Thursday, June 23, 2011

Workshop Wednesday

Following on from last week's Workshop Wednesday where I sawpierced, textured and soldered a lovely ring band with elements taken from my Hungarian Folk Art and Ruffled Series of rings.

I think I'll call this one an 'Embrace Ring',
so lovely it is to wear as it wraps around and embraces the wearer.

I soldered a high walled bezel for the mookaite stone, this allows for the curve of the ring band which I file into the bottom of the bezel using a half round bench file. The bezel is resting on the bench file, you can see the curve in the bezel taking shape.

The ring band is quite large, so the curve left on the bezel from the bench file does not match up with the ring band. To overcome this problem, and to make sure the bezel touches the ring band perfectly for the solder join, I taped some rough emery paper to my ring mandrel and moved the bezel from side to side until the curve in the bezel was perfectly matched to the curve of the ring band.
As you can see, my ring mandrel has Australian sizing, which uses letters instead of numbers.

The bezel is ready for soldering onto the ring band. The base of the bezel is touching the ring band perfectly, making for a good solder join.

I use steel binding wire to hold it in place.

I like to twist little kinks in the binding wire using pliers. Binding wire tends to move with heat, so this helps to keep it locked in place nice and tight during soldering.


Yellow Ochre gouache paint is applied to any previous solder joins. It stops solder from running during soldering. Here, I've applied it to the solder join on the ring band.

I've soldered the bezel onto the ring band, soldering from the inside of the bezel so the outside remains free from solder smears. Little silver buds have been carefully filed away so they sit flat and are ready for soldering onto the scalloped edges of the ring band for decoration.

I'm using the yellow ochre gouache paint again on the inside of the bezel so the solder doesn't run whilst soldering the little silver buds. It's best to keep the yellow ochre away from any areas where you do wish to solder, as the flux will be contaminated and the solder won't join the metal in the place where you need it most. The yellow ochre on the inside of the bezel should be enough to keep the bezel in place during soldering.

I hope you've enjoyed the progress!
I'll be back before the week is done to show you more.

What have you been working on feverishly this week?

--- Mariann ---


  1. Hi Mariann,
    I love seeing your ring making process.
    I never heard of using Yellow Ochre Gouache to stop previously soldered joins from running. Good tip.

  2. Running out to pick up yellow Ochre!!
    I love seeing your process. It looks like it's going to be another beautiful ring!

  3. It's a handy tip, indeed!
    It comes from iron oxide found in clay, so it makes for a particularly contaminating substance when it comes to soldering. It's the mortal enemy of clean flux!
    It will burn from the yellow color to a deep burgundy during soldering, and will not wash off in the pickle, which is handy!
    It scrubs off with a soft toothbrush and soapy water.
    And best of all, if you buy it in a set of gouache paint, you can be an artist, too!

    Happy soldering!

  4. How did the ring turn out Mariann?

  5. Hi Debbie, I'm so glad you asked. Time goes by so quickly!
    I just received a great new gadget in the mail this morning to help me with setting the stones on these wider ring bands I've been working on.

    New post coming soon, I promise!

  6. Yay! Can't wait to see it! Hugs!

  7. This ring is gorgeous, Mariann! So feminine. Your cut-outs are so precise and the intricate detail around them is a perfect touch. Your work is pristine, flawless.

    And thank you for sharing your tips and process. Second to making jewelry, I love seeing how others work. Great tip for shaping the bezel to the ring curvature.

    When I read this post the other day, I didn't catch the fact that your yellow ochre is actually 'paint'. Mine is in powder form and sold as a anti-flow for soldering, but it looks like paint pigment. I always thought it was a type of clay...? Not sure about that now??

    Great post!

  8. Hi Susan!

    You are right, yellow ochre is a paint pigment that comes from clay. One of the classic colors I think, so it's a staple in most artist color palettes (and on the jeweler's bench!)