Ok, the title is a little misleading.
There’s way more than 8 steps and not all of them are easy… but I thought I’d boil it down for you!
In case you were wondering, I am talking about FB’s ring that she won in my blog giveaway in September.
I JUST finished it. And I photographed the process for ya, guys! It’s actually pretty cool!
So lets get down to business.
FB is a size 7. I begin by taking the measurements of a size 7 ring blank, metal thickness and length. I do some whiz-bang math to figure out how much silver I need to use.
I measure it out with my calipers and off we go!
I will admit I cheated a little. Instead of using generic sheet metal, I used some pre-formed bar. This was easier for me to cut and had a nicer finish than sheet silver.
Although it was thicker, so it was a little more difficult to work with!
Anyway, after measuring, I cut the silver to the size I want, and sand down the edges on a series of sandpaper that gets finer and finer. This is so that when I bend the silver the edges will meet cleanly and join together properly when I solder them with the torch.
Before I can solder the join, the piece needs to be annealed so I can actually manipulate the silver.
Annealing is essentially a softening process. The silver is heated up by the torch, then left in an acid bath for a little while. When the process is complete the silver is much easier to bend and form.
Annealing is super cool to witness. First the piece is bathed in a mixture of borax and alcohol, then it’s ready for the fire!
When the flame of the torch (which is already blue with oxygen) hits the borax mixture on the silver, it turns green!
I totally love this part. Makes me feel all magical and stuff!
The silver is heated until it glows a lovely shade of cherry red. Check it out!
After that I pop it in the pickle (the acid bath) and it soaks for a little while to get cleaned off.
This is usually the part where I start working on another project while I wait for it to finish, but you get the condensed version!
I’m not sure what is in the pickle exactly. All I know is that my studio uses adorable little Mini Dipper Crockpots to keep it hot 😉
You can see in the photo that I’m dropping the piece into the liquid from up high–that it to avoid plating the silver with the copper from the tongs! If you do it slowly, the copper will transfer onto your silver piece!
After the silver has stewed in the pot for a bit, we neutralize the acid with baking soda and wash it in the sink.
Next up is shaping the lump of silver into a real ring blank. But you’ll have to stay tuned for that!
The posts are kinda photo-heavy so I have to split them up to preserve my sanity (Plus, I want you guys to come back!)
In the next post you’ll see the final processes leading up to the finished ring!
Keep your eyes peeled for part two over the next few days. Also, feel free to leave any questions or comments in the comments section!