When I decided to ask my wife to marry me, I started looking for the perfect ring. My sister pointed me to http://www.goldenknots.com/. The rings featured there are Turk's head knots made by Loren Damewood. They are beautiful but I wanted a ring with a diamond. I really liked the Turk's head idea, though, as knot tying is a hobby of mine. It occurred to me, that I could make the ring and that would make it all the more special. My knot hobby at that point consisted mostly of writing programs to generate instructions for how to tie knots, rather than actually tying them, but I had tied a few, so I gave it a shot. After many months of learning and experimenting, I was able to create the ring above. In this instructable, I'll go through the steps that I took to make it! I want to stress that I'm not a jeweler, and this is the only real piece of jewelry that I've made by hand. You could count the 20 or so practice rings that I made while I was figuring how I wanted the ring to look, but if you're going to tackle this project, I think you're going to have to do the same. It definitely takes practice, patience and some experimenting!
I'll start by explaining how to tie the band in steps 1-7. It will take practice to get it right, so once you've mastered those steps, we'll move on to tying the basket which will surround the diamond and how to weave that in with the band. Then finally, I'll show you how to reinforce the knot with a 3D printed gold band, which the diamond setting will also be attached to.
Step 1: What you'll need
1. A print out of the knot we're going to tie. I'll show you how to get this in the next step.
2. Any kind of clear tape.
3. 3/64" drill bit. The hardware stores I checked only stocked bits down to 1/8". You can find these on amazon: http://amzn.to/10WJtLf
4. Wire cutters.
5. Jewelry pliers. These are needle nose pliers with round tips.
6. Ring sizer. Any local craft store should have one of these. This actually isn't absolutely necessary, but it can be handy.
7. Wire. I used 28 gauge, 18K dead soft gold wire. Make sure you get dead soft wire, or you'll be surprised how stiff it is! To practice you'll want to pick up some beading wire from your local craft store. I experimented with many different gauges ranging from 20 down to 32. 32 was a bit too tiny for my taste, and 24 and above makes for pretty rings without needing any reinforcement (you'll notice a gold band reinforcing the ring I made). Make sure to get plenty of practice before moving to gold wire, which you can find on etsy. Many of pictures I'll show will be of the beading wire. I was pretty focused when I was using real gold wire and didn't take many pictures.
8. T-pins. You can pick these up at any office supply store or steal them from work like I did.
9. A drill or dremel. If you use a drill you may need a chuck to fit your 3/64" bit. I got mine on amazon: http://amzn.to/14WVnIa
10. A hammer, this is only necessary if you get the ring stretcher that requires it (see #12).
11. A small diameter dowel. Anything 1/8" diameter or below. A skewer or strong toothpick would work. We'll use it to tie the basket around.
12. A ring stretcher. Again, amazon is great: http://amzn.to/1adGUsy
13. A pool cue. Get the cheapest one you can find. I went to a local billiards store and asked the owner for a cheap cue that I wouldn't even be using to play pool and he went in the back and came out with this. He didn't even charge me.
Step 2: Printing out your knot
Once you have it installed, open the image you saved. Make sure it's 558 x 85 pixels (it should say it in the title bar). Then go to File, Print... Click the Image Settings tab and change the X and Y resolution to 300. Print it out and cut it as pictured.
If you need a differently sized knot, you can use this program to generate the image for it: http://freakinsweetapps.com/knots/knotgrid/advanced.html
My wife's ring is actually a 4 part 19 bight Turk's head, but the knot above is a bit more spread out and easier to photograph. You'll have to experiment with what works for you, but the tool linked above can tie any sized Turk's head.
Step 3: Setting up your mandrel
Step 4: Tie the knot
Some things to keep in mind:
* You'll want as few pins in as possible, just to keep your sanity. You'll always want the pin that you're coming from and the pin you're going to and enough pins elsewhere to keep the knot from moving too much.
