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Thread: A beginner question for first time ring-making and soldering

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
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    6

    Default A beginner question for first time ring-making and soldering

    Hi there. I'm a bit of a beginner having only dabbled so far in wire work for pendants and earrings but I'd really like to get into some basic soldering and look at making a simple ring for my girlfriend for Christmas. An example of my first ever pieces can be seen in the following image:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I am considering the following three cooksongold items:

    https://www.cooksongold.com/product_...ix=S232&item=1
    https://www.cooksongold.com/product_...ix=S233&item=2
    https://www.cooksongold.com/product_...ix=APMH&item=3

    Am I right that the shank and setting should go well together (as they appear to be part of a "set") and that I should be able to relatively simply solder one to the other before push-setting the stone?
    I do not have any idea whatsoever about the size that the ring needs to be either, so am I also right that I should be able to cut a small section of the silver out of the shank and re-solder it together smaller if I need to make the ring smaller?

    I don't have much in the way of equipment so far so I will also be looking to get some entry-level gear and have so far assembled the following list. Can anyone tell me if I'm missing anything important or if any of the items I've listed are inappropriate for this kind of project? I don't mind swapping for something more useful but I don't really want to invest much more cash at this point because I don't know how much I'll be doing (life, work, new baby, etc, etc!).

    https://www.cooksongold.com/product_...ix=096Q&item=4
    https://www.cooksongold.com/product_...fix=958&item=5
    https://www.cooksongold.com/product_...fix=DDA&item=6
    https://www.cooksongold.com/product_...ix=3117&item=7
    https://www.cooksongold.com/product_...ix=3601&item=8
    https://www.cooksongold.com/product_...fix=004&item=9

    Any tips or thoughts gratefully received! Thank you for reading

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    436

    Default

    Hi there!

    Soldering is both simple and not simple..... Simple when you know what to do, not so simple when you don't. So personally I'd suggest getting some 1.5mm sterling wire and play with soldering that together successfully. The ring base and collet you've chosen are very nice but might prove difficult to solder together with the torch from the starter kit you're looking at. There won't be enough heat from that torch to solder those pieces together unless you learn some other tricks about holding heat.

    And to set that stone in that collet you'll need some files to thin out/chamfer the top of the collect, plus you'll need a vise to hold the soldered piece so you can use a hammer and punch to do the initial setting and then tidy it up with an emery stick. Micromesh sheets are wonderful but you can buy cheap nail buffer blocks for much less and play with those - they're basically covered in thin micromesh and they even tell you which piece to use and the order https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Nail-Buff...r=560451381509

    You'll also need a drill and some ball and setting burrs to create a "seat" for the stone to sit in on the inside of the collet.

    Then you've got polishing to do afterwards.

    The soldering starter kit is something I bought - I still use everything from it - but the torch is very limited with what you can do with it. I now just use that torch for jump rings and very small pieces. You can buy most tools for a bit less but to be honest when you start out it's understandably easier to go with the kits. Rawhide hammers can be bought more cheaply than that, I sometimes use a 1 rubber camping mallet for some stuff I do. And you can get decent butane gas for much cheaper than that. For example Bull Brand butane has been available at Asda for 1 a can recently.

    A decent ring mandrel/tribet is worth it, I got mine from Tool N Tools and I have a marked one for sizing and an unmarked one for changing the size and work hardening because the size marked ones leave impressions on the inside of your rings and that's a whole other world of work to get them out (see files - did I mention buying large files and needle files?)

    I think it would be well worth you doing a lot of watching YouTube videos if you can't get to an actual class or day workshop where you can learn some basic smithing skills (and I mean LOTS of hours). This will be old news to some on this forum but watch a few hours of Andrew Berry on YouTube (other Internet sources are available - you're going to need to invest a bit of time into this). His free At The Bench videos are very useful (but don't really replace an in person class or two with a local jeweller). There's something about the soldering process and what to look for that doesn't translate well to words on a page, be it printed or Internet based. There's a lot to learn to make your first simple thing, but once you've got that under your belt you're on your way and there's only a few more hundred hours you need to put into research and practice to be able to make jewellery.
    Last edited by misspond; 08-12-2020 at 09:52 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Central London
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    Hi sagramore,
    I would suggest you avoid assembling ready made, because the result will tend to look trashy, compared with the pieces you have shown us.

    Start with silver wire and sheet and make your own from scratch. A good starting point is to buy a used copy of Madeline Coles, which will introduce you to all the common tools and a number of beginners projects and necessary techniques.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jewellery-T.../dp/1840921978

    Then if you get stuck, all of us will support you. Dennis.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
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    Bourne, Lincolnshire
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    I am jumping on the thread to thank the OP for posting something I was trying to (new at this forum malarky) and also thank Dennis & MissPond.

    I've purchased the book suggested, looking forward to learning more

  5. #5
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    Hi Faye and welcome. There is nothing tricky here. Just ask a question and the members will help. Dennis.

  6. #6
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    You could also look at lessons by Soham Harrison on YouTube. His very early ones are extremely helpful and I learnt a lot from watching them. I also made a load of jump rings in different sizes which taught me a lot about soldering.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
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    Bourne, Lincolnshire
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Hi Faye and welcome. There is nothing tricky here. Just ask a question and the members will help. Dennis.
    May I ask what the best tool for buffing and polishing is? There are so many to choose from. I make resin in precious metal and also silver clay, of course hoping to expand into soldering but still learning the techniques first.

    Also, I've seen an experienced lady from Market Deeping Post alot, is she no longer on the forum? MuranoSilver I believe (just up the road to me)

  8. #8
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    Central London
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    Hi Faye,

    Nicola of Murano Silver, sadly is no longer with us. In fact it is doubtful whether the shop at Market Deeping is hers any more.

    Do learn to solder as soon as possible. Without that skill you will not be able to fulfil your full potential as a jeweller.

    The go-to machine for polishing both silver and acrylic is the bench polisher. The one by Foredom is powerful but does not take up much space.
    That said, If you already have a pendant motor, or a micromotor, that will do fine for small items and low volume. If you dont have either, then one of those should take priority.

    Lastly for silver, but not acrylic, a tumbler might suit your present needs. Dennis.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2020
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    Bourne, Lincolnshire
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    Hi Dennis,

    Thank you for your reply, muchly appreciated. Yes soldering is my next mission, I intended on taking a course but for now watching as many videos as possible. I looked at tumblers but see mixed reviews. Most of my jewellery I hand polish because it's smooth, rather than textured. Your work is beautiful by the way. Faye

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Nancy Hamilton also produces very entertaining and instructive videos on YouTube. She's as mad as a bunch of frogs but her relaxed style takes some of the fear in trying something new. I agree regarding Andrew Berry and Soham Harrison. Again, very different styles and both very good. I have learnt a great deal from these three.

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