Ring Fabrication Workshop 101

The fabrication workshop is the most popular and hands-on option at With These Rings. The workshop allows you and your partner to create handmade wedding bands from gold in several color and karat options or palladium sterling silver. Whether you want a more traditional and polished look or rustic and textured, you will end up with heirloom-quality rings. Many couples walk out of the fabrication workshop with their finished rings.

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I am often told by couples who are inquiring a workshop that they aren’t crafty or don’t work with their hands, and are worried that they will make an ugly ring. I get it, you’ll be wearing this piece of jewelry everyday for the rest of your life - no pressure. Bottom line, I will walk you through each step of fabricating your ring and I won’t let you mess it up, promise.

Before the workshop, we’ll work together to figure out the basic ring design including metals, width, stone settings, and other basic design elements. Some couples know exactly what they want, others find it helpful to go to a big jewelry store with lots of options so that they can try on a variety of rings before making their decisions. It is helpful to know your ring size ahead of time, but not necessary.

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Once you arrive to the With These Rings studio, I will provide you with the metal stock that has been milled out by our refiner based on the desired width, thickness, and profile (half round or flat) of your ring. I will mark it to the right length for your ring size and you’ll begin by using a jeweler’s saw cut the metal to size. You will then file the end of stock straight and square.

After you cut your stock to the correct length, you will use torch to heat and anneal (soften) your metal. Once the metal is in a malleable state you will work it cold using hand tools including specialty pliers and a mallet to bring the ends together. This is when I like to warn couples that metal gets ugly before it turns into jewelry. It is kind of my favorite part because from there it is so satisfying to watch it start to take shape in your hands. But at this point you will without a doubt end up with a wonky mess, but do not fear, that is absolutely to be expected.

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After that you’ve made the ends of the stock meet, you’ll use a torch to heat the ring and flow solder to fill the seam. Now for the most satisfying step..when that wonky oval becomes your ring! The ring will be placed on a steel mandrel and you will use a rawhide mallet to hammer your rings round. Once the ring is nice and round you will use a file, you’ll clean up the seam.

Next you’ll sand the ring using different grades of sandpaper to bring the ring to it’s finish. Starting with coarse sandpaper and working your way finer. A high polish finish is tiny scratches, so small that our eyes only see the reflection of light that they create. And, voilà, you’ve finished your ring! Handmade magic at its finest.

Stone settings, engravings, and additional custom work will be completed after your workshop and can take up to several weeks. Some couples choose to add stones or engravings down the road to celebrate an anniversary or life event. You can always contact me in the future if you want to add to your wedding band.

 

 

Photo Credit: MJ Photography