I'm looking for advice how to bend a 4 mm square sterling silver rod
into a ring shank?
I'm hammering the end of an annealed rod around an anvil to form a
circle about 17 mm ID. For this I use a plastic hammer.
Then I put a 17 mm bolt through the hole and fasten it in a vise and
then I draw the wire around the bolt to get a large spring.
Since the rod tend to twist I have to forge the shank flat.
To get a good seam I have remove a lot of material and therefore
it's a bit difficult to predict the final ring size.
Is there better ways to bend heavy dimensions in a controlled way
that does not mar the metal? I can't invest in machinery right now.
Thanks for any enlightenment,
Eva Nedergard, Atelje 54
You may find it easier to work a longer bar, bend it around a
central mandrel with a hammer and then cut the ends off leaving a
offset circle like a lock washer in appearance.
I hot bend bars of steel 2" square so bending 4mm sterling is
something you can do, but I prefer to work hot when possible. A
little heat and a mandrel may solve all your issues.
Are you able to place a bit longer stock between two round bars in a
vice? Search google for "bending jig" By applying force as if you
were prying the bars apart the silver will bend. no hammer needed.
Using longer stock allows you to get a circle and trim it to size.
Door County Forgeworks
Sturgeon Bay, WI
You can use bow benders or a dapping block as well, but usually just
anneal and bend it over mandrel. several different ways.
The Jewelry Cad Institute.
I first determine what length of thick metal I need for the ring. I
do this either by calculation or by using some soft metal (eg. lead
or soft aluminium) of the same or similar thickness, which I can bend
easily by hand.
When I've got the correct length of metal for the ring I first bend
it roughly to shape. At this point the ends are still straight; that,
of course, is the heart of the problem.
See the diagrams at
I then use a vice with soft (nylon?) jaws to squeeze the ends
together (diags 1 & 2). At this point the straight ends actually
touch, but they are not in-line, and when the jaw pressure is
released the ends spring apart a little.
I then rotate the ring so that both straight ends are against the
same vice jaw (diag 3), and squeeze until they actually touch when
the jaw pressure is released.
Steps 4 & 5 use the vice to bend the straight ends, one at a time,
to line them up.
After soldering the ends together the ring can be made round by
hammering on a triblet it with a mallet.
Regards, Gary Wooding
Richard's suggestions beat me to it! Theres another way to do this as
google for fence wire twisting tool. theres a u tube demo of a
simple bit of bent metal when scaled up will do the same job.
Ive had to do something similar, 1/2in dia copper rod made into a
circle with a 1in int dia hole.
Bent it hot.
I know you said that you dont have money for tools but I love this
I haven't had to much of a problem with denting the material, you
could always put a piece of scrap around the metal you want bent to
buffer any marks that may be left behind.
Christine, What gauge metal will it bend? I have some 14 gauge
sterling what I want to use for rings. Will the ring bender you have
handle 14Gauge? Alma
It sure will. I usually bend 14k nickle white gold and 950 palladium
that measures 4mm by 1.5 but I've used it to bend much larger pieces
like 10k white gold that measures 3mm thick by 8mm wide...
The trick is the drum is 11mm wide so you have to do a bit of back
and forth with bending the sides on really wide stock. If marring is
an issue tape your stock first or put some scrap around it.
I love this tool. Its really cut down on ring production time for
Have a great weekend!
You might try a ' dead blow ' hammer. They have a plastic coating
which should protect the metal. Lots heavier than a plastic mallet
for moving heavy metal.
A little heat and a mandrel may solve all your issues.
No it will destroy your sterling. Sterling must be worked cold.
4 mm thick is very thick for a ring band. Metal benders will likely
break at that metal thickness.
Anneal well and quench hot into pickle.
I assume you do not have a swage block.
I am a Silversmith, we use hammers.
To bend heavy ring shanks, I have a 5 foot long piece of 5" by 2"
piece of hardwood with holes for my mandrels.
I put this in a vice so the end of the wood sits on the floor.
You may have a hole in your bench for this.
Hammer the metal around the mandrel till it is circular. A plastic
hammer will do.
Take ring off mandrel, hammer till it makes a D shape with the ends
on the straight side of the D.
The ends should meet tightly, cut through with a no 4 saw blade.
Solder, quench hot in pickle etc.
Back on the mandrel, hammer till round.
Need more details email me offline.
I don't even bother to wrap a strip around the shank. Yes, a very
nice person sent me a ring mandrel, and its reduced the amount of
time to make a ring to size from days to hours. I charcoal cast a
thick donut about 2-4 sizes below what I'm aiming for, regularize the
hole with increasingly larger dapping rods, and then use the mandrel
to get the right size while at least attempting to get the thickness
uniform. But YMMV, and I make fine silver rings.
Hi Andrew that is a lot of work.
Buy fine silver stock gauge for you needs, at approx a $1.30 a gram
it is inexpensive.
Anneal properly and it will bend with ease. Be careful as even a
leather mallet can mar it.
This will allow you to cut your making time down to 15 mins to half
However, from what I have seen you enjoy working from scratch.
But as I have posted you before your work will sell and you will not
have the time to
go the long way round.
Keep at it Andrew you are doing well.