How would you like to make a silver wedding or engagement ring for the one you love rather than having to spend a lot of money? It is possible to make a band that looks like it came from a professional jeweler, with all of the luster and smoothness possible, using only some simple tools and materials and a silver quarter. Everyone will be amazed at what you have created, and your beloved will know that this is a labor of love and a token of your affection. A ring that you have made will say so much more than one you just bought, and the entire process is easy enough for almost anyone to do if you are willing to spend the time needed on the tapping process.
Step 1: Finding The Right Quarter
Before you begin the process of turning the quarter into a ring it is very important that you find the right type of quarter. Look for American coins that were minted before 1971, because these usually contain 90% pure silver bullion. After this date these coins are only 40% pure silver because of changes in the minting process ordered by the US Government, and the other metals used in these items could cause visible defects in the finished ring.
You can buy a silver quarter dated before 1971 for the spot price of bullion in many cases. This means you may pay $5 or $6 for the coin, but compare this to the cost of a silver wedding ring with this purity level that is already produced. You could save a considerable amount of money with the DIY method, and get a ring that you are proud of making at the same time. The coin depicted is obviously Canadian.
Step 2: Putting A Hole In The Center Of The Coin
Use a hand held drill and drill a hole through the center of the coin. This will allow you to place the coin on a long bit when you start the tapping process. Since silver is not extremely hard or brittle, this step should be fairly easy. You will need to push down initially to get the drill to start going through the metal but as soon as the first groove on the bit catches in the coin this is not usually required any longer. Once you have a hole completely through the coin in the center of the item set it aside while you make the tool needed for the tapping process.
Step 3: Making The Required Tool
In order to do this project you will need to make a specialized tool, and while this sounds complicated you may be surprised at just how easy it is once you start. Take a hammer, a spoon, a soldering gun, and some packing tape. That is all you need to make this special tool. Bend the handle of the spoon back and up away from the bowl. Place the spoon against the head of the hammer, making sure that it is curved down and away from the hammer head. Attach the spoon with the solder gun, making sure that it is centered on the head of the hammer and that the bowl faces downward and away from the tool.
Use packing tape to tape the spoon and handle onto the hammer. Curve the handle of the spoon upwards onto the hammer to keep if out of the way. It is really that easy, and you now have a tool that is ideal for making rings from coins.
Step 4: Place The Quarter On The Drill Bit
Use a long drill bit and place this through the hole in the center of the quarter until the coin is snug and will not move without effort on your part. This will help you hold and rotate the coin as you are tapping it into the desired size and thickness. During the tapping process you will be able to turn the coin as needed in order to get even results and avoid any unintentional damage that may mean you have to start over again with a new coin.
Step 5: Tapping The Coin Thinner
This step can take many hours, and you can not rush the process or take any shortcuts if you want a top quality wedding band that looks and feels like it was professionally created. It is important that you tap lightly on the edges of the coin. Do not hammer hard or you will cause it to become uneven, and the quarter will be unsuitable for the desired purpose.
As you gently tap the edges of the coin with the specialized tool that you made earlier it is important that you rotate the coin on the drill bit after every few taps. The gentle pressure helps to form an edge or wall along the outside of the coin that continues to get larger as time goes on. It may take many hours of gentle tapping with the hammer and spoon tool before the edges and the size are appropriate for a wedding band. The bowl of the spoon helps to provide a rounded exterior surface and edges.
Step 6: Cleaning Out The Interior Of The Coin
Once the tapped coin is the proper size and dimensions then the tapping is done, and the center must be cleaned out to create the right opening size. Use a Dremel tool and the right accessories to remove the excess metal that is still in place in the middle of the coin. When this is finished you should be left with a rough looking item that is shaped correctly but that is very rough as far as the surface of the inside and outside are concerned.
You can also use a file in order to remove any excess metal in the middle and get a closer finish without any extra ridges or metal flash. This may take longer and require more effort than using a dremel tool or similar electric tool and the right accessories. Make sure that the final opening of the piece is the proper size for the finger that will be wearing it.
Step 7: Smoothing And Sanding The Ring Surfaces
Now that you have a rough representation of a silver wedding band you will need to sand and smooth the entire surface area in order to provide a comfortable fit and prevent any injury from the rough metal. Use fine grit sand paper for this purposes, starting off with 400 grit and then using a 600 grit for the final sanding efforts. This will remove any light indentations or hammer marks and help bring out the smooth and shiny surface that you want in any jewelry.
Step 8: Polish The Finished Band For A Shiny Surface
Once you have a perfect wedding band shape, one that is smooth and comfortable, it is time to add the finishing touches before the band is ready to be given or worn. Use a silver polishing compound and a felt pad in order to give it a final polish that makes it gorgeous. The luster and shine will rival professionally made bands, and anyone will be thrilled to receive this jewelry. You will have saved a considerable amount of money and you will have an exquisite silver wedding ring that you can take enormous pride in.
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Source of this pictorial: http://imgur.com/a/Q9ais