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The Work Room is the Creative Journal of Wendy Sue where she shares her creative journey in all things handmade. The Work Room also offers an alternative to your typical jewelry making workshops. Scroll down to the end of the page to see how you can learn to make your unique piece of artisan jewelry online.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Beginner's Silversmithing : Part V - I soldered my first ring!

I soldered my first ring! Yay! :D Some might think the band is a bit thin but I was thinking of a dainty design for this ring and hence the thinner band.

It was made from the square wire I made earlier on. If you think about it, most rings are made from half round wire, where the rounded side is the outside of the ring whereas the flat side the inside of the ring.

It never crosses my mind that rings were actually made from thicker wires, which is why I've always wondered what do people do with half round wires but after this, I know they are used mostly for ring bands!

It wasn't particularly difficult.

First, measure your ring size with a ring sizer.

Then, measure on the mandrel, the length of wire you will need.

Cut out the required length.

See that cone thing on the top right? That's the borax cone! A type of flux.

File off the edge to smoothen the corners of the square wire.

The square wires that we made earlier on will no doubt be a bit unpolished, so you'll need to polish it up a little. You can, of course just buy the ready made ones and even skip this step!

Then, knock the piece of wire with a raw hide hammer on the mandrel to shape it into a ring.

At this point, you need no worry about the size of the mandrel because the predetermined length of wire will end you with the right ring size irrespective of the size of the mandrel that you knock your ring into shape with. Get what I mean?

Erm, another way of explaining it would be perhaps.... a definitive circle size comes with a definitive perimeter? And the perimeter here is the predetermined length of wire that we have already cut out.

This is how the ring looks like after being shaped.

The next thing to do is to close the gap. That's where soldering comes in which is basically just to put some solder on the gap and then fire with a torch to melt the solder.

Okay, just imagine this. You have a closed jump ring. Even it's closed, there's still some kind of gap and let's face it, a soldered jump ring is no doubt a much stronger connection that a merely closed one.

So, imagine the solder as some kind of heat activated glue. I say it's heat activated glue cuz you can't solder without fire. :P

Of course the gap of the ring above was closed much nearer before it was being soldered.

Solder, if you ever come across, comes in strip and paste form. The strip form I was told is used for much stronger connections like a ring band and the paste for say, jump rings. You do not need to use a lot, just a bit will do. Solder is actually a form of alloy, so you need to be careful not to overuse it in case in might affect the silver content in your piece. (I think!)

Because of the alloy content, you will be expecting some firescale. But not to worry, just drop the ring into a "pickle pot".

Well, nothing scientific here. A "pickle pot" is just a pot containing pickle to clean the firescale. A pickle is normally an acidic solution and is a must for soldering work in jewellery making.

This is how the end product looks like.

Sorry for the overexposed picture! I forgotten to change the settings on my camera! :(

I'm not sure if you can see it clearly but anyway, I've marked in red for you the spot where it was soldered.

The ring was not polished because we ran out of time, which is also one of my dissatisfaction of this class which I was also quite unhappy about. I'll tell you in detail in the next post.

This ring however, is not in my possession anymore now.

When I showed it to mum upon my return, mum told me that she liked it. And since her birthday was just around the corner at that time, I gave it to her as a birthday present!

Well, I already know how to make it and I guess I could make myself another one later on. Although it meant a lot being the first ring I soldered but then I'm at ease knowing that it's in the safekeeping of mum. :)

Mum has been wearing it 24/7 for more than 2 months now. And I guess, the ring kinda polish itself through the ordinary wear. LOL..... XD

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2 hollers:

corra said...

how I wish to go for a class like this actually, thank you so much for sharing the info. Happy new year to you dear Wendy!

Wendy Sue said...

You're welcome! And Happy New Year to you too! =)

I think Steve might be offering silversmithing classes in the near future though.....

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