Feb 14, 2012

Tough Love Ring

I sculpted the original for this ring around this time last year.  I had a mold made and a sample cast in new york city, but when I picked up the ring it looked so crappy that I got depressed and gave up on the design.  Months later, I had another cast from the same mold in Portland - just to test a hypothesis.  Lo and behold, the ring I had cast in Portland looked about ten times better than the one I had done in NYC (meaning less loss of detail and less hand work required for me to finish the ring).  And so I'm finally adding this design to the collection I'm working on.  

Sorry there aren't many photos showing how I sculpted the ring.  After transferring thousands of photos onto two external hard drives, I can't seem to find some I took in jewelry studio last year.  Oh well.  

Follow the link below to see how I made these rings.

I cut a slice of jeweler's ring wax off a tube and used various files and an exacto blade to sculpt the wax.

This wax model will be cast in silver.  

I'll have a rubber mold made of the original silver casting.

Here are a couple rings that were cast from the mold.  They've lost a lot of detail and the hard edges on the facets of the heart.  I'll have to put all that back by hand.

Sawing off the sprue - where the molten metal flowed into the ring.

I'll have to file that down.

Actually, I'll have to file each facet of the heart back into shape.

Not my favorite thing to do.  It's better than soldering, but not as fun as frosting a cake.

To get the facets of the heart smooth and shiny, I'll work it with various grits of sandpaper.

I wrapped superfine sandpaper around a sanding stick.

Starting to look right.

I applied ultra fine sanding pad to the whole ring.

I need finer sandpaper, really.  

Most of the original texture was lost on the sides of the ring.

I'm going to gently hammer it back in.

Hammering texture into the ring.

That's better.

The casting left a thin metal "scurf"on the edges of the wings.  

I'll file...

...then sand it off.

Getting there.

Using a sanding thingamabob on my flex shaft to clean the inside of the ring.

After cleaning the inside.

I oxidized one of the two rings at this point.

The silver is black and dull after a few seconds in the sulphur.

I brushed with brass to shine it up without removing too much of the oxidation.  

The other ring I left as it was - with a bright silver finish.

Rings are a tuffy.  I love making them, but because I'd lose my mind if I had to make each one in a bunch of different sizes, I don't have many ring designs for sale.  I'm working' on it.  You can buy this ring in my Etsy shop here:  tough love ring in Frankie's etsy shop.

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