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Explorations in Metalsmithing: Hollow Fabrication

Lesson 10 of 22

Hollow Fabricated Ring: Sizing and Making the Internal Ring Band

Megan Auman

Explorations in Metalsmithing: Hollow Fabrication

Megan Auman

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Lesson Info

10. Hollow Fabricated Ring: Sizing and Making the Internal Ring Band

Lesson Info

Hollow Fabricated Ring: Sizing and Making the Internal Ring Band

The really general overview of this process is very simply that we are going to build our walls first, so our walls being kind of being our inner band and our outer band, and then, we're gonna place our sheet on them. So, I always like to think of this as, if we remember from our paper model here, we're building cookie cutters, right? So, in this example, there would be another inner ring in there for our inside, but basically, we're building cookie cutters. If that doesn't make any sense to you yet, do not worry, because we are just going to walk through this entire process. So, the first thing that we need to do is make our inner band. So, this is the part that actually goes around your finger; it's the smaller, inner band. And, the inner band is really important because that's the thing that's gonna help us determine if it actually fits our finger. So, there's a lot of different ways to calculate ring blank length; there's some online that are just kind of, fancy charts, but I like ...

to know how to do the math, and we mentioned this in our last segment, but if you purchase the class, all of this, you get a handy little PDF cheat sheet. So, the first thing that you need to do, even before we determine our ring blank length, is determine what size ring we wanna make. So, if you don't have one, this can be a really handy tool, it's just a ring sizer. You can use it if you're gonna make a lot of rings; it's really nice to know. What I have also learned in life is that most people, most of my friends, most people I know, have no idea what their ring size is, so if you wanna really help people out, just start carrying this in your purse, and they're like, I don't know my ring size, and I'm like, here, let me help you. Or, now, usually because I do it so much myself, I'll just have them either try on one of my rings, or give me one of there's, and I'll be like, oh you're a size five and a half, like, I can just tell you that now. But, this is a great tool to have because you can use this to figure out your ring size. And so, you can just slide it on. If you know you're making really wide rings, you can actually buy these that come wider, because the wider your ring gets, actually, the bigger your size needs to be. So, the ways these work is you just slide them on, you see what fits, everyone you're gonna see a number, and then you're gonna see a number with a dash behind it; the number with the dash behind it is the half size, so eight, and then the eight with the little dash behind it is just eight and half, so that's how you know when you're looking at that. So, I tend to know, I'm pretty much my ring and middle fingers are size eight, so we're gonna make a size eight. So, the way that this works is we're gonna start by looking at the inner diameter of our ring. And, for this, I'm gonna work completely in millimeters; it's just easier when you're working at the scale of a ring, instead of trying to work in inches. So, I recommend if you don't have one, get a ruler that has millimeters on it, if you are in the US and still stuck on a crazy way of measuring things. Those of you who are not in the US hopefully will appreciate that we're doing everything in the metric system right now. So, I'm just gonna go ahead and measure this, and we are at, looks like about 18 millimeters diameter, and because it's really hard to remember numbers when you're talking to a camera, I'm gonna write that down. So, I'm gonna go 18 millimeters here on my measurement. And, if you don't have a ring sizer, but you have a ring that fits you well, you can literally just measure the inner diameter of your ring that you already have, right? There's no reason that you have to actually go out and buy this if you're just doing this project for yourself. Measure a ring that you have that you know fits you well, and go from there. And then, I'm gonna take my metal thickness, and in this case we, are working with about 22 gage, so for this project, it depends on kind of how sturdy you want it to be. I think 22 gage is fine; anything thicker and it starts to actually get a little bit heavy, but that said, when you get thinner, if you have a lot of cleanup work to do, you can run the risk of thinning your metal too much. So, 22 gage is good, 20 gage will work. So, I've got, you know, adding in my 0.6. Let me get out my calculator, here. So, I'm gonna put those two things together, and if we look here, and then multiply that times pi. Oops, helps if you turn the calculator on. So, 58.4, and then if our band is more than four millimeters wide we're gonna add another half a millimeter. So, in this case, I actually pre-cut some strips to do our inner and outer band, and those are definitely more than four millimeters wide. So, I'm actually going to add that in there. So, I'm really at about 59, okay? So that makes sense for everybody? So, that's our first step is to go ahead and measure that. So, now I'm gonna go ahead and actually cut this. So, like I said, I pre-cut strips. There is no right or wrong measurement for the thickness of your ring. It really is totally up to you, and what you find comfortable. So, in this case, I pre-cut our strips at about looks like about nine millimeters. I think there was some logic to this, but basically I just cut them. So, kind of deciding do you want to go a little bit thinner, you could go thinner. I probably wouldn't go any thinner than about for or five millimeters on this cause' it just starts to get a little thin and a little difficult to deal with, and I probably wouldn't go much wider than maybe 12 to 14; I think once you get past that you're starting to get pretty fat ring this way on your finger, right? So, somewhere in that range will work for you. So, what I'm gonna do is just mark my metal here. I'm gonna try to find an end that doesn't look too wonky. So, I'm just gonna go ahead and take this, and I'm gonna take my Sharpie, and if I were working on a bigger sheet of metal, I would measure, obviously, my strip; you don't have to pre-cut long strips, you can just literally draw out the shape that you need to cut. But, in this case, I'm just gonna go ahead and mark here at my 59, mark again, and then go ahead and measure that. Alright, so now, I'm just gonna go ahead come over to my jeweler's saw, grab my safety glasses, and I'm gonna cut this out. Where's my stool? I was like, I'm trying to like, grab behind me and it's definitely not behind me. There we go, alright. So, now I'm just gonna come here and cut this out with my jeweler's saw I might need a little bit lubrication on there. And again, you do not have to pre-cut strips, you can just cut this right out of whatever sheet of metal you're working on. But, I wanted to get us a little bit ahead of the game here. Alright, so... In a minute we are going to bend this and come back and actually solder it, but while we're here and we're kind of in our measuring phase, I wanna go ahead and actually measure and cut the rest of my pieces for my external shape, just so that we're not jumping back and forth in terms of our setup. In my own studio, just from a workflow standpoint, I usually have a prep-table, and then I have a different table where I solder, so, in my own studio I would form this, I would go solder it, and then while that's pickling I would do my external shape, but, since we have to keep flipping our table over, we're gonna do all our cutting and measuring first. So, in terms of our external shapes, the measurements for that are really gonna depend on the kind of shape that we want to make. So, in the case of our little example guy here, I basically just made kind of an abstracted loop. So, I'm just gonna measure that to see how long I wanted to make that guy. See now, this is what I do: I flop back and forth between it's about three and 7/8 inches long, so we're gonna use that measurement, just happened to be the side of my tape measure that was sticking up, so I'll go ahead and measure and mark that as well. But, you may also find, so, you can do kind of these really round forms, but you can actually do really pretty much any shape that you want. So, this where again, I recommend kind of doing that paper model.

