My first metalsmithing project - Copper stacking rings!

hammered copper stacking ringsHey Everyone! Okay so here is my very very first metalsmith project. I have never used a torch or soldered until today...finally. And, this is what I made! I started off using 16 guage pure copper wire and some copper solder wire to make these rings come together.

So.. this is what I did: I cut lengths of wire for 6 rings using 16g copper wire for size 7. I sanded down the ends. I then hammered them into a circle shape using my mandrel and hammer. I brought the two ends together using some pliers. At this point I may have filed the ends a little more to make sure they were flush and completely touching. I then actually dipped the ring in the flux..(no pre heating for me). Using the micro torch, I heated the circles and the two joints and used the copper wire solder for the very first time. When the flux started to turn white with some bubbling action I applied the wire solder to the joint and WOW..that was easy! The solder just balled up and melted in the joints. You can see this event neat! I tried one ring using a cut piece of solder, but I find it harder that way trying to keep it where it needed to stay. I dig wire much easier for me. I then put the rings in the pickle and almost instantly they became the red copper tone.

shiny copper stacking rings
Now, the tricky part was filing sanding and polishing. I have a flex shaft tool and I used a grind stones for metal deburring first to remove extra solder in the seams. Then, I used another polishing wheel medium, and then used sand paper 600 grit. I had nothing higher then that. I have the buffing compounds and the buffing wheels but I did not have time to go that far. I then proceeded to put the rings in a tumbler with steel shots for about an hour. I had a bit of trouble holding the rings during the polishing process. I am not sure what people do in this part of the process. I think I am going to buy a flex shaft holder from Rio now..that I tried this.

hand forged copper stacking ringsI have to say it did take me pretty much all day...whew! I hope at some point I can perfect my new found skills fairly soon with some practice. The seams are still showing in silver even though I used copper solder...I am not sure why? I still want to learn to get that super high polished look with the buffs and tripoli. Next on my list.

Any advice? Any comments? Any tips? Learning to be a metalsmith is so fun, but I know there are alot of tips and great techniques out there. These are all greatly appreciated..thank you! Have a great day everyone!

faceted rose cut garnet cabochonFaceted Rose Cut Garnet Cabochons 8mm

Please visit 101 Best Beads for beautiful high quality affordable cabochons and gemstones!

Metal Smithing - Free Online Tutorials

You Tube has been amazing. You can learn a lot from all kinds of friendly people willing to share a tip or two!

Two places online I look to for metalsmithing info are Ganoksin and YouTube ! Simply insert the technique or term you are looking for in the search window and hopefully you will find something of interest.

Here are just a few interesting tutorials I have also found online:

Bezel Setting Tutorial

Making Strong Secure Jumprings from How-To-Make-Jewelry

Making a lot of Headpins Free Tutorial from Etsy

Jewelry 101 - Making Headpins from Michon Jewelry Blog

Making Headpins: Video demo from Beading Daily

Patinas - Using Liver of Sulphur from Holly Gage

Pantinas from Ganoskin - this site here alone is filled with immense amounts of information from serious jewelry artist!

Fold Forming from Ganoksin

Lost Wax Casting from Expert Village

Viking Knit Chain Making from YouTube

Beginners Corner from Ganoksin
- on the left hand side of this site you will see the word "Articles" under this word click "Browse by category", this will open up a great list to chose from.

From Beginning to Very Complex - Tutorials by Hans Meevis

Bench Jewelers Television Network - some of this is free or for a small monthly fee you can attain some great tutorials here.

MetalSmithing from Art Jewelry Magazine

MetalSmithing from Jewelry Artist Magazine

How to make a tube bezel setting for faceted gemstones

As you know I am just learning about metal smithing too! Please visit my Blog archive for other posts on the tools, equipment, and experiences on what I have been learning.

As always 101BestBeads is a great place to get your high quality, affordable cabs for setting in your lovely designs.

Thanks everyone!