How to resize stainless steel rings

Written by daniel wallace
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How to resize stainless steel rings
Stainless steel is hard. (stainless steel image by Tom Oliveira from Fotolia.com)

Stainless steel is not nearly as malleable as traditional jewellery metals. Gold and silver are fairly easy to resize, while stainless steel and titanium are far more difficult. Most shops won't resize stainless steel rings, but there are things you can do to make the ring fit better. However, your best option is to order a new ring.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Round file.
  • Sandpaper, 200 grit or above
  • Rags
  • Small torch
  • Safety glasses
  • Pliers
  • Small hammer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Hold the ring in one hand, the file in the other.

  2. 2

    Push the file through, following the circle with each stroke. This will be a natural movement.

  3. 3

    Don't apply pressure in pulling the file back; this will damage the file. Keep filing around the inside of the ring.

  4. 4

    Wipe clean with a rag regularly. Stainless steel shavings are "gummy" and can clog the file teeth. Check the fit. This process may not take as long as you thing, and you do not want to oversized the ring.

  5. 5

    File the ridges with sandpaper once the fit is very close. You will not get a high polish without a professional polishing wheel and this should be done by a trained craftsman. However, the inside only needs to be smooth enough to be comfortable.

  6. 6

    Use a rag and rinse thoroughly to ensure all the shavings are removed.

  1. 1

    Insert something inside the ring to make the fit smaller. Traditionally, jewellers cut a small piece from the bottom of a ring and close it up to make it smaller. This cannot be done with a stainless steel ring, so you must place a thin silver ring or tape inside it.

  2. 2

    Line the inside of the ring with medical tape for a simple solution. The tape will need to be removed and replaced periodically. Acetone does a good job of removing old tape residue.

  3. 3

    Have a metalsmith make a simple silver ring that is just larger than the inside of your stainless ring for a longer-lasting solution. Silver won't react with stainless and will be barely noticeable. This should cost no more than £13.

  4. 4

    Heat the stainless ring with a torch on a flat surface, using all safety precautions. This will cause the ring to expand.

  5. 5

    Place the silver ring inside with a pair of pliers. You may need to tap it in with a small hammer. Let the ring cool and go through the steps in the first section to size the inside to fit.

Tips and warnings

  • You also may be able to freeze the silver ring rather than heating the steel one.
  • Be very careful when using a torch. If you are unsure, have the fitting done by a trained metalsmith.
  • Make sure to safely dispose of all the steel shavings. They are small and sharp, and are potential hazards to children and pets.

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