Silver Jewelry Making: A Ring Tutorial, Ultimate Soldering Collection, and Call for Entries

2 Jun 2014

  soldered sterling silver flower ring
I've often wished that everyone could learn to solder with Lexi Erickson, just like I did when I made this ring. Now we've put together two awesome soldering collections that allow you to have the very next best thing! The premium soldering collection is packed full of video and written instruction, almost all by our soldering queen Lexi, as well as most of the tools and supplies needed to set up your own safe and user-friendly soldering workspace. I especially love the fact that, as a bonus in the deluxe soldering collection, Lexi is offering the soldering station that she designed and had custom made for her own studio.

Lexi's soldering station  
I especially love the fact that, as a bonus in the deluxe collection, Lexi is offering the soldering station that she designed and had custom made for her own studio. It creates a fire-safe soldering surface and has a turntable to help you turn your fire brick while you solder to heat and solder more efficiently and accurately. I worked on Lexi's original soldering station when I made this ring, so I can tell you first-hand that it's a very handy invention! The design features a little wall around the sides and back to help keep all of your little bits and pieces from rolling off the table or flying all over the studio, but that's just one of the great features about Lexi's soldering station.

For a new metalsmith just learning to solder, the concept of moving the torch around to heat the metal properly can be daunting. But the fire brick turntable allowed me to turn my work as I soldered, which just felt easier than moving the torch around--because I admit I was still a little intimidated by the flaming metal wand in my hand. Plus the large metal work surface put me at ease and made me less worried that I might burn Lexi's house down!

I also think the soldering station would be great for torch enameling, too, because the smooth surface makes it so easy to clean up stray enamel powders. Whether you're new to torch work and soldering or a pro, Lexi's soldering station is a clean, neat, handy work surface. Plus it's portable, so you can make any table your soldering work space! 

Make My Soldered Silver Flower Ring

After a set of stack rings, the first project I made using Lexi's soldering station was my silver flower ring. Though I made it nearly four years ago, I still wear this ring every day--and someone comments on it nearly every single day, too! I found myself having dinner at the same restaurant last week two nights in a row, and our waiter the second night said, "Weren't you here last night?" I laughed and said I was, it's my favorite place, but he wasn't our waiter the night before, and he said, "No but I remember you, I came in the door behind you and I saw that awesome ring of yours when you held open the door." I was flabbergasted!

  sterling silver soldered flower ring
torch fire sterling silver flower ring pieces on firing brick
Here's the tutorial for my silver flower ring so you, too, can impress your waiters (ha!) by making your own. There are lots of opportunities for personalization--make more or fewer petals, make the differences in their sizes more distinct, alter their shapes, texture them differently or not at all, set a stone in the middle. OH, I just had an idea! You could even enamel the flower. Now I have to make another so I can enamel it!

And remember--I made this ring during only my second day in the workshop with Lexi. Granted, I had her watchful eyes and expertise there to help me, but this project is still accessible to even beginning silver jewelry makers. I've broken it down into simple steps to make it manageable, and if you're completely new to soldering and ready to take the leap, take advantage of the incredible savings and wealth of information in our premium soldering collection or the deluxe soldering collection that includes everything from the premium collection plus Lexi's soldering station! 

An Easier Way: Rivetable Rings

If you haven't mastered soldering yet or would just rather not solder the ring, you can use a sterling silver or silver plated rivetable ring from Beaducation.com and save some steps. Simply cut out and form the three petal pieces as shown in the project (through step 4), but then create holes in the center of each one with a metal punch, drill, etc. Then stack them on the post on the rivetable ring, place the ring on a mandrel in a vise to hold it securely, and tap with a riveting hammer to close the rivet. This way also removes the sizing work, as each rivetable ring has a complete ring band and can be ordered in several sizes.You can then solder, ruse, or otherwise adhere a silver ball to the flower center, or mix it up with a crystal set in epoxy clay, a glass bead, or whatever your imagination desires.

 

P.S. Have you entered to win the prestigious and generous Halstead Grant? The 2014 Halstead Grant application deadline is fast approaching--June 9, 2014--so don't delay in learning more and getting your application ready. A $5,000 cash business grant, $1,000 Halstead gift certificate, and lots of media exposure and recognition are on the line--good luck!


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