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Wedding bands from aerospace metal

Our approach for cutting off peoples wedding rings is that they can
do what they like with them afterwards - if they want to take them
to another jeweller, we won’t stop them, but the goodwill is really
worth it, and in practice, we rarely have people go elsewhere. Peter,
it’s a good idea about donating some new blades to the hospital.

Jamie Hall

And an aside, if the customer is in any condition to walk into your
shop and need the ring cut off, then the option of case A, surgery
to remove the finger, probably is not on the table. If they’re in
your store instead of the hospital, it’s not yet that bad.

I’d have to differ slightly theRe: one of the side effects of having
a stuck ring can be that you lose sensation in your finger. And
customers who aren’t medically minded may not realise how serious
this is.

I’ve been involved in one ring removal - a flatmate had dozed off
after trying on a slightly tight ring and woke up with a blue
finger. After she had tried butter, olive oil etc… I got involved

  • her finger was getting a duskier and duskier colour as we watched.
    She was adamant that it didn’t hurt and she would get it dealt with
    in the morning. I was adamant that her finger would have to come off
    if we didn’t do something soon.

As we couldn’t get a taxi late on a Friday night, I called an
ambulance who took her to A&E (ER) where they rushed her past the
queues of patients and they cut the ring off immediately. We got a
lot of dirty looks from the other patients, some of whom had been
waiting for hours.

Whenever I tell people about this, I get cajoled for having misused
the ambulance service, but none of the doctors or ambulance-people
involved had a problem with it. In fact, they confirmed that my
friend would have lost the finger had she waited an hour or two
longer. As it is, she still plays the piano.

The other concern would be ‘degloving’ injuries, which are exactly
what their name implies. Even a simple wedding ring can cause them
so aerospace alloys may not be much more dangerous.

Titanium can be pretty tough, but any decent ring cutter can handle
even the harder versions

I don’t know a whole lot about machine tools, but I am aware that
lathe tools for metals such as aluminium or can have quite a
different profile from those designed for ferrous metals. I also
frequently find that when I take a hacksaw to aluminium, the blade
clogs and blunts much faster than withsteel or brass.

Could it simply be that tools designed for cutting precious metals
and pewter simply aren’t well designed for cutting some ofthe alloys
(e.g. titanium) now being used in jewellery, regardless of hardness?


I don't know a whole lot about machine tools, but I am aware that
lathe tools for metals such as aluminium or can have quite a
different profile from those designed for ferrous metals. I also
frequently find that when I take a hacksaw to aluminium, the blade
clogs and blunts much faster than withsteel or brass. 

Quite correct. Lathe tools for different metals are ground with
radically different profiles and angles. With care (less depth of cut
and slower speed) you can get away with murder. I own more lathe bits
than I have fingers and toes, without a very good reason I don’t re
grind one for a specific job. Hand ring cutters are slow speed,
something like windex adds a good safe lubricant, or for Al wax is

Now for carbide rings ya got to break it off with a hammer or vice.
Sedate the patient or at least get them to look the other way :slight_smile:
I’ve never had to deal with a carbide ring, and don’t want to.

Other metals were never a problem. Just get the ring off inflicting
the minimal amount of pain. And remember that they are already upset
as hell and if really bad might need real medical attention. Do it
right and you have a client for life

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

i have a separate set of tools for ferrous metals

i use the same brand and style for both but when you use a file for
steel or iron even though it might look clean and fine after use it
is never the same.

platinum titanium pure copper all clog up tools quickly and are
difficult to clean out of regular files. These metals are like
working modeling clay with files and saws, they are very sticky and
take to burnishing better that abrading. there are pattern files made
specifically for platinum that i have used on all three of these
metals with success but the cost is prohibitive compared to the

with platinum and titanium it is my experience that you need to stop
and clean out your tools (including saw blades) after every 6 or 10
passes. do not use lubricant or cutting fluid on your saw as it will
compound the issue.

when using titanium i usually explain to my clients that the cost to
them is not so much in the price of the materials but in the labour
it takes to work the materials. as for machining titanium the lathe
cutting points for steel work just fine for titanium if used on
slower speeds and you dont take away to much material at one time.
with patience stretching a ring to increase its size over a steel
taper also works.

titanium engraves very well but i usually change the angle of my
cutting face from 45 to 50 degrees and polish it as best i can.

drilling in titanium is difficult. smaller holes (under 1 mm) should
be done with hand tools and time taken. believe it or not i use a pin
vise turned by hand. setting burs should be used the same way unless
you have a pendant drill that will turn as slow as 100 rpm.

this is just my experience others might have a better insite. so in
short clean and slow.


