Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Ye old fashioned handmade...

had to copy an existing ring, no time to cad it, so handmade. about 6 hours all up..

I will not see this finished, it gets the halo set, then the four prongs dropped in..

1: Forging the Shank. The image below represents the raw beam (top) rolled down to the right thickness (middle) then rolled flat to around 0.3mm narrower than the shank needs to be. (bottom). This is then annealed then bent round (far bottom)  and soldered. The shank is usually easier to make in platinum as you can fuse it, as opposed to white gold which is soldered and leave a join. (i hate joins...)

2: The shank. (lost one image somehow). The shank bent round narrower and a few sizes too small. This is so that i can hammer it upward on my mandrel to the correct size. This achieves three things. I can taper my shank appropriately by concentrating hammering the bottom 2/3rds up, it widens the ring to the correct width which minimises filing and lemel loss. Finally it work hardens my metal which makes polishing easier and a more durable piece. (i also draw my cad shanks 1.5 sizes too small and a little thick, so i can tap them up, it does all the above but also aids in porosity elimination in those unfortunate bad casts...)

The shank is split inwards at the joint and then along the shank either side of that split. These areas will be bent upwards to make the shoulders.

3: The basket. This section is made from leftover beam, rolled sideways to give me a flat metal area around 20% wider than my diameter of my head and 0.2mm thicker than my basket needs to be.

This then gets punched round and folded inwards to the correct diameter leaving the correct size hemisphere.

4: the head. This is also pierced from rolled beam, hammered down with a big hammer to work harden the metal (tiny beads will be used in setting, tiny beads want resilient metal.) I dome the metal slightly to represent the stone angle on the Halo and then drill out the centre stone section.
The head is drilled for the stones (and usally the prongs are let in too, but in this case its so tight the setter requested setting the smalls first). the basket claws are filed from the hemisphere. The pieces are highly polished in all areas inaccessible after joining and the head is assembled.
5: The head and shank are both buffed prior to final assembly
 A coating of boracic acid is applied to protect the surfaces from oxidising in hard to reach areas, and the piece is soldered together.
Finally I QC everything.. this piece was a copy and copy's are always harder to make than just starting from scratch, and in my version I allow around 5 to 10% thickness prior to setting, this allows for little "slips" that may possibly happen, and if there are no "slips" usually the client is not put off by having a slightly sturdier ring.

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