For jewellery craft makers interesting in making finger rings, store-bought, manufactured ring blanks can be disappointing, difficult to find and impractical due to size considerations. For this reason, many jewellery makers seek ways to make their own metal ring blanks, which are ready for customisation with stones or other chosen decorations. If you want to go this route, familiarise yourself with the different tools involved in ring making and the ways in which they're used.
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Regardless of the type of material you decide to use in making your ring blanks, you will need to use two important sizing and shaping tools: a ring sizer and a ring mandrel. A ring sizer is an adjustable plastic measuring ring that fits around a finger and is marked with size numbers, telling you which ring size fits the finger. A ring mandrel is a conical piece of wood whose shape encompasses every ring size. Use these tools together to find a ring size, mark it on the mandrel, then use the marked mandrel to shape metal, wire or clay into the appropriate ring size.
Sheet Metal Tools
Some of the simplest thin bands are made of only sheet jewellery metal and a silver jewellery solder. Jewellery sheet metals are sold by jewellery suppliers and you can use them to make basic bands, signet bands or rings with full cabochon settings, which are settings with short walls. You will also need a soldering iron, solder, ring-shaping tools, metal snips or metal cutting bits, an oscillating power tool and metal files.
Metal Clay Tools
New metal clay products let crafters who are more comfortable with clay shaping make rings from scratch using the same techniques. After you shape and dry a ring made from air-dry metal clay, you can fire it into real metal using a butane torch or small kiln. During the firing process, the organic binding materials in the clay burn away while the tiny particles of metal are fused into the shape of whatever kind of ring blank you want to make. For this, you will need metal clay, clay shaping tools, a torch and firing brick or small kiln, a stiff metal brush and a burnishing tool for polishing.
Make finger rings from scratch using thick wire, twisting three or more strands into a band and incorporating a wrapped stone, bead or cabochon at the centre top with a curly design. For this kind of art, you'll not only need wire and stones, but a good set of jewellery pliers, including wire snips, different sizes of needle-nosed pliers, and some round-nosed pliers.
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