13 Mar 2014

ring repair

Several years ago, I made a wedding ring which is 5 rings put together - 3 yellow gold with 2 white gold in between. If you have read this blog before, you may recognise this because the husband lost his ring and I remade it for him at the end of last year. Now his wife had an unfortunate incident a couple of weeks ago - a train door was slammed on her hand! Luckily the ring took the brunt of the force and thankfully her finger, although bruised, was not broken. However, the ring didn't get off lightly! Here are some photos of the damaged ring, with the joints of two of the yellow gold rings cracked from the force of being bent as well as the join between the various rings also taking a beating and cracking (especially one of the top yellow rings).

The ring as a whole had gotten an oval shape, but the thing with this ring is that the yellow rings are higher than the white ones. If you use a mallet on a mandrel in the usual way to reshape the ring, the force only applies to the yellow rings directly, thus risking more solder joins cracking between the rings. Luckily I have polymorph, so made a small tool with the indentation of the ring profile so I could use the mallet on that so the force would be more distributed over all the rings. These seemed to work, as I didn't create any more cracked joins! Using a combination of annealing, gently forcing the ring up the mandrel and the polymorph tool, I got it back into shape. As anyone who has tried will know, solder will not fill a gap. So with the most damaged join (of the middle yellow ring, see top photo), I also made a teensy piece of yellow gold sheet out of a bit of scrap gold and soldered it over the join, the only way to trick solder into filling up a gap. (Well, besides laser welding, but I don't have a laser welder!) So in the end the ring was coaxed back into shape with no cracks on the outside. There is one small crack on the inside still, but it's not structural so I guess it's a souvenir to remind one not to get a train door slammed on one's finger! Anyway, here's the repaired ring with the side that was most damaged front and center:

5 Mar 2014