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!

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Unknown said...

Great job!! These look amazing. I am having a really tough time with the polishing part of my process, too.

Also, I find the seams to be difficult to conceal at times, too.
I wish I could give you advice, but all I can really give is a shout out of good luck. So...

Good luck!

Darlene Wilson said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm just starting to explore metal smithing now, and that post was really helpful. The rings look great and I'm sure you'll become a great metal smith very soon! I just hope you don't close down your supply shop when you do!

Good Luck :)

KayzKreationz said...

Ì love those. I really love copper and it looks like you did a great job on those rings. Congrats

artsyclay said...

I don't know anything about metalsmithing and think it's great that you're learning! The rings look beautiful!!!

Melanie @ Whimsical Creations said...

Those turned out fantastic!!

Monica said...

What an awesome job! I'm so happy I found your blog. Just in the past month I have started to learn how to solder and am really enjoying it.

I don't have a class near me so I'm having to teach myself and now I hope to get a few pointers from you :)

Anonymous said...

It is extremely interesting for me to read that post. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read more on that blog soon.

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Lela said...

I'm so happy to find this post! I really want to make copper rings to use as jewelry components.

Some jewelry artists say they don't use solder. So I'm not sure how they do it. That way, they don't have the silver color of the solder showing.

Have you figured out anything else with this process?

Thanks for all the info!

Unknown said...

Hey I am just starting to learn metal smithing. I am doing it as a hobby for stress relief from my regular job as a Chemist. It is always nice to hear about other people's adventures so thank you. PS I live in Bend too!