Please welcome guest writer, Erica Stice.
Erica Stice is the Studio Coordinator at Halstead
, a wholesale jewelry supplier and proud
reseller of Wubbers pliers. She teaches metalsmithing classes to the Halstead team in their on-site jewelry studio. Her designs have appeared in Lapidary Journal, Belle Armoire and Beadwork Magazines.
Making Sterling Silver Pattern Wire Ring Bands
You can make a lot of great hoops, loops and round jewelry findings with Wubbers Mandrel Pliers; but, did you know you can also shape rings made out of sterling silver pattern wire?
Playing in the studio the other day, I picked up our Wubbers Jumbo Round Mandrel Pliers and a piece of pattern wire, and began to shape the pattern wire around the smaller mandrel. The sterling silver pattern wire
that I used was dead soft and I was pleased to see it wrapped around the 18mm jaws fairly easily. I knew then and there that it would make a great tool to use when making pattern wire ring bands. Rings are trending so now is a great time to explore ring making techniques
Choose the jaw size that you wish to use for the band. Next pick out a pattern wire. Because I wanted to match the pattern on the wire so the soldering join blends together, I chose a 3.5in piece of wire and the 18mm jaw. I had plenty of wire left over on either side!
Wrap the wire around the jaw, if it becomes work hardened use a rawhide hammer to help shape it.
Plan where the cut(s) will be and mark them with a permanent marker.
Use a jewelers saw or your favorite cutters to cut just along the outside of the previously marked spot. You will want it 1-2mm longer than needed.
Straighten out your wire by hand or with a rawhide hammer, then place it in a ring holder with 1mm or less hanging over the edge (make sure the wire is lined up straight inside the ring clamp). Insert the wedge tightly at the other end of the clamp.
Use a flat file to file away the small piece of pattern wire sticking out at the end of the clamp. This is a quick way to file a piece of wire flat. Repeat with the other end of the wire. This step is important so you will have a tight fit to get a good soldering connection.
Bring the two ends together using nylon jawed pliers and make sure the ends lie flush together at the join. Don’t worry about the ring shape at this point. You will round it out later.
Flux, add a piece of medium solder, and heat until it flows. Pickle, quench and dry.
Re-shape the ring using a ring mandrel and rawhide hammer. When finished it should fit perfectly on the jaw of the mandrel that you used.
Clean and polish up your ring and you’re finished!
When all was said and done, the mandrels saved time and you could knock out several rings at once without needing to use calipers and the formula. Also the jaws are not tapered like a ring mandrel so you could shape it on the mandrel jaw at the end for a perfect round stacking ring.