So I got married a year ago yesterday. Despite the wonderful reason for making them in this case, I must confess, rings aren’t my favourite things to make. It is kind of fine if you don’t have a particular size to aim for but generally I find them fiddly and frustrating getting a perfect fit.
The design for my own ring was to mix metals, one of my favourite things to do, and I decided for a silver band with a copper band in the middle. I figured I could achieve this two ways, make the band then use a lathe to cut the groove or wax cast the band with groove carved in already. After watching the endlessly patient friend at my class work on their wedding rings I decided to bypass the hand forming the shank and give wax casting a go.
Wax is fun! It is fairly messy but pretty forgiving. It was probably a mistake trying to learn a new skill for something so time sensitive as your own wedding but who wants easy?
So basically you get this cool long tube of wax and cut a piece off just a bit wider than you want so you can file down to the right width. Then my favourite part slicing out the middle to get the right size. This is so fun and therapeutic I went passed my size a couple of times.
Once I had the right thickness I used dividers to score a line round the middle of the ring that would be the groove for the inlay. After talking through the various techniques for inlay this with my teacher Chris Hawkins (a serious master of wax as you can see on his website) we decided to cast the ring a couple of sizes smaller than my size so that I could hand craft the now red gold band slightly bigger and stretch the silver band to fit. As there would be a large amount of work after the casting I didn’t worry about getting a nice finish on the wax and had quite a rough shape back from them.
The design really evolved as I had it. I had planned to file the red gold down to a flush finish but ultimately I liked the look of the raised line and kept it that way. Then came the endless filing to shaped the edges to a comfortable curve. I’ll save my husbands ring for a second post.