as required for a smooth finish. ( finish inside first, then outside) Put the second cut ring through BOTH (soldered) rings.

8. Flux all  three rings inside and out, solder this last one and clean up as before. Pickle, rinse and then tumble polish.

Here is a conversion chart for ring sizes if you need one. It would be so much easier if ring sizes were a little more uniform.. it seems that even the charts vary a little in their measurements!

Cheers for now,

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