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Size up a 14k cast ring on a mandrel?


#1

Hi all,

a friend of mine has a 14K rose gold ring with a huge aquamarine
that she’d had taken out to reset in another ring because she’d
outgrown the original. Those darn rings are always shrinking! :wink: But
now she’s decided she wants the aquamarine back in the original ring
(I think it was from her mother), but hasn’t had time to take it to
a jeweler. I looked at it and said I could easily set the stone back
in and I’d do it as a favor. She’s helped me out a great deal in the
past, including helping me sell my work. Looking at the ring, it has
the typical commercial cast look where the outside is polished
decently (but with some scratches I want to buff out), but the
inside of the setting looks horrible, so I want to clean that up for
her. And I know that she can’t wear it now because it’s about a size
too small, so I want to see if I can enlarge it to fit her on my
ring mandrel. I don’t want to cut it up and torch it or buy more
equipment for it. I easily make my rings a size larger on my mandrel
all the time, but I either work in sterling or 18K, and it’s always
fabricated from wire or sheet. And no thinner than 14G. This ring is
cast, and it is around 18G flat at the thinnest point, width 2.3mm.
The ring shank gets gradually a little thicker and wider towards the
top and opens up to have a very large emerald basket setting for the
aquamarine. My rings that have been easily stretching have a shank
that is a continuous piece that I solder a setting and decorations
to. And I don’t think I can anneal the ring because there are three
1.5mm stones on either side of the setting that are supposed to be
pink sapphires, but who really knows? They could be glass-filled
God-knows-what for all I know. The owner really wouldn’t know
either. Is this something that I could attempt to do? And yes, I
will discuss it with the owner about any risks before I attempt it.
I would really appreciate any advice on this. Thanks!


#2

A risky job. But maybe a ring stretcher would be a good choice.

Like this one: http://www.ganoksin.com/frp/ringstretcher.jpg


#3

I would use a product I bought 20 years ago. third hand was the
name. it isa semi clay like substance that is very wet and takes heat
very well. Whenused you simply throw it back into the container with
some water and it is reusable. It keeps the heat from transferring
from where you are soldering to the surrounding areas. Ie stones etc.
While also supporting the piece. works well with deox silvers. holds
without creating stress on the metals. Sono crumbling or cracking. I
once resized Leal Armstrong’s collage ring 2 sizes using this stuff.
Works great. I’m still using it today. Best $20.00 investment I ever
made…


#4

Laser welding a section is another choice.

If you don’t have a laser welder, send it out to someone who does.


#5

Laser welding a section is another choice. If you don’t have a laser
welder, send it out to someone who does.

This person is not paying me, so sending it out to someone else
(that I would have to pay) is not an option.

I would use a product I bought 20 years ago. third hand was the
name. it isa semi clay like substance that is very wet and takes
heat very well.

Do you have a name, or an equivalent product to this that I could
buy? This sounds like useful stuff. But basically, I can’t do
anything that would require me spending extra money for gold since
I’m not being paid. I’m still at the stage where I can only afford
to buy what I need for a project; I don’t have a lot of extra
materials saved up for making repairs since I’m fairly new to this.
And I definitely don’t have any rose gold 14K sizing stock or
solder. Heck, I don’t have any 14K anything. I’ve only got 18K
yellow. And I can’t afford to buy extra gold to make this repair.
That’s why I was asking if I could hammer it larger on a mandrel.
But I do thank you guys for any advice.

A tech at Rio Grande said maybe I could do it, but it might make it
a little thin. If I can figure how to post pictures of the ring (I
can’t believe that I still haven’t figured out how to post pictures
yet), I will.

Thanks again.


#6

Hello Eleanor,

I do have one comment regarding hammering the ring a size up. I
believe that you mentioned that there is a large basket setting for
the center stone. Without seeing the ring ‘in person’, this is just a
thought. If you are not very, very careful, there is a good chance
that the basket could be stretched. In that case, resetting the stone
becomes more difficult since the prongs might not fit properly.

In your case, I would use a roller type ring stretcher which
’mashes’ the back of the ring shank to enlarge the ring. The shank
becomes thinner and any markings might be obliterated. If you don’t
have one, well. is it possible that someone in your general area
would allow you to use hers/his.

Judy in Kansas, where it was a dark and stormy night with a lovely
rainfall.


#7

This project has red flags all over it.

There are lots of ways things can go wrong and even if you manage to
size it, the ring will be even weaker than it is now.

Sometimes the better part of valor is to retreat.

Even more so since you’re not getting paid.


#8
In your case, I would use a roller type ring stretcher which
'mashes' the back of the ring shank to enlarge the ring. The shank
becomes thinner and any markings might be obliterated. If you
don't have one, well. is it possible that someone in your general
area would allow you to use hers/his. 

