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  • Micheal Shallop

How do I get to Carnegie Hall...?

I had attempted to make a couple of rings from copper wire.  (Copper is inexpensive.)  Generally speaking, even simple rings post several challenges.


First, and foremost, you have to make a seamless join of the ends of the wire.  And, by seamless, I mean that the wire ends not only have to perfectly joined so that there is no overlap (edges) in the join, but no gap between the join ends as well.  Finally, when you solder the ends together, you have to remove the excess solder in such a way that your removal process doesn't change the thickness of the ring at the join.  (Excessive sanding, for example.) The end result should be that you've completely eliminated the seam by properly flowing the molten silver up through the two ends.


I mean, if it was easy, everyone would do it, right?


There's a lot of videos on youTube espousing the best way to perfectly join two ends to each other.  But the best teacher is practice. And so I made a lot of copper rings.  What I eventually learned is that, like carpentry, it's all about making the most accurate cut you can manage in the metal. The more accurate your measurement and cut, the higher the probability you'll end up with a perfect (seamless) ring.


The other hard bit about making rings from wire stock is that you have to know exactly how much metal to cut to make a ring to the targeted size. For this we use trigonometry. The formula is pretty simple: you need to know the radius of the ring, in millimeters, for the desired size. You add that to the thickness of the metal (also in millimeters) and then multiply by pi (3.1416) to get the length of metal required.


When I finally got up the nerves to move to silver, I bought an ounce of what's called crazy-88 silver wire.  It has a high-dome and is thick enough to work with but thin enough to be workable.


The very first ring I made from this stock came out just amazing! With magnification, I was unable to find the join seam and I finished the ring without any discernible change to the metal thickness or shape!  This ring ended up becoming the Stacker Ring I sell on goodgirl.jewelry!


Here's a video I made after completing the finishing (sanding off the excess solder) and polishing stages:


I was pretty stoked, huh?


For those of you wondering about the gloves, winter in north Texas gets downright cold.  That's why.


So, the lesson learned here is that practice makes perfect.  Or, hopefully, close to perfect.  Had I not made all those copper "rings" before, I probably would have burned up a lot of expensive silver trying to make one good ring.  Instead, I was able to make one "perfect" ring.

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