This is a guide to little known fact and cheap tricks to making jewelry of a finer quality and how to make things even better. This guide will go through techniques and useful info into making better jewelry.
To start must have absolutely no questions hands down must have tools are a Jewelers ring mandrel with sizes. This is crucial because with out it you will be making square rings and they won't fit right. The next piece it's a propane torch. This is needed to soften metal and to make it easy to form also it stops thee ring from cracking and splitting. Pliers are another must. They allow you to handle red hot metal without becoming red hot yourself. I've touched a red hot coin it left me with a scar for months. Also I advise a 9 piece punch and die set from harbor freight. Don't buy anywhere else. Harbor freight has good coupons all the time and they are a discount store a punch and die set is 30$ with a 25% off coupon it because a 22$ purchase. Amazon sells them for 75$ on average. Also a Doming block, again from harbor freight. On amazon it is over 100$ that's a lot of money. I used a 25% off coupon and got my set for 30$.
Step 1: Smaller Rings
You can make smaller rings with a torch and a Doming set. When you have a piece of metal on a mandrel as you fold it down into a ring the size increases. If you make you initial whole smaller then the ring mandrel and use a Doming block set to get the ring halfway done and have a ring become a size 5 instead if a size 9. This is another hint I learned from experience.
Step 2: Cheap High Grit Sand Paper
This sounds silly I know bear with me. Every thing has a bit of coarseness to it. News paper it's very very fine and it works great to help smoother out tiny flaws. This is cheap and it can be done with those pesky phone books or notebooks and it doesn't cost 5$ either. This is probably (just a guess I have never tested this or searched this info) ne'er 5000 grit sand paper it is very fine and it works and it is something that most people have laying around.
Step 3: Better Rings
Drills are nice I understand that. But you can experiment and make a jig to hold metal or coins or whatever you are making into a ring perfectly center so you ring comes out better. I prefer a punch and die set. It makes perfectly round holes and you can make a jig for it to hold your material center. If the whole in the ring stars out bad the rings will be lop-sided and can affect the finished ring.
Step 4: Annealing
To anneal metal it is recommended to be in the dark and heat metal until it glows light red. This is nice, but if you work in the daytime it can be hard. It's a poor idea to have a 2000 degree torch in your house with the lights off for obvious reasons. And working in the dark can be tough to see crucial details such as where your quench water is and what not. So the solution to anneal in the light is to use a sharpie marker. When the coin gets hot enough the sharpie disappears. This means oh don't have to be up at late hours to work as you don't have to be in a dark shed or house with hot metal.
Step 5: Polishing
I mentioned this in all my guides. I use mothers mag and aluminum polish. It's all I use and all I will ever use. It works great on all metal, it doesn't give off hazardous fumes. Also it is cheap. Don't buy from amazon, autozone or other places like these. At ace hardwar I found a 5oz bottle for 8$ and some change. At Walmart the sell a 10oz can for less then 5$ it's the cheapest I found. It's called mothers mag and aluminum polish. It says on the can perfect for all metal. This is true I haven't found a metal it doesn't work on. It's not abrasive either so it doesn't eat away at the metal. It can be handled by your hand without gloves, it doesn't hurt you or your metal. It works on scorched metal oxidized metal and dirty metal.
Step 6: Working With Metal
Metal when it's cold can crack and split. This is the enemy of good jewelry. To avoid this you need to torch the ring material. Anneal it and then it won't crack until it gets to cool. Also I know that quenching is recommended, but I don't quench. I think it is ne'er pointless to heat a metal to make it easy to bend and then cool it and make it hard again. I use pliers to handle hot metal and I am careful. Touching hot Mattel is not fun trust me I touched it once and I learned my lesson the first time.
Step 7: Freedom in the Shop
The point of making jewelry is to show who we are and where we were as where we want to be. You should make jewelry from what ever defines you. I come from a poor family, so I decided to be funny and I make rings from coins. It is one of those things that is a contradiction, but it is just art so no one can judge. I thought of making coin jewelry because my aunts father made his wife's wedding ring from a silver half dollar. I thought that it would be fun. I took a family story and I expressed it into my passion. That's what jewelry should be.
Step 8: As a Job
When you buy from a jewelry store they sell different types of rings if you find two of the same type they will look exactly the same. When you buy from a craftsman the quality differs, you don't just buy the metal, you buy his time and his failures and his successes. It buys his knowledge and it shows in his work.