* With this specific knot, you'll always be skipping a single pin as you go from top to bottom or from bottom to top.
* A spare T-pin is great for lifting up a wire that you need to go under.
* You never want the wire to kink, so be slow and deliberate when pulling the wire under another and if it does start to kink, pull the kink open to form a more open loop that will slip through more easily.
* If you're used to tying Turk's heads with rope, you may be used to going through and removing slack from the knot at the end. That doesn't work with wire, so try to keep everything as clean as possible while tying it. We do snug everything up at the end by stretching the knot, but the cleaner it is before stretching, the better.
* This is a 4 part knot, which means you'll be going around the mandrel 4 times before coming back to the beginning.
* Starting half way through your wire is a good idea. Every time you pull a wire under another you're bending it, which works the metal. If you work the metal enough, it will get stiff and eventually break (like bending a piece of wire back and forth over and over). If you start in the middle and tie half the knot one way, you'll be using unworked wire when you go back around the other way with the other half. We'll be doubling up the knot, so we'll tie a complete knot with half the wire, and then double it up with the other half, going back the other direction.
Step 5: Double up the knot
When you're done with the second pass, you can even go a third or fourth time if you like, but you'll likely need to cut a bigger piece of wire in the beginning to do so. We'll just be doing two passes here, so once you complete the second pass, you can take it off the mandrel.
Step 6: Stretch the knot
If you're making the ring for someone else, this is where your ring sizer will come in handy. My wife's finger happens to be the same size as my pinky, but if you don't have such an easy way to measure, you can use a ring sizer to see if it's right. Keep in mind that we're going to be adding a reinforcing band as well, so you'll have to stretch the knot about 2 sizes larger than you want the ring to actually be.
Step 7: Snip the ends
Step 8: Practice tying the basket with rope
1. Wrap around and cross Over.
2. Come back around and again cross Over.
3. On the back side cross Under, Over.
4. On the front side cross Under, Over.
5. Go around and near the bottom go Over, Under, Over.
6. At the top go Over, Under, Over.
7. Then back around to the bottom and go Under, Over, Under, Over.
8. You should be back at the beginning so go Under to start following the knot around again.
9. Follow the whole knot around again. In the next step we'll be doing 3 passes with wire.
Images can be a bit hard to follow, so I've also put together a video of how to tie it:
Before moving on, make sure you can tie this from memory. Once you start using wire, it's easy to get lost. A good way to memorize it is to remember the 7 over/under sequences, which are 1) Over 2) Over 3) Under, Over 4) Under, Over 5) Over, Under, Over 6) Over, Under, Over 7) Under, Over, Under, Over. Notice that except for the last step, each step is repeated twice, so it's really only remembering 4 things.
Step 9: Wire basket
3. Under, Over
4. Under, Over
5. Over, Under, Over
6. Over, Under, Over
7. Under, Over, Under, Over
8. Double up the knot
At this point the knot may look pretty messy. With pliers you can stretch it out a bit to straighten everything out. You'll want to go around one more time to give it a third pass. Then you'll have your basket!
Step 10: Weave in the basket
Step 11: Reinforcing the knot
Step 12: Setting the diamond
Step 13: Finished product
This project inspired me to develop an app which can generate 3D models of Turk's head knots which can be 3D printed and used as rings, pendants, earrings and more! The app is still in its early stages and a 3D printer would be a huge help while developing it. Please consider voting for my instructable to help me win one! To see examples of what my app will be able to create, check out this instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Anatomy-of-a-3D-printed-Turks-head/. You can also check out my Facebook page: http://facebook.com/freakinsweetknots.
UPDATE: I've released the first version of my app, which can design Turk's head rings for 3D printing! It uses Shapeways to handle the 3D printing so you don't need a 3D printer to use it. You can try it out here: http://knots.freakinsweetapps.com
I hope you enjoyed this instructable! I'll be putting together more instructables of knots that I've tied soon. Follow me to stay tuned!