Introduction: Hand-Forged Ring With CA Glue Inlay
Today I'd like to show you how I made this hand forged ring out of the bare minimum tools, most of which you probably already have at home if you're a tinkerer like me.
The inlay is done using cyanoacrylate/CA glue, normally for inlays you would use UV curing resins but these are a LOT more expensive and can sometimes be hard to come by.
So far the ones I've done using CA glue has held up exceptionally well and personally see no difference compared to UV curing resin.
Let's get started...
Step 1: What You'll Need:
To make this Instructable you will need the following:
- 2mm Bronze rod
This can be found at your local hardware store in the welding/brazing section. I recommend using bronze when learning and then moving on to precious metals later.
- Cyanoacrylate glue with activator
If you have UV curing resin available you can also use that instead.
- Semi-precious stones of your choice
In this Instructable I decided to go with turquoise as I think the color compliments the bronze well.
- Silver solder
- a Butane/propane blow torch
- Some masking/painters tape
- a Hammer
- an Anvil** (at $15 I highly recommend getting something like this)
Any piece of heavy metal with a smooth surface can be used, before I made myself this small jewellers anvil I used an old hammer head mounted in a vice and it worked great.
- Sanding paper 220 to 1500 grit
- Metal polishing compound
- Leather safety gloves
- Included in this Instructable is a 3D printable lathe chuck that works great if you plan on making a lot of these.
- A Dremel
- Sanding drums
- Rubber abrasives
- Felt polishing pads
Step 2: Start Forging:
Always wear leather gloves when forging metals, the pieces can cause serious burns even after standing for a while. Always handle your metal as if it is hot.
Now we will need to start shaping our bronze rod.
For this ring you need a rod that is two times the circumference of your ring, mine was a 13cm long rod but I leave about 10cm extra to make handling it easier
You can measure your ring size using a piece of string. Take the string and wrap it around the base of your finger, marking where the string first overlaps with a pen. Then, line that up with a ruler and take down its length
Now we need to anneal the bronze rod, with the butane/propane torch you need to heat up your bronze rod until it gets to a cherry red color.
When the rod has reached temperature you can place the rod on the anvil and start hammering it down on one side, try to keep your hammer head as flat as possible whilst moving across the rod.
While hammering you will feel the bronze getting harder, once you feel this happening you will need to reheat the rod as above.
Flipping the rod over from time to time will help keep it straight.
Keep repeating the above until you've reduced the thickness of the rod from 2mm to just below 1mm.
Now you can reheat the rod and then place it on its side and gently hammer down the side to end up with a uniform bar that's approximately 3mm wide and 1mm thick.
You can now go ahead and remove the excess rod, I use my trusty vintage Knipex cutter.
Step 3: Brazing:
Before we start brazing the parts together we need to create the gap for the inlay.
To do this start by cutting the bronze bar you just forged in halve, now place it on its side on your anvil as pictured and start gently hammering on only one side this will cause the bar to curl upwards.
Do this to both of the bars.
Now we are ready to braze the two bars together.
To braze pieces like this I like to use the metal table of my press drill and some old salvaged magnets to hold the pieces in place.
If you have bare silver solder with separate flux you can now apply some flux to the end where the two bars meet, if like me you have flux covered silver solder rods I like to heat up the piece that needs to get brazed and then rub the fluxed rod over it to melt some onto the piece.
Now heat up the joint with your blow torch to a bright red and flow some of the solder into the joint, repeat on the other side.
Don't worry if its not perfect as we will reflow in the next step.
Step 4: Shaping:
Now after the heat from brazing the two bars together your metal should be annealed and easy to bend.
Start bending the piece around so that the ends meet, if you find it difficult to bend you can wrap some pliers with painters tape and use them to bend the piece.
Bend it into a D so that the pieces that need to be brazed together are flat against each other.
Now like in the previous step apply some flux and heat up the joint to make the solder flow into it, if there is not enough silver solder to fill up the joint add some more just be careful not to let it run down the side.
And now you should have something that's starting to resemble a ring!
Step 5: Roughing It!
We need to now make our ring round, if you have a ball point hammer you can place the ring over the sphere and gently hammer it until it is round. Otherwise you will need to put it on your anvil and gently hammer the high points until you get it as round as possible.
If you have a Dremel it makes this next part a little easier.
It's time to clean up some of the excess solder, I used a drum sanding bit but you can also use a rolled up piece of 120-220 grit sanding paper to sand the inside and outside nice and smooth.
Next I used some rubber compounding bits or 400 grit sanding paper to clean up the slit that that the inlay will go into.
After rough sanding is done we can move onto the inlay.
Step 6: The Inlay:
For the inlay we are going to need to break down our semi-precious stones into smaller pieces.
To do this I used the cap from an old spray can (I always keep these to mix things like resin in instead of using new cups) and add some beads, for this ring I only used about 3 beads.
Then using a nice and heavy hammer I started to break them down, how much depends on how you want your inlay to look. For this one I left quite big chunks as I wanted it to be transparent with chunks of turquoise in between. But if you want a very uniform inlay you can continue hammering them until you are left with a fine powder.
Now that you have your fine stones for the inlay we can use some masking/painters tape to create a barrier on the inside of the ring for the CA glue to pool in while we insert the stones.
With the sticky side outwards stick a layer of tape on the inside of your ring, the adhesive on the tape will create a release that makes it easy to tear away when your CA glue has hardened.
Take your bottle of CA glue and squeeze some into the cavity of the ring, you want to make sure you've gotten it into all of the corners.
Now take some of your stone powder and push it into the glue, over this we will be applying another layer of glue making sure all of the stones are covered.
If you see any air bubbles in the glue you can just use a needle to pop them.
With the cavity now full you can take the can of CA activator and spray a little over top of it, I hold the can about 30cm away from the ring and just give it a quick spray. If you spray too much at once it will set too quickly causing it to shrink and bulge up.
The glue should harden basically instantly but just to be sure the inside is also cured I let it stand for about 30 minutes before peeling off the tape.
Now that it's all cured and your tape is off you can take either 120-220 grit sanding paper or if you have a sanding drum bit and level out the inlay so that it is flush with the rest of the ring.
-> It's very important to wear a mask when you are sanding CA glue! <-
Because I used quite chunky stones in my inlay it took a lot of sanding to knock it down even with an 80 grit sanding drum so I highly recommend using a finer stone powder.
Step 7: Optional: 3D Printed Chuck
If you would like to make more crafts like this in the future I highly recommend you print out one of these lathe chucks by mdkendall on thingiverse.
I included the files that I modified to fit a 5mm shaft that makes it easy to push onto a motor.
This will make sanding and polishing rings a breeze.
Step 8: Finishing:
Now that our inlay is done we can start with the final polish.
I started by rolling up a piece of 220 grit sanding paper and sanding away all the imperfections on the inside and outside, next move up to 400 grit to remove the scratches left by the 220.
Next I placed a piece of 220 grit on a glass pane, rub your ring in circular motions to even out the two sides. Repeat with 400 grit.
Now go over the entire piece with 1500 grit to get rid of any marks that remain from the previous grits.
After you're done with the 1500 grit you should be left with a satin defect free ring ready to be polished.
Now with some felt pads and metal polishing compound start polishing your ring from the coarsest compound to the finest.
When your done with the compound blocks smear some liquid polish onto a soft clean rag and start rubbing away.
You should be left with a shiny mirror finish.
Step 9: You're Done!
And there you have it your brand new hand-forged ring with a CA glue inlay.
The last picture is of a ring I made previously with some of the bronze filings mixed in with the turquoise.
Please share your own creations with me.
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