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Ring Guard Jig

I recently had to do half-shanks on a ring guard. The guard was a
two-ring type, (with channel set baguettes) with three connecting
bars. (A diamond solitaire fit down into it.)

I removed the connecting bars first, then did the half-shanks. I
had a very rough time aligning the guard straight, tapered, and
spaced apart properly to resolder the connecting bars back on. There
must be easier ways to do it than what I did. For my next time, any
suggestions for holding the guard in place for soldering?

(By the way, I lost three baguettes in the cleaning process, two in
my ultrasonic and one by my steamer-which I have not found yet!) Thank
You in advance.

Dale Pavatte
Diamonds For You
Decherd, Tennessee

Dale the way I usually do it, is to wire the 3 rings together then
using hard solder tack all the bars in place ,remove solitaire then
finnish soldering from the inside with med or easy solder.If you end
up with to much gap between guard ,carefully squeezethe ends of bars
in a smooth jawed vise. Hope this helps. Blessings Jeff Ellis Ellis

Dave; here is a little unsolicited advise about soldering on jewelry
with diamonds. When you heat the piece to flow the solder the flux
expands with the heat often loosening stones that may or may not have
been loosened before you started. Always check the stones for
movement before you start to steam or ultrasonic. I usually place the
piece in a closed strainer and ultrasonic it before I ever work on
it. I then check the settings befroe I torch it and then after it
comes out of the pickle and before I polish… as for fitting ring
guards. coat the edges of the center ring with white out. Fit the
guards in place and use binding wire to hold them. Now solder the
spacer bars in place. You can solder one side of the bars before the
fitting and binding so you only have one solder joint to deal with
after binding… leaves a perfect fit. Frank Goss

Dale, I would have soldered the reshanks with hard solder first.
After the reshanks were done and clean I would solder each bar on one
ring first. Bam, one solder ,two solder, three solder using medium
solder. Now you have one ring with three bars soldered to it. Put
this ring in a third hand. Flip it so the bars are facing down. Lay
the other ring on your soldering pad. Line the ring in the third hand
so it is hovering over the ring on the pad. Line the three bars where
you want them to be on the ring that is on the pad. Solder each bar
to the ring on the pad using easy solder. If at all possible get your
customer to solder all three rings together as one unit. From the
customers standpoint they don’t wear on each other from constant
movement. From the jewelers stand point it is easier to redshank all
three rings soldered together.

Regards J Morley Coyote Ridge Studio

   Dave; here is a little unsolicited advise about soldering on
jewelry with diamonds. When you heat the piece to flow the solder
the flux expands with the heat often loosening stones that may or
may not have been loosened before you started. 

Um. Frank? The flux at this point is a thick liquid. It’s not
putting pressure on anything at all. It’s just freely flowing
anywhere it can. The diamonds themselves expand a bit, but the metal
itself expands more. This means that while the metal is hot, the
diamonds are a loose fit in the expanded metal. If they shift during
that time, then when the metal cools and contracts, the diamonds may
not be in quite the same position, leaving the diamonds to then
distort the metal, which can result in an unsound setting (or a
broken stone). Or the diamonds, while loose due to the hot metal, may
simply shift enough so that they’re not held, and as the metal cools
again, it may not reorient the stones. In some cases, the diamonds
might actually float a bit on the flux, thus lifting them out of
position while the flux is liquid and flowing, and perhaps also
keeping it out of position as the piece cools and the then more solid
flux remains between the stones and the metal, but that’s not the
same as flux expansion causing problems. And finally, often in
setting work, the metal is work hardened, which helps the stones
remain tight. Heating anneals the gold, so that any springiness
which might have helped hold the stones in place is then gone, so
again, then the stones may not be tight after things cool.


        I recently had to do half-shanks on a ring guard . . . . .
. . .For my next time, any suggestions for holding the guard in
place for soldering? Dale Pavatte 

Hi Dale; First of all, before you do any work, clean the ring
thoroughly in the ultrasonic. If you suspect stones might come out,
clean it in a plastic strainer rather than hanging it in the sonic on
a rack. Then tighten stones, rebuild prongs, whatever needed to
secure the stones. I know how difficult the alignment of the guard
ring can be. Here’s how I handle that situation:

  1. separate the rings by removing the crossbars, then replace the
    half shanks.

  2. line up one side with the ring that is to go in the center and
    glue it with a couple little tacks of super glue.

  3. line up the other side of the guard and glue that to the center
    ring too.

  4. dip in boric acid/alcohol mixture and let dry.

  5. get a metal bottle cap and fill it with fine sand (borrow some
    from the bead blaster).

  6. mix water to form a slushy mud from the sand and bury the 3 rings
    (now glue together) about 1/3rd in the sand.

  7. touch a kleenex tissue to the sand repeatedly which will wick off
    the water and cause the sand to set up around the rings.

  8. carefully paint the center ring with yellow ochre or typewriter
    correction fluid (white-out).

  9. melt a small pallion of solder where one end of one of the new
    crossbars will be going on, then bring in the new crossbar with
    tweezers and solder it on the ring where the solder is.

  10. place a pallion of solder on the other end of the new crossbar
    and solder that end.

  11. at this point, you can remove the rings from the sand and take
    out the center ring or leave them where they are and solder on the
    other crossbar.

  12. finish and polish.

David L. Huffman

Peter certainly the things you mentioned are factors as well. I was
talking about the expansion of the flux when going from a solid
suspended in a liquid to a dry solid that expands and begins to
bubble as it reaches a liquid state from the heat of the torch.Thanks
for the addendum. Frank

HI Dale, Crazy Glue and Heat Shield Compound (USE GOOD
VENTILATION!!!) Works like a charm! Cut and file all your pieces.
Crazy glue them together so they look right. (If something is
misaligned, break it apart, refile, reglue). Pack just enough heat
shield compound to support everything that needs supporting. (I
usually pack the compound on the outside of a ring like this). Remove
any excess heat shield compound- too much gets in the way of the
torch and is a heatsink (I use a dental pick for this). Flux and
solder. The glue burns out clean, the flux flows into the seam. I
usually heat the piece to almost soldering temperature, then place my
solder pallions while continually heating. Pickle as usual. The heat
shield compound dissolves in water. For more info check these from
the archives: HTH, Kate
Wolf in Portland, Maine- check out our Workshops…