Handmade Buffalo Nickel Ring




Create your own ring using nothing more than a buffalo nickel, a hammer, and a lot of patience and time! Buffalo nickels are nice because they seem to be a little more malleable than the usual nickels you find nowadays.

The basic premise of the project is to hammer along the sides of the coin until they flatten out. This instructable adds a variant where you add another coin on the outside so that it can swivel around the main one. This instructable doesn't have the best pictures, but at least it'll get you goin with the knowledge that it *can* be done!

Things you'll need:

1) A buffalo nickel
2) A Dremel tool (optional but nice to have)
3) A glove (sometimes drilling the coins can make them really hot)
4) A lot of time (anywhere from 10-20 hours, depending on how much effort you put into it)
5) A hammer

Step 1:

First, select a nice buffalo nickel. I'm not sure what a nice one is, but if you have one that has special meaning, that's a good place to start.

Step 2:

Start by hammering out the sides. Put your coin vertically on a hard surface like a concrete floor or an anvil or railroad tie and hammer the edge once, then rotate the coin slowly. Don't hammer the same edge more than once before a full rotation.

If you hammer too quickly or too harshly, the end result becomes a little more chunky rather than smooth, or bits of the coin might also break off. Also, you might end up curling the edges too sharply.

Step 3:


Step 4:

Admire your progress every so often.

Step 5:


Step 6:

Don't worry if the edge starts curling in a bit - you can always sand the inside smooth once all is said and done. Continue until you've got the ring to the size you want and the thickness also right.

Step 7:

Drill a hole in the middle.

Step 8:

Start carving it out. You can use a Dremel or even a Swiss Army knife.

Step 9:

Since I'm using a Dremel to sand out the inside, it gets pretty hot, so I used a glove.

Step 10:

This is what it ends up looking like. I like to end the cut a little smaller so that the words on the coin still remain. Oftentimes people won't believe it's a nickel until you show them the "United States of America" text!

Step 11:

Admire how it looks.

Step 12:

You can also go a bit more and carve out another ring (this time without hammering the edge) from another coin, which can slip around the one you just made.

Step 13:

In that case you'll also want to make a groove in the original ring. You can make a nice groove using a Dremel disk head.

Step 14:

Step 15:

Make a fancy box and put a ring on it!



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    7 Discussions


    Reply 4 years ago

    Honestly its only illegal if your doing it for mal-intended reasons hes not defacing it for the metal, plus if more people do it it will help inflation :).


    4 years ago

    What do you do if you've went to all that trouble then it turns out too big to fit your finger? Is there a way to shrink it down?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    it is nearly impossible to add material and make a ring small, the only way I know is to cut out a section of the band and re-solder it


    6 years ago on Step 8

    What Dremel bit did you use to carve out the hole?


    6 years ago on Step 9

    I would advise against holding this in a glove while using a dremel, use a vice. If the dremel bit gets caught in the glove you run a real risk of serious injury or amutation of a finger.