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Video:How to Make Half Round Wire Stacking Rings

with Jeannette Caines

Half round silver stacking rings are beautiful pieces of jewelry and are surprisingly easy to make. Here's a quick tutorial on how to make your own half round silver stacking rings.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Make Half Round Wire Stacking Rings

Hi, I'm Jeanette Caines from The Jewelry Arts Institute and I'm here for About.com. I'm going to show you how to make this great set of stacking rings out of half round sterling wire. I have Valerie Blum here to assist me and we're going to start right now.

Materials Needed for Silver Stacking Rings

To make these rings, it's really up to you what widths you like. I have an example here with a couple different ones. We're going to use:
  • Half round sterling
  • Soldering board
  • Medium solder
  • Ring mandrel
  • Leather mallet
  • File
  • Scissors
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Tweezers
  • Torch

Pick a Ring Size

To get the right length for my ring blank there's a little gauge right here on the side of your mandrel. It doesn't take into account the thickness of your metal. So, if I mark this at seven like it has here, it's going to be a little small. But actually, that's usually better anyway because when you're hammering it to get your ring beautiful and round, after you've soldered it, you want to be able to stretch it a little bit. I usually use it just like this. So, I marked it off at eight and now I'm going to file off the ends.

Bring Ends of the Ring Together

After I get the ends nice and flush I am going to start getting the ends together on my ring mandrel. I'm going to use my leather mallet as well. I'm not really worried about keeping this beautiful and round right now. After it's soldered on here, we'll put it back together and stretch it nice and round. I'm going to use my leather mallet just like this. My whole goal is to get those two ends nice and soldered together so I can solder them. If you find you’re having too hard of a time getting them together, you can always stop and anneal to soften up the metal, if you find it hard to work.

Solder the Seam on Your Silver Ring

We use a medium solder because there aren't any other solder seams in it. Put your solder down on your board, your solder seam directly on top; then, you flux it and you heat from the top. When the solder gets hot, it's just going to flow and fill the seam. We're going to let it cool for a little bit. I'm going to dunk it in the water. Soldering always makes it seem kind of crusty and dark, which we need to clean off. So, we'll put it in a mild acid solution which we call pickle. Just for about 2 or 3 minutes. When we make up a fresh batch of pickle' we're going to use about a quarter of a cup of the sodium bisulfate per quart of water. It's extremely important to add the acid to the water, not the water to the acid.

Smooth Out Ring and Get it to Proper Size

So, I'm going to put it on my ring mandrel and I'm going to whack it using my leather mallet. I'm looking for two things at this point: I'm getting the ring nice and round without any funny waves, and I'm also getting it to the size that I want it to be. Because the ring mandrel is tapered, I'm also going to take it off and flip it over so that you make sure that your ring itself it doesn't end up a little bit coned.

Finish Silver Ring With File

Now that it's the right size, I'm going to take my file and I'm going to clean up the seams. You really want to take the file and follow the curve. I can flip this around and do the inside now. A finish that I really like and that you can get right out of your kitchen is a Scotch-Brite pad. It really gives you this great, satiny finish. Putting a different finish on your jewelry can really affect how it looks.
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