I like to start a new year with an experiment, something I've never done before. This year, I attempted to use a braided shank for a ring. I've been mulling over this idea for a while now and it was time to get it down in metal.
Yeah, I won't call that a success. The ring ended up bulky and awkward. But the idea is out there. A thinner braid would probably be better but I was very happy at how sturdy the shank is after heat treatment. Also, a lesson learned: don't ever quench argentium wire, even if you think it has cooled enough. If just one point is still too warm, it will crack and cracked wire is broken wire. On a ring shank, that isn't a big loss. On a neck piece, that would be 15-20 hours of work ruined. Not good.
My main worry in this project was soldering the braid to the bezel. It still isn't perfect, as you can see, but I got the knack of it. Next one will be perfect.
So, what now? I am wearing this ring for several weeks, so I can be sure the braid is comfortable and that it will withstand abuse. Then I can create a more fluid, delicate piece.