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Wax wedding bands


#1

Can any of you master model makers out there tell me the easiest
way to make a wedding band to custom fit up against an odd shaped
engagement ring? I’ve been using the “file and fit” method which
takes forever. There has to be and easier way!

Wendy Newman
wendy@goldgraphix.com
www.goldgraphix.com


#2

I’m no model maker, Wendy, but I don’t have a problem with the
method you’re using. I do use a scalpel for a lot of scraping
and shaping. I like the results I get, from filing and fitting.
Curtis


#3

heat the engagement ring and press the wax against it. then cut
away any excess. Voilla Jurgen


#4

Wendy, Just put it on top of the appropriate wax tube, heat it
so that it sinks in to a solid fit all around, cool it, saw both
off the wax tube and reduce to the desired shape/thickness.
Michael


#5

Hi Wendy, Hold the wedding band with a pair of tweezers and
gently heat enough to melt against a slice of ring tube. That
will give you your form against the ring. The rest should be
easy. Michael B


#6

Wendy: Simply clean the ring you’re making the band to fit, heat
it lightly with a pure gas flame (you can do this with heat
sensative stones such as amethyst, but not organics such as ivory
or pearl-these must be removed first) and lightly press against
your wax. When almost completly cool, seperate and you will have
an exact fit. It will take some practice until you get a feel for
it. You then clean up and continue to shape your wax. Remove
any wax from your cuatomer’s ring by scaping away excess and then
soaking in a solvent sold by supply houses for this exact
purpose. Enjoy; Steve Klepinger


#7

Hi Wendy :slight_smile:

I do dozens of contour-fit custom wedding bands a year, using
hard green wax. I’ve two methods that work pretty well. The most
straight forward requires some care in level placement and wax
removal.

*Cut a slab of wax that is a bit bigger than the dimensions of
your finished wedding band when placed next to the engagement
ring. *Holding the diamond in tweezers, gently heat the
engagement ring with your torch and carefully lay it down into
the wax block. Adjust to keep it level as it melts into the wax.
*Cut off the excess wax from the inside of the ring/block and
then the outside. Using a saw and a big barrel inside ring rotary
file works well, even better if you’ve got one of those Matt wax
milling tables to work with. *Hand file the profile of the band
to the dimensions of the engagement ring. Use an exacto knife to
score along the lines where the wax flows over the engagement
ring. Layout any placement for melee so it matches. *Gently pull
the two pieces apart. The inside edge of the wedding band should
be just about high-polished from the melt-placement and will fit
like a puzzle piece after the cast. Cleanup will be minimal on
this side. On the other side, profile the wax to size. Check the
size of your wedding wax and adjust if needed. *Cut channels if
any now. Finish wax surface with clean 3M papers and give it a
buff on your jeans :wink:

The second method I use requires a decent graduated wooden
mandrel. The one made by Matt wax tools with a metal stand works
fine.

*Slip your engagement ring onto the mandrel and snug it down.
Blob melted wax in a thin line along the entire side. You want to
cover the wood up to the top of your engagement ring’s side. Be
careful not to over heat your wax or you’ll get bubbles that will
cast into messy metal. Once you’ve got the first course of wax
down, take a heated spade-shaped metal tool and pull a line along
the edge of the ring to make sure you have complete, smooth
contact. Watch for bubbles and get rid of them now. Blob down
another course of wax that goes the width of the intended band
and then some. Now blob across the top till the mass profiles a
bit higher than the engagement ring. *Now you’ve got an ugly
mass of wax obscuring a ring. File a starting profile on the
flat. Take a saw and cut the width of the wedding band plus a tad
more. Use exacto knives to cut away the line exactly between the
two rings. *Perfect the profile on the top side. Layout any
stones to be set and any irregular edges on the side that doesn’t
snug the engagement ring. *Holding the mandrel with the point
against your bench, give the engagement ring a couple gentle
whacks along the edge of the shank to loosen it from the mandrel.
Pull it off and take the rings apart. *Use a barrel rotary file
to bring the wedding band up to size. About 1/4 size larger than
the engagement ring works. *Cut and file the non-joining side of
the wax to shape. Clean up the joining side carefully and finish
the whole as you see fit.

