Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to Use a Ring Mandrel

A ring mandrel is a useful tool to size jewelry, to make rings and to create loops and curves when forming jewelry and sculpture. Rings mandrels are usually made of wood or tool grade stainless steel.  Rings mandrels can be graduated or stepped.

Sizing rings
Use your ring mandrel to determine ring size. Take a ring that fits well. Slide the ring onto the ring mandrel to measure ring size. In the example, the wedding ring being measured for size is measures as a size 6-1/2 on the ring mandrel.

Make Wire Wrapped Rings
Use your ring mandrel to make rings. Take wire and wrap it around the ring mandrel the number of times you want for your ring. If you are using a thick wire that you intend to solder, then you will wrap the wire around the wire only once. In the case of wire wrapped rings using thin wire, then you will want to wrap the wire around the mandrel multiple times.

Form Metal

Use your ring mandrel to form rings or curves. For example, in the photo at left, the ring mandrel is being used to form an old silver spoon into a ring.

Further Reading
"30-Minute Rings: 60 Quick & Creative Projects for Jewelers"; Marthe Le Van; 2011.
"1000 Rings: Inspiring Adornments for the Hand (500 Series)"; Marthe Le Van, Robert W. Ebendorf; 2004.