A Cautionary Tale: Making a Ring

Several months ago, I set out to make a ring for my girlfriend. I wanted something that wasn't so basic and boring. So, I happened upon the Turk's Head Engagement Ring Instructable made by Allwine Designs and got to work on making a low budget version of the same thing. I have never made a ring before, nor have I ever soldered anything. So, I knew at the outset that this would be a challenge. But I also knew I could overcome it.

If you want to make a ring as I did, I encourage you to read through my tale of woe and learn from it, but definitely check out Allwine Design's Instructable.

Step 1: Choosing and Gathering My Materials

As I mentioned previously, I wanted to make a budget version of Allwine Design's ring. So, while he used gold to create his ring, I chose brass as my material. Brass is much cheaper and it comes in colors similar to gold.

Materials:

- Wooden Mandrel (one you are willing to put holes in)

- Brass Sheet 6" Width x 12" Length, 26 gauge

- Pins

- 28 Guage, Round, Yellow Brass, Dead Soft Wire

Tools:

- Drill

- 1/16 Drill bit

- Metal Shears

- Solder

Step 2: Preparation for the Knot

First, I needed to decide on the size of the ring I was going to make. I was making mine for my girlfriend and she didn't know her ring size, so I wrapped a piece of paper around her finger, marked it, and checked what size it was on my mandrel.

Once I knew the size of my ring, I needed to prepare the Turk's knot pattern. I followed Allwine Design's suggestion and used this program to get a template. The program isn't super intuitive, but there is a tutorial at the top of the page. I fiddled around with the program, using a bit of trial and error until I got a pattern that matched the length I needed.

Step 3: Preparing the Mandrel

Next, I needed to prepare the mandrel. I taped my template to my mandrel at the size that matched my girlfriend's finger, erring just on the smaller size so I could leave room for the knot to be stretched later.

Once the template was secured I used an electric drill with a 1/16" drill bit to put holes in the mandrel. I only needed to drill about 1/4" down. I drilled holes in the white sections of the template, between where the wire would be woven.

To finish my preparation of the mandrel, I used pliers to force pins into the holes, making sure they would not fall out if tipped upside down.

Step 4: Weaving the Turk's Knot

Next, I began weaving the Turk's knot that would go around the band of the ring. I started by securing one end of the wire to the mandrel with a piece of tape. I then followed the pattern, making sure to thread my wire under or over when the pattern mandated.

I did this twice, the second time keeping the wire alongside the wire from the first time.

Step 5: Where It All Fell Apart

To finish off the Turk's knot, I used the pliers to take the pins out of the mandrel and I carefully removed the knot from the mandrel.

Everything had been so smooth up to this point. This point was where everything fell apart. When I took the knot off of the mandrel, it lost its shape and the knot was indiscernible in the tangle of wires.

I tried again, this time at every point I wrapped the second wire around the first. And still, when I took it off: wire spaghetti.

I tried again, this time using "all material" adhesive to glue the joints together. When I took it off of the mandrel it held! Until it recieved the slightest adjustment and the glue broke and once again, I had created a golden Tangela.

I felt like there was no hope.

Step 6: Cut Out the Band

After my harrowing experience with the Turk's knot, I needed a break. So, I began work on the actual band of my ring. I cut out the band to be about 1/2" in width and to match the circumference of my girlfriend's finger. To do this, I used metal shears.

Step 7: It's Getting Hot in Here, But Not Hot Enough: Soldering the Band

This is where taking pictures of my process became of a much lower priority than getting the ring done. My next step was soldering the ends of the band together. I have never soldered before this, but I watched several tutorials and had a classmate show me how. Unfortunately, I could not get the brass to melt with the solder I was using, so I could not form any sort of strong bond.

Step 8: Weaving the Ends of the Band Together

I realized after a few attempts that soldering wasn't going to work for me. My teacher suggested that instead, I could drill two holes at each end of my band and use my wire to tie them together.

So, with my teachers help, we drilled one hole into the band using the smallest drill bit we could find and hammered the rest of them in with the skinniest nail we could find. If you do this, be sure either to suspend your metal with a clamp so you don't hammer into a table or put a piece of scrap wood underneath your metal. Once the holes were made, I used the wire I had been using to weave the knot to weave the ends of the ring together, making sure to go through each hole several times to create a secure bond.

Step 9: Take Your Tears and Improvise

When at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again. And if you still don't succeed... abandon your original goal and improvise. Suffice it to say, I gave up on the Turk's knot. I'm not proud, but I didn't know what else to try with the materials I had. I think now perhaps a thicker wire would've done me better.

I had given up, but I still had to get this ring made. So, I improvised.

I took the ends of the wires I had just used to bind my band along with a third unused wire to create a braid that wrapped around the ring.

At this point, the braid was loose and didn't stay in place on the ring and I had barely finished it because one of the three wires was much shorter than the others. This also meant that two of the wires were much too long. To solve both of these problems, I took the two wires and crossed them over several times in different parts of the ring.

Step 10: Finalize Your Regret

To get this ring done and over with, I twisted all of the excess wires together where the band meets and used pliers to arrange it into a more pleasing shape.

This didn't work really well because the wire still untwists and becomes loose.

At least my girlfriend still loves me.

If you have any suggestions on how I can improve the ring at this point, please let me know. Also let me know if you have any questions about my process.

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    2 Discussions

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    JadeS27

    2 months ago

    Your issue with the knot seeming messy just sounds like you need to stretch it a touch on your ring sizer first - you don't start out with the knot at the right ring size, you want to make one at a smaller size then stretch it up which will ideally remove any gaps that will cause the whole thing to fall apart. For the brass, I believe a propane torch is best for soldering with it, so it seems likely that your iron just wouldn't get hot enough.

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    audreyobscura

    2 months ago

    Thank you for posting this! I swear it's just as important to share our failures as it is our wins! I hope someone has a good suggestion for you in the comments :D