Note that you can make corrections with more melted green wax or
even with Perfect Purple on both methods.

Kind of long-winded, but there you have it. Hope this is helpful
to you. I’m looking forward to other answers. Always happy to
share and to benefit from the techniques other folks here are
using.

-Jane (face down in my coffee cup, an hour off from getting my
butt into work on a Sunday… ah, the holidays)


#8

Here is a method I have been using for many years. First protect
the engagement ring in an alcohol / boric acid solution as if you
were going to solder on it. You are not going to solder, but
heat it indirectly by heating the mandrel near the eng. ring.
Using an old steel mandrel (old because the wax gets melted on
it). Place the eng. ring on the mandrel. Gently heat near the
ring with gas and a little oxygen. When the mandrel gets warm
enough , slide the wax blank up to the eng. ring. You will know
it is warm enough when the wax blank “molds” itself to the form
of the eng. ring. Too cool and it will not form against the eng.
ring, too warm and it will melt fast - no good. Remove both
after cooling for a minute - dont wait too long however because
the wax will harden on the mandrel making it difficult to
remove. Then gently pry the wax away from the eng. ring. Now you
have an exact “cast” of the eng. ring. Use whatever tools you use
for wax work. I have an old disc that goes on my polishing
machine. It looks like a lap, but is made out of some sort of
hard fibrous material. I use it for the bulk removal of wax -
filing takes too long. Then I use files and finally emery paper
to finish. Remember, dont heat the mandrel too much. It retains
the heat for quite a while and will melt the wax blank quickly if
over heated. Call or email if you need to be walked through it
.It really does work !!! Rob Ringold


#9

Hi Wendy,

I think the easiest method of fitting a wax to an engagement
ring is this. Clean the engagement ring. Cut the wax to a width
that will leave enough width after fitting. Ream the wax to size.
Trim the height close to the finished height. Trim the wax to
roughly fit the eng. ring (the last two steps are just to remove
as much excess wax as possible). Then cover the engagement ring
with boric acid and alcohol (thin mixture is best so you don’t
have too much boric acid on ring, makes tiny lumps). Heat the
ring until the boric acid has turned to a glaze, too hot to touch
but not super hot. Quickly drop the ring down your mandrel and
slide the wax up against it. Hold it in position until wax has
solidified. Pull off your mandrel and while leaving the wax
stuck to the ring, file the height of the wax to match the shank
of the ring, don’t do the width yet. Pull apart the wax and ring,
may need to grab the shank of the engagement ring with 1/2 round
pliers or cut a shallow groove with a graver between wax and
ring, or both. Now you have a perfect fit and you can trim to
width and cut channels or whatever. Clean the wax off the
engagement ring by carefully heating up with torch while holding
in tweezers, you are not heating enough to flow any solder just
burn off the wax. You don’t need to add new boric acid for the
last step, it is still coated. Some people think the last step is
risky and use other methods, steam etc., I have done it for
years without any damage to the engagement ring, of course you
have to remove any heat sensitive stones.

Hope that helps.
Mark P.
WI


#10

Wendy, the method I use has proven to be very reliable for me,
tempered only by consideration for the type of stones set into
the engagement ring. I first cut & file the wax to shape as near
as can be, usually starting with a wax ringtube of suitable size.
Chop it off and get the size accurate first, and then chop out
the shape of the side you need to fit against the engagement ring
as accurately as possible. So far I gather this is what you have
been doing. Then, after making sure the engagement ring is
SPOTLESSLY clean, put the wax ring onto your steel ring mandrel,
with the side you have to fit to the other ring facing up towards
the narrow end. Then , on a heatproof pad, gently warm the
engagement ring with a soft flame from your soldering torch and
quickly pick it up with tweezers and onto the mandrel, sliding it
down until it can be accurately pressed against the wax ring. If
you do it right, it will slightly melt the edge of the wax,
producing a mirror-perfect fit. Once cooled, gently prise them
apart and finish off shaping the outside edge of the wax ring to
suit. Several VERY important points, however:

a) If there is any dirt on the engagement ring, you risk burning
it and discolouring the stones, so cleanliness is paramount.