Class Description

There’s nothing quite like the magic of turning a two-dimensional sheet of metal into a three-dimensional form. In Explorations in Metalsmithing: Hollow Fabrication, you’ll learn how to create volume in metal through various forming and soldering techniques and how to take those forms and turn them into unique jewelry that will turn heads!

In this one of a kind class, designer and metalsmith Megan Auman will show you how to take your jewelry making skills to the next level to create unique and distinctive designs.

In this class, you will learn how to:

  • Make three-dimensional forms in metal - including spheres, cones, and organic shapes, and more.
  • Use hollow fabrication techniques to create your own ring.
  • Tackle more complicated soldering projects. (Without investing in more tools.)
  • Finish your forms so they’re sturdy and stunning.
  • Turn your hollow fabrication explorations into amazing earrings, bracelets, and pendants.

Whether you’re just getting started in metalsmithing, or you’ve been dabbling for years, you’ll leave this class with the skills and ideas necessary to take your jewelry designs to the next level. Plus, you’ll learn how to create distinctive three-dimensional jewelry - perfect to wear, share, or sell! Join us for Explorations in Metalsmithing: Hollow Fabrication!



After watching Megan solder in this class, I felt like it was something I could take on. There's a lot of soldering in this class! But there's also a lot you can do without soldering that's covered. I have a better understanding of how jewelry is made from this class. I'm looking at things that I own and thinking that I now know how to recreate them!

Silvia Rossi

I liked this course, Megan explains a lot of things about techniques and materials and it's simple follow all the operations to create these types of rings. I think I'd purchase other classes of her.