Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Rings, bend them round


#1

Hi,

I’ve been trying to make a couple rings, trying to bend them round by
hand rather than using the ring bender, because it gives me stress.
How do I get the 2 ring butts to meet so that I can solder it?

Gian.


#2

Hi Gian,

Why do it by hand? I’d have thought the ring bender would make life
easier. (that’s what it’s supposed to do anyway…)

Meanwhile, bend the rings so that they’re a “D” shape, with the seam
meeting head-to-head along the straight section. Once they’re
soldered, mandrel them out so they’re round.

Regards,
Brian.


#3

I make rings by pouring metal into a book-type ingot mold with one
side turned around (so I get a half-round shape.) I bend them as far
as i can over a ring mandrel, then use a rawhide mallet to bend them
the rest of the way.

Noman


#4
I've been trying to make a couple rings, trying to bend them round
by hand rather than using the ring bender, because it gives me
stress. How do I get the 2 ring butts to meet so that I can solder
it? 

If it’s a simple band, flatten the butt-ends a bit with nylon jaw
pliers (both in the jaws at the same time so they’re almost lined up
after squishing), solder or fuse the ends together, anneal, then
round it out on a mandrel with a weighted rawhide mallet. The
percussive therapy of smacking it round again is good for getting
rid of stress.

pm


#5
I've been trying to make a couple rings, trying to bend them round
by hand rather than using the ring bender, because it gives me
stress. How do I get the 2 ring butts to meet so that I can solder
it? 

I have recently released a DVD, here is the link

http://www.studioarete.com/eternityring.html

which extensively deals with the subject. I believe it is exactly
what you looking for.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#6

I bend all mine by hand; have done for 50 years.

I use half-round/half-flat pliers and first bend near the ends of the
straight metal to make a sort-of wide “U” shape. The ends are still
straight. I then make small bends between the first two so as to
start bringing the ends together. I make no attempt to bend the very
ends - I intentionally leave them straight so that, when they
eventually meet they meet in a straight line.

When the ends are roughly pointing towards each other, making a
sort-of flattened “C” shape, I squeeze it in a soft jawed vice to
bring the ends together. When the vice pressure is released, the
ends usually spring apart, leaving a small gap, so the next job is to
eliminate the gap. If the ends are in line, I move them a little so
they can overlap, then squeeze in the vice so they remain
overlapping when the pressure is removed. I then pull the ends apart
just enough so I can twist the ring to bring the ends in line.

Eventually the ends are in line and, because the ends are straight,
the joint is nice and straight and can be soldered. After soldering
I use a tapered mandrel to make the ring round.

I hope this helps.
Regards, Gary Wooding


#7

Leonid, i just watched your 10 minute demo. Thank you very much, it
is educational to watch. I appreciate your efforts.

Thanks,
Terrie


#8

For really heavy shanks it gets pretty darned hard to bend to a D and
then round off, (although I’m not disputing the D trick, I use it
often myself). You could try this…instead of cutting the free
length to exactly what you need to get your finger size, cut a
little bit longer and instead of a square end, angle the cut with the
top surface a tad longer than the inner surface (Your flat wire
should look like a trapezoid in profile). Now bend it as best you can
making a sort of pear shape. Not overly pear but round with a small
point at the join. Solder it. Grind out the solder on the inside.
Mallet that on a mandrel to round as much as it will go. It will
still have a small ‘air gap’ between the mandrel and the join. Now
cut thru the shank on both side of the join. Cut enough so that you
remove the ‘air gap’ and rwavh your finger size. I couldn’t tell you
how much excess to leave in during step one, or how much to remove
for final sizing…that depends on gauge and so forth. But the
principle works well. OK you have to solder twice…big deal.

As far as the actual bending goes…most of us probably use a ring
mandrel, off hammer both ends first before tackling the center of the
bend. What you might find doing this is that the ends sometimes veer
off in opposite directions like a bypass ring. The trick to a
straighter bend (oxymoron?) is to not have the flatwire perpendicular
to the mandrel. Try a degree or three off with the leading end tipped
slightly toward the fatter end of the mandrel(jeez I hope I
remembered that correctly, maybe you should try first on scrap,
painkiller is kicking in and I’m getting a bit groggy).

There is an available ring bender plier that has a rather massive V
as one jaw and a sort of round nose as the other jaw…heavy duty.
May leave tool marks but its helpful on problem gauges.

HTH


#9

Must have missed the beginning of this thread.

I presume that these are heavy rings that you want to bend and
solder? Firstly I would never recommend the D method as the
soldering has too much stress placed on it and may split when you
round the ring. One of the first mistakes people make when making
heavy rings is trying to make a ring with the exact length of metal,
it may be economic, but it is much more time consuming.

You can do it with thinner rings, say, under 2.5mm, I would recommend
that you bend the ends round first to conform to the curve / finger
size you want with pliers and a mallet then then bend the rest of the
ring round.