b) I use a soldering torch of the type which has a mouth blowpipe
to provide oxygen with - this enables me to use a very gentle
flame which just “brushes” the piece & warms it without
overheating. If you cannot be certain you won’t overheat the
ring, I’d recommend practicing on something unimportant(probably
not a bad idea anyway!)

c) The one thing which will reduce you to a jelly is if the wax
runs into an inaccessible place, such as inside a channel setting
where you can’t pick it out, so be careful of where it can get
into when the two sides are melting together.

d) Last but not least, don’t use this technique with rings set
with heat-sensitive stones, unless it’s easy to unset them first.
If you bear these few points in mind, I feel you will quickly
wonder how you did it any other way. Good luck, I hope you have
success, Alan


#11

I have found that putting the ring to be matched on a peice of
wax paper and then sliding on to a mandral then bleed wax up
against the other with a wax pen works to follow the conture. Ron


#12

Mark: I’ve used the same basic method for years but I have a
problem with your reccomendation to “burn off” the excess wax
form the origional piece. What about wax that gets under melee
and in other tight places? The wax must burn and leave a nasty
black resedue there thich would be very hard to completely
remove. Does the boric acid actualy prevent this???

Best wishes;

Steve Klepinger


#13

Dear Wendy Newman, You’ll get lots of advice on fitting wedders
to engagement rings. I start by wrapping a strip of paper around
my ring mandrel and sliding the shaped ring over it, so’s I can
trace an accurate outline around the wedding ring side of the
engagement ring.

Straightened out, it gives me an accurate template for starters.
I still haven’t figured out a way to cut down on the time it
takes to make a perfect fit, though… I look forward to other
responses.

Kind regards, Rex from Oz


#14

Okay, it is time to be dangerous again… 1st. carve a plain
band the same size as the one to be fitted against…2nd. Put this
wax on a mandrell 3rd. Heat the metal ring(just hot enough to
melt wax-but not red) 4th. Slide the metal ring on the mandrell
5th. Have a glass of water handy just in case you got the ring too
hot(pour the water on the mandrell and the ring to stop it from
melting) With a little practice and some luck(practice creates
luck) you will have a perfect(remember that wax sorta shrinks)
fit. Good luck! Steven


#15

I had an unusual shaped ring to do. Originally the bride to be
had wanted a ring (commercial colored stone mount) that would
serve as both an ER and WB. Then of course, a year later she had
to have a WB in addition to and NOTHING would fit next to it
unless it was custom made!

Since there was no way that she was going to leave her ring for
me to match up to, I bought another of the same casting and sized
it to the appropriate size. I then warmed (not hot!) the gold
and repeatedly held it against a semi formed wax ring to get a
good fit. To finish the detailing, I left the wax next to the
gold ring to do the outer shaping so that it would be pleasing.
Then remove, finish the final details, cast, etc.

Judy Shaw


#16

Hi Wendy… Ivw made lots of fitted rings to nestle snuggly
against the engagement ring… first saw off a piece of tubular
ring wax slightly larger than the one you want to make. then size
the inside of the tube using your half round wax file or rotary
tool first.Also take away enough wax all around so you dont have
to work so hard later. Gently heat up the engagement ring…you
may want to take out the stone or stones first. depending on the
stone and its value. Press the heated ring into the end of the
tube. And there you will have your engagement ring exactly
matching the wedding ring in shape. As with all important
projects…practice first on something else…so you learn how hot
the ring should be and how much pressure to apply…this works
well for me…good luck…Jana Cooper


#17

Hello Wendy:

Can any of you master model makers out there tell me the easiest
way to make a wedding band to custom fit up against an odd shaped
engagement ring?  I've been using the "file and fit" method which
takes forever.  There has to be and easier way!

