Experiment: Hammered Rings from “Wire Fusing & Other Micro-Torch Techniques” DVD
Author: Denise Peck
Price: $14.95 (as a video download unless you can find the DVD somewhere else)
I love stacking rings but I’ve never made any. I believe I purchased this DVD when it was originally released back in 2009. I haven’t tried any of the projects on it until now.
14g Fine silver wire cut to appropriate length for intended ring size
6″ Ruler (optional)
Round/Flat Nose Nylon Pliers – one side is tapered round and the other is flat (optional)
ASIC Joint Cutter (optional)
Metal Flat Needle File
Blazer Butane Micro-Torch
Heat Resistant Tweezers
Water in a small plastic bowl (for quenching)
Steel Ring Mandrel with US ring sizes
Chasing Hammer (Ball Peen Hammer is used in the video)
4″ Steel Block (optional)
Lortone Tumbler (optional)
Stainless Steel Shot – mine is the mixed shape shot (optional)
Dawn dish washing liquid – Original scent blue (optional)
This experiment was a bit different from last week because it was on a DVD. Video experiments are fantastic for sharing tricky techniques. For instance, as soon as the metal reached the fusing temperature, Denise quickly pulled the torch away from it. That’s the kind of detail it’s difficult to show in a pdf.
I used 14g fine silver wire and planned to make a set of Five Hammered Rings. I cut five wires to the size the experiment instructions recommended. The next step is to file the ends flat.
I have trouble filing perfectly flat ends on wire. Mine always slant one way or the other and then the join doesn’t line up. So I file more and end up wasting silver or in the case of a ring band, removing so much metal that the ring is the wrong size. My solution to this is the ASIC Joint Cutter tool. I purchased mine a few years ago from Rio Grande but there are less expensive ones available. I don’t even bother trying to hand file a flat end anymore. I just pop the wire or sheet metal in the Joint Cutter and it comes out perfect every time. That’s how I made the ends of my wire flat for this project.
As you may have noticed in the first photo, there are only four completed rings. That’s because I left the heat on one ring too long. Instead of fusing the wire, I melted it. I tried to fix it by holding it vertically and heating it. I’d hoped that the silver would flow down and smooth out the joint. It just made it worse. So I ended up tossing this one in the scrap jar.
The remaining four rings fused beautifully. I was surprised by how little effort fusing took compared to soldering. I quenched my rings in water. Denise reminds you to dry the rings completely before you put them on your steel ring mandrel. Water does not play nice with steel tools. It will rust and I appreciated her calling that out.
I textured the rings on the mandrel as directed until they reached the appropriate size. I noticed the edges of mine were kind of uneven and bumpy after texturing. I wanted them to fit together as a set. So I put mine on a steel block and lightly hammered the side to flatten it. I flipped it and did the same on the other side. That gave me flat, even rings that sit well in a stack. If you want a more rustic look, you might want to leave them more uneven.
The rings looked great and were very strong. I wondered it the fine silver would be too soft for such a thin ring. But the texturing process work hardened the wire nicely. I tried hand polishing one with a Sunshine Cloth. The texture left by my beat up hammer was pretty dull and didn’t polish well. If I had used a hammer with a smoother head, I might have had a better result. I decided to throw the rings in the tumbler with steel shot, water, and a couple drops of Dawn.
The tumbling softened the texture on mine a little but left me with bright, shiny rings. I am really pleased with the result of this experiment. I do wish Denise had included a better shot or closeup of her finished rings. They were filmed from above so you couldn’t see the texture she achieved. I give the video points though for showing the fusing process up close and in detail. That was helpful to view before you attempt it on your own. Overall, the Hammered Rings project is a solid introduction to fusing and you can use your rings immediately. I’ve been wearing mine almost every day.