The first project of the book is a forged bracelet, which presents a few problems:
- my bracelet mandrel is wood. It isn't even particularly hard wood (just light reshaping will dent it) and there is no way it will stand up to several rounds of forging
- the largest hole in my drawplate is 2.9mm
But I decided to go ahead any way by adapting the project for a forged ring, instead of a bracelet. This is the first project and covers several basic skills, including forming and soldering.
I started out with 2mm square wire (why square instead of round? Because I am a distracted airhead). The ring blank was formed and the 4 corners were marked with a file, to keep everything symmetrical. I also lightly marked the solder seam, in order to keep an eye on it as the ring was forged.
First round of forging - spreading the center of each side. Everything is looking pretty good.
Next, the edges were forged out, to create the square silhouette. I skipped photographing this step but here is the ring after filing. The original bangle kept the beautiful forged texture but it just wasn't working on such a small ring.
Filed and sanded to a matte finish, so that any mistakes will stand out. And. believe me, they do! I had to do several small fixes. Here, you can really see how my project is different from the one in the book. When I scaled it down, the forging proportions changed considerably. The transition from the center to the edges has to happen in a much smaller space and the curvature just isn't as clear. In the original bracelet, the center of each side is quite clearly curved, so the overall outline is still rather circular. My final ring is a square.
Overall, I am satisfied with this project. It was quick, fairly easy and, despite all my modifications, it is a nice piece. It is a pretty but quite delicate piece so I want to experiment with heavier wire (2.5mm first, then I might go even heavier) for a more substantial man's ring.
I was surprised by the size increase from the forging. I started out with a size 6 blank, expecting it to end up as a size 8 (a 10% increase in diameter). However, the final size is a full 10, giving it a 20% diameter increase. With thicker wire, requiring more forging, the increase should be even larger.