Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wedding Rings

Okay, it's not really woodworking, but I did make them in the shop. And as always, with human power only. Nothing fancy - but very, very personal.

On the anvil: (note high-tech silversmithing tools in background)

And in their box for the ceremony:


  1. Dan, those rings are just awesome!

  2. Dan-

    I am just catching up with your older posts, and came across this one. Any chance you'd do a post on how you do this kind of thing?

    They look tremendous, and I love the packing material.

  3. geemoney -

    I hadn't really planned on doing a post on making the rings. But maybe I should - a lot will depend on whether I took pictures of the process or just the end result, as I like to have pictures to go along with the text...

    The rings are not too difficult - just very, very time consuming with no real shortcuts. Here's the basic rundown. Start with a pre-1964 U.S. quarter (smaller ring) or half-dollar (larger ring). Find an anvil - I used a chunk of railroad track, but any hard, smooth surface should work. Find a light hammer - the traditional hammer for coin rings is a heavy spoon. Hold the coin on edge and tap, tap, tap away while slowly rotating the ring. It takes a long, long time, which might have something to do with this being an activity historically pursued in prisons and the navy. As you tap, the coin will slowly become thicker and smaller as the edge is turned back on itself. When this ring of thicker metal is the correct size, drill out the center of the coin. If the size was perfect, there is no trace of the coin itself left - if it is a little larger, there will be traces of the face and reverse of the coin still visible on the inside of the ring, which some people really like. Shape it up, size it to the finger, and polish it with progressively finer sandpaper - you will probably need to go to an auto parts store to find the 1,000 - 2,500 grit range. That's it. They are a little on the soft side so will develop character quickly.

    I hope this helps, and if I can find my pictures I will consider a post - I'm not sure my writing is clear without the photos.

    Oh, patience is key - if you try to speed things up with a heavy hammer or harder hits, things go bad FAST.

    And I see that you are in Germany, so you'd have to experiment with the coins - pre-1964 U.S. coins where still made with "coin silver" which I believe is 90% silver and 10% tin or something like that.

    I like you blog – and congratulations on William! My own son is only three weeks older – isn’t being a father amazing?

    Take Care

  4. Dan-

    Still catching up; I had not seen this response.

    When I first read the post, I thought that the silversmithing implement in the background was what you used as the starting material!

    Your explanation is great. Since my shop is not immediately accesible, this is perhaps something that I could do at home; I have been looking for these kinds of small projects which I can do in the evenings, without driving to the shop.

    I leave back to the US for XMAS in a couple of weeks; I will see if I can't get a hold of some of the requisite coins, and see about trying this out.

    As to the drilling; did you do that by hand too? Amazing.


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