Introduction: Pure Gold Wedding Ring
Some Background information:
I found the hammer and anvil method easier than any casting methods (such as cuttlefish or greensand). After some research and a bit of trial and error, I was able to make our wedding rings with minimal tools (listed in 2nd step).
This method also allowed me to make a pure (24 karat) gold ring so that I could wear gold how it has traditionally been worn by the Egyptians, Greeks and Roman rulers of antiquity; as pure gold.
The colour of pure gold is really ONLY seen in museums these days. Nearly ALL gold jewelry is mass produced and mixed with other metals to give it strength, colour and shine.
Jewelers generally avoid working with pure gold because the soft nature of the metal means easy scratches and less durability. While this is somewhat true, I like the patina that worn-and-adorned gold takes on with time. If worse comes to worse, you will be able to easily give the ring a new hammer finish, or even melt it down and reshape the ring to your current mood and style.
This ring is truly unique. You will have an intertwined bond that only a creator can have with its created. The ring will change with your level of mastery and become more beautiful with time.
Step 1: Melt Scrap Gold
This stop motion video quickly sums up the steps.
All of the tools that I used:
1) Anvil (or any steel plate, smoother is better)
2) Hammer (just flat will work but a smooth and lighter and more rounded goldsmiths hammer is what I used)
3) Polishing material of any sort
4) Heat source (I used a disposable propane torch with a pin head nozzle)
5) Steel Mandrel ( you will need this to size your ring)
6) Jewelers Saw
7) Needle nose pliers (to hold the gold while hammering)
8) Charcoal Block to melt the gold on (or you could use a crucible bowl)
Step 2: Hammer Until You Get a Strip
This step is were you decide the width and thickness of your ring.
Step 3: Overlap the Gold Strip Before Cutting
There is a math equation you can use to get the proper length gold strip needed for a particular ring size. But I just made sure the strip was several sizes too small. It is VERY easy to hammer the gold into the needed ring size once it is fussed together and on the mandrel. But lets not get ahead of ourselves here. All you need to do for this step is make sure the gold strip overlaps itself a bit.
Step 4: Cut to (a Small) Size
A jewelers saw allows for a clean cut which will make the fusing part a bit easier. But you can get away with an uneven cut by using wire cutters.
Step 5: Fuse the Ring Ends
Have a third piece of thin gold to help with the fusing. If it melts into the ring before fusing, just get another piece. The excess gold can easily be hammered into the rest of the ring to hide it.
I find this the trickiest step because sometimes the gold will collapse on itself before fusing. The trick is to fuse quick and stop soon after. You can take assurance though in knowing that if doesn't work out, you just have to do the previous steps again (and you'll be much quicker at them the second and third time around).
Now that the gold is fused, you can just hammer the ring to size while also giving it a hammered finish. If the gold gets hard to mold, just heat it up now and again. But don't heat it up to near the end because you want the gold to be hammered strong.
I used needle files to file the inside edge of the ring. This made the ring much more comfortable to wear.
Various polishes and techniques will bring out the deep dull yellow of the true gold color.