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I may have mentioned here before that I hate doing repairs. Hate,… - Metals Geekery

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My artisan metalsmithing site
My original Celtic designs in various media, including jewelry
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March 24th, 2007


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05:17 pm
I may have mentioned here before that I hate doing repairs. Hate, hate HATE 'em. Today is a good illustration why.

I'd set the anvil ring picture as the default here a bit ago, both for a change, and to remind me every time I looked at my journal here that I need to work on it. This isn't exactly a repair in one sense- nothing's broken or breaking. I hate repairs enough to build my work so it is unlikely to need repairing for those kinds of reasons, though it does mean I overbuild at times.

So no, it's not broken. But it's a ring, and has the same problem that so often happens with rings: despite the best measuring of the the target finger, and the most precise metalworking to ensure the ring is exactly the correct size... sometimes they still don't fit properly. That's what happened here. We measured J's finger carefully, I made it exactly the size it was supposed to be- and it falls off his finger when he wears it.

The classic solution to this is to add small bumps on the inside of the ring, to reduce the size and add a bit more friction.

Since the "stone" is enamel, it's not heat-safe, so soldering on it seemed (and seems) like a Bad Idea. (Although I've read some interesting thoughts about soldering on enameled pieces in Linda Darty's excellent book...) And since I do not have the $25K laser welder that pro repair shops have (which could weld the bumps in), I am stuck with mechanical means.

So after mulling it over a while, I got the brilliant (?) idea of drilling a couple of small holes partway through the shank, tapping those holes, and making bumps out of wire of a size to be threaded to screw into said holes. It sounded pretty straightforward, but I think I subconsciously knew that it would likely be harder than it seemed, because I've been avoiding doing it for a few months!

And my subconscious was correct. Working inside a ring shank is a bitch. I got the holes drilled and tapped- eventually, since the commercial taps I have are too tapered to tap a 1mm deep hole, so I had to make taps out of screws- and trying to hang onto and turn the tiny screw/tap about an eighth of a turn per pass, since that's all the leeway I had, wasn't fun. Then the bumps on their wires were mulish about getting threaded; I still have one of them to do, actually, but I think I figured out how to do it with less hassle.

And then I had to screw the bump into the hole. Inside the shank. With no good way to hold it. Argh.

It is in... finally. Though I think it needs glue, because it's not as secure as I was hoping it'd be, probably because the tapping ended up wonky because I couldn't effectively hold the screw. (It's a 0-80 size, about 6mm long.) And I still have to thread the other bump and wrestle it in place.

This whole thing is an example of the importance of holding stuff. In many ways, the process of metalsmithing has as much to do with holding stuff while one works on it as it has to do with the work. My worst problem with this job is that there is not an effective way to hold tiny things precisely to work with them easily inside a ring; it's all a kludge. Doing exactly the same tasks on a flat piece of metal would have taken me maybe 20 minutes; this was at least 2 hours and counting.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

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