Sunday, 21 September 2014

September 21

Project Progress

Finished the custom ring yesterday.  With the table ready to go, I shaped the ring shank by soldering the ends and hammering the ring on a steel mandrel to make it round.

File and Sand, File and Sand

Once the shank was round, it was time to get all the surfaces clean and smooth. Here is the ring shank on a half-round file. I use the rounded side to ream out the inside of the ring, removing any rough spots and putting a bevel on the edges so the ring will be comfortable to wear. That counts, right ;-) The flat side of the file give the outside of the ring the same treatment.

In this photo, I have done the bevel but have not filed the outer surface, which is why the edges are so much shinier than the face.

Now It Gets Ugly

With the shank fully formed and cleaned, it was time to attach the table. That is a solder job. First, I sand the center of the back of the table and also a spot on the ring shank. That provides a slightly rough texture so the solder will cling (it hates shiny surfaces). Next, I laid the table, wrong side up, on a charcoal block, painted the area for soldering with flux and placed a couple of tiny pieces of solder on it. A moment with the torch and the solder melted onto the back of the table. Next, with heat-resistant tweezers, I positioned the ring shank and heated both pieces until the solder flowed and joined the parts.

Looks pretty grim, doesn't it? The black is just flecks of charcoal that stuck to the face of the table. Those wash off in a quick water rinse. The dull surface, however, is the result of heating the silver and requires a bath in mild acid to clean it off. After that, the piece goes through some serious polishing.

The Final Result

And, at last, here it is. Cleaned up well, didn't it?