Pause here while I explain how I make heavy rings, say, 5 or 6 mm
round or half round section. I will prepare about enough annealed
metal for two rings, I will flatten about 15mm to about 1/2 the wire
thickness and find a suitable piece of steel for a mandrill (not
tapered) just a bit smaller than the finger size. I have a vice
ready and a pair of vice grips. Put the flattened end of the wire at
right angles to the mandrill and grip both tightly in the vice with
the mandrill vertical and the wire at a slight angle to facilitate a
coil. Now grip the free end of the wire with the vicegrips and pull
the wire hard around the mandrill till you have a good overlap, or
start of a coil when you relax your grip.

Now size the coil up to the fingersize and cut vertically through
the two wires, Use a heavy saw blade, say, #2. I like to put the blade
in the saw with the teeth facing forward and cut on the push against
the bench pin. Tidy up any anomalies. Hopefully you will have a nicely
rounded spiral ring with two flat cut separated ends. Here I use a
plumbers multigrip pliers. These long handled, adjustable

jaw pliers are perfect for griping the ring and with the leverage of
the long handles give you a lot of control. Just one thing here before
you use them grind off the serrations or ridges and leave the jaws
slightly rough so that they will grip the metal but not seriously mark
the rings.

Depress one end slightly using the pliers gripping from the side
opposite the cut then depress the other end similarly. Then grip
across the ring pushing the ends just passed each other, now using
two pairs of parallel pliers carefully twist the two ends together as
perfectly as you can. This is where the multigrips are really are of
most use! Using a combination of grips from each side push the cut
till the ends meet then it may be necessary to grip and depress each
end slightly or more grip may be needed to depress the ends again.
Finally before soldering use the parallel pliers to align the ends
with a slight twisting movement, if necessary. Solder using hard or
enameling solder, file off any excess solder before using a mallet
to round off and flatten the ring.

jewellerydavidcruickshank.com.au


#10

Light gauge material isn’t nearly the problem as the heavy gauge
stuff (2-3mm), particularly in a smaller lady’s size. While the info
that I’m passing along is geared at working in the range of sizes
5.5-4.25, I’ve found that it works for larger sizes as well.

Using the standard ring formula for determining the stock length has
worked well enough for me because it almost always guarantees the
finished ring to be smaller than the desired size by the time the
ends are lined up and a tight solder fit is prepared. You may find
that some adjustment to the formula can be made to get you closer to
your target size. (It is easy to size back up a tad on the mandrel
once the ring is soldered.)

A steel ring mandrel and a delrin hammer make pretty short work of
forming the stock into the circular shape. For the heavy gauge
material the gap between the ends is usually too wide and too
v-shaped to make even by the passing of a coarse saw blade between
them. For this situation a thin metal nail file works both sides of
the gap at the same time and creates parallel surfaces. Squeezing the
ends together by clamping in a ring clamp once the nail file is
inserted can speed the process. Pull the nail file rather than trying
to push. Un-clamp, reinsert the file and repeat if necessary.

For small, heavy gauge rings getting the gap to completely close is
pretty difficult by the overlap, squeeze and realign process. The
metal is pretty tough to adjust by hand. I found that a final
annealing and a few hammer taps will get things pretty close. To
assure a tightly closed gap, I made a special soldering tweezer out
of a titanium bike spoke that will squeeze the sides of the ring
with slight pressure during soldering. Results have been good thus
far with tight joins.

J Collier
Metalsmith
http://jlcollier.com


#11

One of the best tools I have purchased is a Swiss Bending Plyiers. I
got mine from Stuller, it is # 46-9006 on page 345 of the Stuller
tools catalog.

A little bit spendy but worth every penny. My hands are small and
not very strong and I was having a terrible time bending ring shanks
and the heavy stock for bracelets. This makes an easy job of it. Rio
has one also, actually two models, page 51 in their catalog. The "A"
model looks more like what I have.

Hope this helps.
Jan
www.designjewel.com


#12
There is an available ring bender plier that has a rather massive
V as one jaw and a sort of round nose as the other jaw...heavy
duty. May leave tool marks but its helpful on problem gauges. 

I found some very thin copper flashing used in the roofing industry;
it has an asphalt backing that can be peeled away (if it’s old). I
use the thin copper to form jaw protectors for the lower jaw of my
ring bender. Keeps it from biting the rings.

best regards,
Kelley Dragon


#13

I bend heavy ring blanks by using a vice with copper jaw liners, the
ring mandrel, and a heavy hammer. The blank may be a forged bar
6x4mm or more in the middle tapering to 3x2mm or more at the ends.
The blank will be 0.5 to 1.0 mm oversize in cross section.