I have one that I’ll sell her really cheap.

I used it once, many, many years ago and found it to be garbage and
MUCH more trouble than it’s worth.

I’d love to get rid of it but don’t feel good about pawning it off
on a new jeweler. They distort the ring terribly IF you can use it
correctly which I have to assume takes a LOT of practice to get
right (though I’ve watched videos on the correct usage of these
machine and even the seller demonstrating the machine says it
distorts the shank. I think it’s a good idea on paper but not in
practice.)

Anyway, if the OP is interested, write me offlist.

Paf Dvorak


#9
But basically, I can't do anything that would require me spending
extra money for gold since I'm not being paid. I'm still at the
stage where I can only afford to buy what I need for a project; I
don't have a lot of extra materials saved up for making repairs
since I'm fairly new to this. 
And I definitely don't have any rose gold 14K sizing stock or
solder. Heck, I don't have any 14K anything. I've only got 18K
yellow. And I can't afford to buy extra gold to make this repair. 
That's why I was asking if I could hammer it larger on a mandrel. 
But I do thank you guys for any advice. 

The way to get all the stuff you need is to start charging for the
work you can do.

Then when you need a particular tool for a special project, you
spend your entire profit, plus some savings for that tool (like a
rolling mill) and justify it as an investment.

I have an apprentice. She’s learning how to work in silver but
cannot afford yet to buy any, so she works in copper and sells at
flea markets and gun shows. And she’s ever so slowly buying used
equipment as she earns a little here and a little there. She made her
own bench, modeled after my home made bench.

Even though your “customer” is your friend or relative, you MUST
charge for your work.

Hammering isn’t the correct method to size this ring and it’s likely
your sizing will fail. Then you’ll pretty much have to pay someone
to not only size it but also to reshank it, and probably also unset
and reset the stones because the heat required to reshank will be too
close to the stones.

Sorry.

Paf

And FWIW, I don’t have any sizing stock in any karat; I refine my
own gold, re-alloy it and make the sizing “stock” as I need it. And
having been going on like this for 35 years.


#10
I do have one comment regarding hammering the ring a size up. I
believe that you mentioned that there is a large basket setting
for the center stone. Without seeing the ring 'in person', this is
just a thought. If you are not very, very careful, there is a good
chance that the basket could be stretched. In that case, resetting
the stone becomes more difficult since the prongs might not fit
properly.

This is actually something that I was worried about. If my original
mentor was still in the states, I’m sure he would let me use his
rolling stretcher, which I’m sure he had because he had everything.
Including a laser welder that he let me play with. And actually, I
would have just brought this to him and asked, “how do I do this?”
(Probably the laser welder.) But he’s in another country, and all of
the other jewelers in town are, well, pretty darn snobby and
hateful. If you ask for advice they look at you like you’ve climbed
up on their table during a dinner party and taken a. ummm…well,
something you’d do in the bathroom. Because I was actually just
going to set her stone as a favor with no pay as a friend, I’m
thinking sizing it properly will probably take way too much time
and/or expense that I can’t afford. So I’ll probably end up just
setting the stone. But if anyone has any more ideas, let me know.
I’ll post a picture of it so people can get a better idea about what
the ring looks like.

And as always, thank you guys so much for taking the time to respond
to me. El


#11

Here is the ring I want to try and stretch:


#12

Mail it to me & I’ll size it for $35. You can charge your friend
$75. You set the stone.


#13
This is actually something that I was worried about. If my
original mentor was still in the states, I'm sure he would let me
use his rolling stretcher, 

I have seen the picture and it can be stretched without any gadgets.

Anneal it first. Judging by color, alloy has a lot of copper in it,
so to anneal - use reducing soft noiseless flame. There should be no
hissing. Ideally, it should take around 5 minutes to reach annealing
temperature, but do not keep the ring at annealing temperature. Once
reached, plunge it into cold water. Correct temperature of red and
rose golds is NOT VISIBLE RED.

Once metal looks clean under flame but oxidized when not, the
temperature has been reached. With red gold it is better to
under-anneal than over.

To stretch you will need goldsmith hammer pein end. Put ring on
steel mandrel and forge with slight angle away from setting, driving
metal to the center of the shank, Once center is reached, start
forging from another end. Blows should not overlap and be equally
spaced.

After every course of forging, anneal and check for distortion. If
present, correct it with rawhide hammer, NOT STEEL.

Blows should light. If more than one course of forging is required,
hit between previous hammer marks. Once within half a size of the
required size, use planishing end to finish the job.

Before starting forging, protect sapphires with nail polish, so they
would not vibrate.

Remove nail polish by soaking in acetone before each annealing and
re-coat after.

When finished, re-tighten stones with beading tool.

