Forging is a metalworking technique that has been used for centuries. Traditionally, it has been used to create a whole host of different pieces of equipment, from weapons to architectural infrastructures. But it is also a form of traditional jewellery making, used to make rings, brooches and pendants. Would you like to give this historical method a go?
One of the best ways to try it is by starting with a ring. So, discover how to forge a ring, the tools needed for the process and more, below.
What does forging a ring mean?
In simple terms, ring forging is a type of traditional jewellery making where the metal is heated up and hammered until it forms the desired shape and size of a ring. This includes the process of annealing too, where the metal used is heated up to a specific temperature to make it more malleable and easier to work with. Find out more about this artisan jewellery making technique throughout the blog.
Is ring forging still used by jeweller’s today?
In traditional jewellery workshops, ring forging is still used to this day. However, it is much less practiced on a wider scale. This technique is a great way for beginners to try their hand at metalsmithing, as the process is fairly straightforward, and it does not require a long list of tools. Fancy giving it a go? We’ll run you through how to forge a ring and all the steps required so you can give it a go from your own home.
Tools and equipment needed for forging a ring
- Round wire
- An anvil
- A heavy ball-pein hammer/cross-pein raising hammer
- A ruler
- A hand torch
- A piercing saw
- Flat file
- Wet and dry abrasive papers
How to forge a ring at home: step by step
- Measuring. The first step in the ring forging process is to measure out the length of the round wire to determine the size of your ring. For more information on this, consult our ring sizing guide for jewellers.
- Thin out the metal. Place one end of the metal on the flat surface of the anvil, holding the other side securely. Similarly, use the flat side of your ball-pein or cross-pein hammer and strike the piece, slowly working away from your body. Then rotate the metal so you can do the same on the other side until the metal has thinned out.
- Repeat on the reverse. Next, simply repeat the previous step but on the other side of the metal. Frequently measure with a ruler as the thinner the metal gets, the longer it becomes. As you near the end of this step, the metal on the ends should taper inwards while the metal in the middle should remain the same width.
- Decipher the shape. Now it’s time to decide on the shape of your design. If you’re aiming for a rounded look, anneal the metal then place it back on the anvil. Then, take your ball-pein hammer and strike the metal while simultaneously rolling the hammer along the surface. This will help to soften the edges and eventually round them off.
- Shape the metal. After annealing the metal again, you’re ready to start shaping. To do this, hold one end of the metal and place the other over the round nose of the anvil. Hammer around this until a curve starts to form up until roughly halfway, then, repeat on the opposite sides until the ends meet or begin to overlap.
- Finish the piece. Once the ring shape has been formed, neaten up the edges with either your piercing saw or a file, then proceed to solder together. Then, place the ring on the mandrel and hit with your ball-pein hammer to round it up. Once done, you can further file the ring until smooth and, if desired, create a high shine finish with some wet and dry abrasive papers.
And that’s how to forge a ring at home! If you’d like to use a specific type of metal, and you’re wondering how to forge a gold ring or how to forge a ring from steel, you’ll be pleased to know the process is the same! Simply adjust by using the appropriate type of solder for a smooth and professional look.