Sunday, 14 February 2010

Something Creative to Show!

Well, I haven't been sewing so I haven't been blogging but this was fun! I took a 16 hr weekend workshop with Craig Winton and made myself a ring.You can see more of Craig's work here.

There are a number of processes to making a ring like this.
Choose your stone bearing in mind that larger is easier.
The Shank:
You need to determine the size of the ring, cut the silver shank to length using a little fret saw (it was already shaped thankfully), roughly shape it to bring the cut ends together. File the ends to make a nice tight join, solder the join using a blow torch, borax flux and 'hard' solder. Wash it. Pickle it. Wash it. File it, sand it. Shape it on a mandril with a leather mallet. Shape it on an anvil. Sand it again with the aim of hiding the join completely. File a flat piece for the stone to sit on. Put the shank aside and make the setting.
The Setting:
Measure the circumference of the stone. I chose a relatively small stone which made it harder to work with but it was circular which made it easier than some of the irregular shaped stones others chose. Measure the height of the stone to determine the height of the setting. Cut a piece of silver sheet to length and width. Shape it as well as you can to your stone's shape. Solder the join ('hard' solder). Wash, pickle, wash, file, sand.... You have now made the setting wall. Roughly cut a piece of sheet for the base of the setting. Solder the setting wall to the base ('hard' solder). Wash, pickle, wash. Cut the base close to the wall. File to exact fit. File, file, sand, sand, sand until you can't see the joins.
The Ring:
Solder setting to the ring shank on the flat area you filed on the shank (using 'easy' solder this time!) Wash, pickle, wash, file, then sand with 3 grades of sandpaper making it perfect, no visible joins, no visible nicks, no visible dents which will show as darker areas in the silver. Set the stone in the setting. Using a small wooden pusher, push the silver wall of the setting evenly over the stone. Using a small metal tool, gently tap the silver down evenly so there is no gap between the stone and the silver. Stamp the shank with a sterling silver mark. Polish the ring with two grades of polish on Craig's electric motor polisher.
All done!
Wear with pride!