Grip the blank together with the mandrel in the vice so that they
are both gripped together with the blank pointing vertical, and the
mandrel horizontal. Bash the blank as far as it will fold over the
mandrel. Rotate the blank around the mandrel and bash some more.
Soon it will be a 'U shape. Now pinch the ‘U’ in the vice with the
mandrel inside, and pound the ends of the blank so that the ends
pass each other sideways.

Assuming you used the part of the mandrel that is about two sizes
too small, saw through the overlapping ends, bash them into
alignment (hammer and vice), and solder/fuze them together.

Heavy pounding on the mandrel will get it all perfectly round and
hopefully not over-size in diameter. If soldered it may well break
at the join. No worries…it may need to be cut to a smaller size
anyway, solder it again while annealing all, and remember…it can
be pinched closed and aligned while red hot with a pair of strong
tweezers. Re-solder/weld and pound to the correct size. This may be
needed even if the join does not break.

Now I have a ring blank of the correct finger size, ready for
profiling, carving, and stone seating. All the above is done within
one hour from pouring an ingot, to a ring blank of the correct size,
and with enough meat to carve out the final proportions and details.

If I stamp my maker’s mark and carat value deep into the blank
before the bending and pounding, these will become compressed and
appear even smaller and more integral with the final product.

If stones must be flush/hammer set, have collets, then carving out a
ring blank is often quicker than assembling from multiple
components, and it will have more integrity.

Alastair


#14

As far as bending heavy ring stock, I try to stay away from any type
of pliers in the bending process, and only resort to a
half-round/flat pliers (with a plastic hose section fitted over the
flat plier face) to align the ends before soldering.

One of my favorite tools for bending heavy ring stock is a hardwood
block with cylindrical-shaped grooves in its top.

With this wood forming block, a ring mandril, and a heavy rawhide
mallet, I can mallet the mandril onto the heavy stock, forcing it
round in the hardwood block, without a chance of marking the surface
of the ring stock, as pliers can. Once the stock has gone round
enough, I mallet the two ends downward ( on a wood surface, not
metal) until they come together. If they are misaligned, I’ll use a
pair of wooden ring clamps to align the ends, and my half-round/flat
pliers to twist either end which might be slightly twisted. My final
fit before soldering involves sawing through the gap carefully,
which will mate the two ends together better than filing. If there is
still a small gap, then tapping either side straight down will bring
the ends closer together. (Tapping both ends together will drive them
apart) If both ends have perfect alignment, I’m a happy guy and can
solder them together. I don’t worry at all about roundness, as I can
mallet the soldered band round after it’s soldered.

I’m a huge fan of wooden forming blocks and wooden ring clamps. They
save a lot of effort in the cleanup…

Jay Whaley
www.whaleyworkshops.com


#15

Hi Kelley,

I found some very thin copper flashing used in the roofing
industry; it has an asphalt backing that can be peeled away (if
it's old). I use the thin copper to form jaw protectors for the
lower jaw of my ring bender. Keeps it from biting the rings. 

In many hardware stores you can find plain copper sheet,no need to
look for the stuff with asphalt backing.

If push comes to shove, you can get a piece of 12, 10 or larger
gauge copper wire from the same hardware store. Lay it on an anvil or
other sturdy metal item & wack it with a hammer. If you’ve got a
rolling mill, flatten it in the mill.

Dave


#16

Hey Dave, you are right. I’ve bought copper from many sources. I
didn’t look for the stuff with the asphalt backing, I inherited it
from a family member. Since I use what I have, I gave this stuff a
try. Once the backing was off, it worked well on the ring bending
pliers.

I’ve also used it to pseudo-emboss a price tag to attach to a retail
item. Sometimes people looked at the jewelry just because the tag
was pretty.

Kelley


#17

Like Jay, I too like to stay away from using pliers in the bending
process. And I also use a wooden block.

I had a big swage block made from some Australian jarra years ago,
and devised my way of making heavy gauge sterling or tough 9 karat
strips round up for a ring. I mallet the mandrel and force the metal
down into the one of the grooves, doing the ends first. It’s a trick
I thought I was the only one doing, but of course as the years went
by I guessed that someone else will be doing it. Jay Whaley sounds
like my kinda jeweller!

Malleting down on the sawn joint (on a flat wooden surface) is also
important to get the ends meeting well.

For my wooden block I find that a reasonably tough wood is fine, even
pine at a pinch. Take a chunk of 3"x4" about 6" long, drill with wood
bits through the whole piece all along one edge. I like to do several
different sized holes, ranging from 15mm to 28mm.

Saw the block in half and give one half to a friend.

Cheers

Brian
www.adam.co.nz


#18

Hi Brian

For my wooden block I find that a reasonably tough wood is fine, even
pine at a pinch. Take a chunk of 3"x4" about 6" long, drill with wood
bits through the whole piece all along one edge. I like to do several
different sized holes, ranging from 15mm to 28mm.