Clean the ring as if you were gonna solder it. Dip it in a
boric/alcohol solution(mostly alcohol) and burn it. I have a wax
lathe to cut the inner diameter of the wax, so I slide the wax
onto my mandrel a then slide the heated ring down onto it
allowing it to melt into the wax. If you are using tube wax or
the like just set it on your bench, lightly heat the ring,
assuming the ring does not contain heat sensitive stones, like
pearls, amber, etc… If the ring is too hot it will melt the wax
into a mess. Not hot enough and you might be filling in the
voids with melted wax. After you get it melted into place clean
up the inner diameter. Once the I.D. is ok, use you compass to
mark your thickness and width and start cutting with you X-acto
knife. After it is almost done remove the wax from the ring and
clean up that interface area, but not to much. This technique
allows for a good fit. A word of caution. Any wax that has made
its way onto the stones must be removed from top and bottom. If
you don’t get it off, the next time the ring is retipped or
heated up hot, the wax can frost the diamonds. Since each
different ring is of different thickness and mass then each ring
requires different amount of time heated. The more you do the
better you get. I have made many accent bands like this so let me
know if you have anymore questions.

Michael Mathews Victoria,Texas USA


#18

Other replies to this question discussed heating the ring to
melt it’s profile into wax.

If, however, you need to fit the ring to a metal band, one trick
that may be useful requires a pair of sharp dividers. Put both
rings side by side on a mandrel covered with paper or masking
tape to sufficient depth that both rings can be jam fitted on the
mandrel, so that they don’t move in relation to each other. Now
wet the dividers to the largest gap you can find between them,
and use that distance to mark all around the band, while keeping
the other point of the diveder gently against the ring being
matched. The result will be a pretty accurately traced profile
on your existing ring scribed onto the band being fitted to it.
Cut away the excess metal, leaving just a hairs width on the
waste side (burrs, files, saws, whatever works fastest). Now
you start with the trial and file routine, but you’re almost
there, so it will take much less. Also, remember that you only
remove a trace at a time, and only where the two rings contact.
Keep removing only the contact points, and the gaps dissappear.
You can get a non drying ink product made for diemakers that is
specifically made for this type of use. Dark blue, you coat the
finished ring, press the two rings together, and then file off
wherever there is a transferred blue mark on the band being
matched to it. The advantage here is that the dye makes it much
easier to see where the contact points are, resulting in
considerably improved speed. And of course, for some designs and
bands, you can simply bend the two to fit, or gently hammer them
together to mate them, assuming this can be done without damage
to the existing ring…

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe


#19

It’s all very sound advice, BUT: emphasize heavily the need to
heat GENTLY! And make sure you’ve got the right solvent on hand
for those first couple of tries! I use this method myself, but oh
boy do I remember the first few times - wax under the stones, wax
in the crevices of the settings, what a mess.

Kathy, Waxing eloquent in Media


#20

Steve K. asked if the wax gets under the melee leaving a nasty
black spot when burning off after melting up a wedding band.
Nope, it vaporizes. I heat it and at first it flames and drips,
(not good over bare legs). Then I continue moving a soft flame in
and out. The diamonds do darken at first. As you continue to heat
the wax evaporates and its perfectly clean. I have done literally
thousands of wedding bands this way without ever damaging
anything. That said, many goldsmith friends think its too risky
and won’t do it. Steve’s’ solvent suggestion is a good one. Many
pick, boil and steam the wax away. The torch method is fast and
it eliminates every speck of wax, but its certainly not the only
way.

Mark P.
WI