Friday, November 1, 2013

Handmade Torch Forged Rings p3

The following is a continued description of how I make my hand forged rings. It is a long involved process so I am splitting this description into several posts. This is the third of these posts. The previous parts can be found here: Part 1, Part 2.

Torch Forged Rings
Part 3 - Cutting and Preparing the Ring Shanks
made by Ash
Unicorn's Garden

Part 3 begins with cutting the prepared ring band stock from part 2 into the right size/s for the ring/s.

Forged Bands Cut to Size for the rings
 In this run the silver ingot was sufficient to produce two rings, one in size 9 and one in size 10. Both ends of the silver bar were cut off and become scrap to be recycled. This is because that is where I hold the silver while hammering and the ends have marks from the teeth of the pliers that are too deep to file out. The ends also tend to be rounded and have too much variance in width and thickness.

I use a chart that I created years ago in conjunction with my ring mandrel to determine what length to cut the ring bands. The chart has full and half ring sizes from size 1 to size 17.5 with their corresponding circumference in inches. The circumference length in my chart is
a little smaller than the actual finished size but the reason for that comes in later.
First File and Sanding for the cut ring bands

With the ring bands cut to their proper length I then start the filing and sanding process. I use a hand file to smooth both sides of the silver leaving the edges alone at this stage. This stage is to even out the high and low parts created by the hammer from what will be the inside and outside of the ring. I use the fire scale on the silver to determine when this process is finished. Fire scale is the dark coloring left on a piece of silver (or other metal) from either a casting or torch heating process. It is essentially a coating of oxidized silver. Once the flat silver bands are smoothed out with the file the sanding process begins. I start with a piece of 800 grit sandpaper on a sanding stick to remove the file marks

Sanded - 800 grit on sanding stick w/ small untouched piece
from the faces of the flat band. This is followed by a piece of 1000 grit sandpaper to remove the scratches left by the 800 grit sandpaper and finally a pice of 2000 grit sandpaper to remove the scratches from the 1000 grit sand paper.

This is a point where the rings either get formed into a circle or they receive more work depending upon the design for the finished piece. If these rings were to be plain hammered bands they would be ready for forming then soldering. These two rings, however are to be stamped, one with Ogham one with English.

Part 4 will be posted on Friday 11/8/13

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