ID'ing old jewelers equipment


Can anyone help me identify an old piece of jewelers equipment ? I
was told it was a ring expander but Im not sure.

It is a bench mounted piece, with a heavy handle spinning a stepped
round mandrel in an eccentric orbit onto different die blocks that
are similarly stepped and clamp under the rotating head. One die
block has flat faces across the steps, the other has half- round
faces. The steps in the mandrel go from half inch to maybe an inch in

Thanks for any help !
Colin Barclay

It’s a ring compressor…you can use it to slightly size down flat
or round bands by placing them in one of the slots and carefully
applying pressure.


It’s a ring bender. I use mine all the time!

Great tool.
Andy Cooperman

It sounds like you are describing a ring expander/compressor. A good
(and common) company name is ‘Kagan’. Try an internet search for
kagan and ring and click in some of the links. Perhaps you may find
an image there of what you have.

Allen Howells

Here’s your tool:

It’s not for sizing, it’s for bending shanks and other heavy
wire/stock. When it’s mounted on a bench, it’s very stout, and very
useful. I use mine constantly…


Sounds like a ring “bender” to me… not a sizer.

It’s used to bend ring stock into a circle and form a ring. You
stick one end of your strip under the mandrel and then bring the
mandrel down to the block. You keep moving your strip forward and
doing this - a small section at a time, until you’ve formed the
circle. The lever handle multiplies the force of your hand, and makes
bending thick strips relatively easy.

The blocks that you do the bending into, need to be covered in tape
or thin leather to keep from marring the stock. I’ve rarely bothered
to use the block for half round - using the flat one and simply
putting thicker leather under the stock.

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
Stockton, CA USA

sounds like a piece of kit for sizing wedding bands, I’ve got one
pre 1944!



1/2" to 1" id isdefinitely Ring Sizer. or is it a ring Former. If you
have an image and email this to me I could let you know for sure.
Plus does it have any markings


Kenneth Singh
46 Jewelry Supply
New York, NY 10036

Hello Colin,

Judging from your well-worded description, you have a ring bender.

Dan Woodard


I just purchased a ring bender a few months ago and now use it all
of the time. However, there is a learning curve. It didn’t come with
instructions, so I’m wingin’ it. Have filed the edges slightly and
sanded/polished. Still getting small dents from the cranking of the
handle. Have applied little pieces of first aid tape (which I love on
my pliers from time to time) on the edges, but still divets that need
to be filed/sanded appear on the stock. Maybe I haven’t filed/sanded
enough. Don’t want to reach a point of no return!

I saw the potential of this tool immediately. Hours saved in bending
heavy wires for rings.

Any suggestions, Andy and everyone else?
Kay Taylor

I’m not sure that there’s any way not to get marks on stock from the
ring bending machine. It’s not intended to put out “finished” work.
You can minimize it some by starting on the bigger cams, and then
make the ring smaller by just nudging it on the smaller ones. You
probably know by now to start one end first, and then go back and do
the circle from the other end. It’s almost impossible to get a real
circle just starting from one end…


The bender comes with two dies-- one is 1/2 round or low domed and
one is flat. I change them in accordance to what it is I’m bending.
It won’t fit exactly, but getting close helps a bunch. I know of
people who have cast their own dies in bronze to reduce scarring or
even to more closely approximate a particular ring contour that they
make a lot. Carving and casting these dies would be fairly simple.
(The problem w/ bronze dies is that they, themselves, get dinged

Other than that, I sometimes put a matchbook or old show card in
between the die and the ring-- as I do when using ring bending or
hollow chop pliers. “Tuff Skin” sheets would also work.

There is a perception, I think, that some jewelers have that highly
polished tools such as bezel and prong pushers shouldn’t leave marks
on shanks, heads, settings, etc. I just figure that bending heavy
stock or forcing over bezels and prongs is going to leave marks…
Removing them is part of the process. Of course, the fewer marks that
you put in the less you have to remove. And textured shanks present
problems. Still, the best bet that I’ve found is to select the die
that most closely conforms to the cross section or contour of your
shank and then cushion the die with a match book or show card.

Take care and hope that helps,