The first class is is a skills class. Students use a piece of brass or copper to learn the metalsmithing skills they need to create their finished wedding bands.
At the 2nd class students start with a piece of gold roughly the size they need for the finished piece. The piece here is half round 18 karat white gold. Students file the ends of the strip so that they can be brought together in a tight, perfectly fitting seam for soldering.
A student learning his way around the torch set up.
Annealing the gold to make it soft enough to shape. This step may need to be done a number of times in order to get the shape right for soldering
Shaping the ring. Often only pliers are needed. For white gold it takes a little more manhandling :)
The ring is then "pickled" in an acid solution to remove dirt and oils and prepare for soldering
Soldering setup with two small chips of solder right on the inside of the seam
After soldering the ring shape is refined. Here it is most of the way to the finished shape. The dark colour is a result of firing the ring and will be removed in later steps.
Filing to remove excess solder and oxides from firing. The ring is filed and cleaned completely inside and out. It is then taken through progressively finer grades of emery paper inside and out and on all edges to bring it to a consistent and almost shine finish. This is generally the longest part of the process.
Almost shiny finish
A fast spinning polishing motor is then used with various componds to give the piece a really shiny finish.
Durring the first round of buffing
Round 1 of buffing complete.
Before pickup of the finished product I tumble the ring to ensure the metal is at it's hardest state, and also give it a final shaping if needed and a rouge polish. Students recieve the ring, boxed and ready to go, a certificate of creatorship, and the knowledge that they are using a ring truly their own.