Since opening the shop now 2 years ago in downtown Marquette, Michigan I have learned a few tricks for making ring bands that have really simplified the process. I am going to share 3 things that have really helped us in the studio when making silver rings.
1. Aligning the back seam.
After bending the strip of metal around into the ring shape, the back seam can be hard to align. One of the best ways to make this a perfect seam is to run the jewelers saw through it once the seam is aligned. I like to do this with a 3/0 size saw blade on a very flat bench pin. The saw takes a little bit of metal off of each size of the seam making them perfectly align with each other. Sometimes you may accidentally cut a little wedge of metal out of the back if you aren't centered perfectly with the saw blade. You can cut through again, just keep in mind the more times you cut through, you will be slightly making the ring size smaller.
2. Closing a tiny gap on the seam
After Tip 1. - If your seam is a great fit, but you cannot close a tiny gap the length of the seam, use a 'U' channel forming block. Balance the ring in a channel with the seam facing up, then stick one of a rod inside of the ring and hit downward with a hammer to force the metal (opposite of the seam) outward and then the seam will come closer together and close up. This only really takes a couple of light taps. I love this technique, seriously the best thing ever. I saw it on a Rio Grande How To Video, although I cannot remember the title of the video.
If you need to make the ring smaller, you can cut a tiny piece of metal out. Using your saw, careful start sawing on one side of the seam, only saw about half way thought the metal. Then make another parallel cut on the other side of the seam. Go back and forth cutting through each of these two sawn lines until you cut each one through. By cutting them at the same time, the ring will not become wiggly and your cuts will be more parallel. Then follow Tip 2 above to close the gap. The image in Step 1. shows the best way to hold the ring and saw to make these two cuts.
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