Leonid Surpin
studioarete.com


#14
Here is the ring I want to try and stretch:
http://www.ganoksin.com/ftp/el-ring.jpg 

Maybe no heavy deformations on a ring mandrel. I’d be worried that
I’d pop out the stones.

Using a ring stretcher suited for stones may be safer.

Regards Charles A.


#15

As the ring shank is rectangular its an ideal candidate for a ring
roller stretcher approach.

If Paf has offered you such atool at cost snatch it out of his
hand.!! When you get it you should have with the tool itself at least
20 different hardened steel interchangable rollers that go into the
tool.

These are with different dia half round and other sections to suit
all ring shank types.

Ive had one for many yrs, its a great tool IF used with care!!.

IF you get it, experiment on lots of copper wire and strip to get
the hang of it.

The handle is threaded so you can adjust the relationship of the
inner roller(fixed) to the outer roller thats moveable.

Mine was designed and came with a base designed to be screwed down
to a bench.

I took the base off and repalced it with another handle so I could
use it with both hands when at an exhibition and a ring needed up
sizing while the customer waited. Its like any other tool you use.

Get to know its uses and limitations. It will earn you its keep very
quickly.

AND it doesnt MASH the shank!! unless to try to do to much with one
roll.

All cast gold has a small degree of ductility. upping the size by a
small size is always doable.


#16

I would suggest cutting, and adding gold, to size the ring
correctly. Sizing could be done by hammering, but a full size is
usually not done that way.

While I use a laser for many jobs, I would still prefer a torch
soldered joint here. If you protect the small accent stones, and
work quickly you should have no problem, as it is a pretty simple
job soldering a gold shank. Were it sterling, with any stones, I
would suggest letting someone with that type of experience do the
soldering, or being silver, just do the hammering.


#17

Ricco said,

There are lots of ways things can go wrong and even if you manage
to size it, the ring will be even weaker than it is now. Sometimes
the better part of valor is to retreat.

That’s pretty much what I’m starting to think. The more I look at
the ring, considering everyone’s advice, the more I can imagine
having a distorted, overly-thin ring shank with a twisted, stretched
stone setting that won’t work. Unless I have the proper materials to
size it properly, I shouldn’t do it. I’m still learning fabrication,
but I try as hard as I can to do it the correct way and not take
short cuts. I should follow the same plan with repairs if I do them.
I originally just said I’d set the stone for free, which is easy, so
I think I’ll stick to that.

Paf said, “And FWIW, I don’t have any sizing stock in any karat; I
refine my own gold, re-alloy it and make the sizing “stock” as I
need it. And having been going on like this for 35 years.”

That is something I would love to eventually learn to do. Less
expensive, and you know what you’ve got from the beginning.

Thanks again for all your help. El


#18
If Paf has offered you such atool at cost snatch it out of his
hand.!! When you get it you should have with the tool itself at
least 20 different hardened steel interchangable rollers that go
into the tool. 

Yes, it comes with them all. And not a spot of rust. I even still
have the little rubbery holder for them.

Snatch it!! :slight_smile:

Paf Dvorak


#19
I'd love to get rid of it but don't feel good about pawning it off
on a new jeweler. They distort the ring terribly IF you can use it
correctly which I have to assume takes a LOT of practice to get
right (though I've watched videos on the correct usage of these
machine and even the seller demonstrating the machine says it
distorts the shank. I think it's a good idea on paper but not in
practice.) 

I’ve used one of these for many years and wouldn’t be without it.

The only real problem I encountered was that it was VERY easy to
overdo the stretching and end up with a ring that’s too big. The
answer is to do it little by little, and measure every time, but that
introduces another problem - it’s very difficult to judge how much
further to screw the adjuster.

I suppose the better ones have a scale on them, but mine didn’t. I
made a scale from a strip of paper that I wrapped around the adjuster
handle to get the length, then divided it into 10 equal divisions and
stuck it back round the handle. It’s now very easy to remember the
last setting, loosen the adjuster, check the ring size and return it
to the previous setting if it’s not quite big enough.

Problem solved - I’ve never made a ring oversized since then.

I’ve also made some extra rollers for shank profiles the initial set
didn’t match.

Whenever you resize a ring you must examine the setting very
carefully to determine if precautions need to be taken to counteract
the effect of distortion introduced by changing the radius of
curvature of the setting under-bezel. Making a ring smaller can open
the setting and loosen the stone(s); making it bigger is usually
safer, but it can create its own subtle problems.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#20

Good decision El.

In general, when doing a repair job, always make clear to the client
that there may be unforeseen events and that any problems are at the
client’s risk.

Always let them know that anything can happen, that you’ll do your
best to get a good result, but if something goes wrong, you are not
to be held responsible.