Titanium, ceramic, tungsten carbide, stainless steels and these new
cobalt-chrome rings can be removed by wrapping the finger with
something like dental floss or suture thread to compress the finger
and allow the ring to be slid off the finger. This was mentioned by a
ER doctor several years ago here on Orchid I believe. Tungsten
carbide and ceramic rings can be cracked off easily with a vise grip
or one of the new tools Stuller is selling. Titanium, and most
stainless can be cut by ring cutter saw blades if they are sharp.
These cobalt-chrome rings are going to require a diamond abrasive saw
because at over 40 HRC they are not going to be cut with a typical
high speed steel blade but they are still ductile enough that they
will not crack off like the tungsten carbide or ceramic rings. I am a
little concerned that many ER’s will not have a diamond abrasive ring
saw in their bag of tricks.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

Another trick to remove a ring if the finger isn’t too badly mangled
is Windex. It contains a slipping agent in its formula that works
far better than soap or any of the usual, including oil. I had a
neighbor who had smacked his hand hard and it swelled up. He came up
to my studio for me to cut his ring off. Instead, we soaked the hand
in ice water for a bit to bring the swelling down as much as we could
then we Windexed (new verb) his ring and finger. The ring slid right
off in under a minute. I have always kept a small bottle of Windex at
shows for the customer who is convinced they wear a size smaller
than their actual ring size. Works like a charm.

Lisa (Heading to Bonhams today for some art appraisals) Topanga, CA

Lisa Bialac-Jehle

When I first started working with Titanium it seemed a challenge but
with experience, experimenting with blades and lubricants etc I found
that there were no real difficulties except with drilling where the
right lubricant is essential, I use ‘Magic Cut’ an engineering
lubricant. Drilling involves numerous small cuts well lubricated.
Piercing thin sheet involves a lot of gentle cuts using the whole
length of the saw blade, candle wax a lubricant.

Titanium cuts beautifully on the lathe, just go gently and
lubricate. Cutting tools should be flat with a slight back cut.

For shaped tools ie. half round cut the speed down using the back

Forging needs to be done white hot, beware of the dust. Cleaning up
forgings requires wet grinding. Dont try filing the yellow surface as
it will ruin the best files. Diamond files are good.

David Cruickshank (Australia)

there were no real difficulties except with drilling where the
right lubricant is essential 

Are these comments about thick material? Because I have been sawing,
filing and drilling thin sheet (26ga) for years with no problems at
all, though tools wear out quicker. I do not experience the titanium
as gummy like copper, though niobium sure is. It feels very crisp to


Ok - don’t laugh. Preparation H is also a tissue shrinker. Models
use it under their eyes when they have been out the night before and
yet have to get up for the camera. Really. Maybe prep H and then
Windex would be a great combo. For stuck rings that is. Barbara on a
little island in the dark of night making jump rings in front of the

Free. The customer is already in pain. Cut the ring off for free,
but get their promise to bring it back for repair or replacement
when the finger has healed and an accurate size can be determined,
etc. Doing the original removal for free will more than pay back
the good will in the form of a grateful and hopefully then loyal

No, no, a thousand times NO!!!

This is a medical emergency, not a jewelry emergency, and unless you
are a licensed physician, you are exposing yourself and your business
to extreme risk, let alone prosecution. Stop trying to save the
world. The correct procedure is to dial 911 and let the paramedics
take care of it, as they ARE equipped to do so.

Good heavens!
Wayne Emery

I would cut the ring and tell the lawyer to get lost… too many of
them in the US anyway… that is why when people do stupid things
they get big bucks… like spilling hot coffee on themselves… Heck
stop the car and drink your coffee… In the rest of the world people
do not even think about this stuff… if there is a hole in the side
walk you need to look where you are walking…if you fall in it is
your fault for not looking where you are going…

Cut the ring off and let the person thank you then say It was no
problem come again when you need something and I will be here to
help you again.

Vernon Wilson