Free Project for Smart Bronze – Solid Ring

New media seem to bring new inspiration. I’ve always leaned toward hollow forms. It never occurred to me that I could work with solid forms, mainly because I was put off by their weight. As it turns out, Smart Bronze is very lightweight after it’s been fired (although not as light as Low-Shrinkage Steel XT), so I decided to give it a try. Once I started, the possibilities seem endless.

Here are instructions for making this ring.

Garnet and Sapphire

The ring weighs 11 grams after firing. The instructions are long, but only because they are very detailed. It’s actually pretty simple.

1. From the ring sizer, pick a ring that is 2½ sizes bigger than your desired size. Trace the inner diameter of the ring with a pencil. (Tip: if you don’t want to separate the ring from the sizer, do it on a corner of a table; this is the only way it’s going to lay flat).

Trace inner diameter

2. Find a tube whose outer diameter is the same as that of your traced circle.

Find a tube

Or: Find a circle template with the same diameter.

Find a circle template

3. Here is the template for the ring:

4. Roll a large layer of Smart Bronze 3 craft sticks thick (18 cards). Cut a circle in it using the tube or the template.
Cut a cricle

Cut a circle

5. Remove the circle. Place the template on top of the layer.

Template on layer

6. To cut the shape of the ring, it’s better to use cutters rather than a knife. Using cutters will help ensure that the cross sections are vertical. Pick a circle or oval cutter that fits the curve on the top right of the ring. Cut this section out.

Cut section out

Cut section out

7. Use a tissue blade to cut the next straight line.

Cut line with tissue blade

8. Use circle cutters to cut away the excess from the layer on the right and left side of the template.

Remove excess with circle cutters

Remove excess with circle cutters

9. Remove the template. If you used a tube to cut the shank, put it back in the hole. This will help prevent the circle from distorting while drying.

Return tube to hole

10. Dry the ring thoroughly, then sand it smooth.

Sand it smooth

11. While the ring is drying, set the stones. You can use any fireable stones. I used an oval natural sapphire and a square natural garnet. For the oval stone, press the stone into a thick patty of clay. Squeeze a drinking straw into an oval shape and cut an oval around the stone. Dry, then sand the bezel to the perfect oval shape.

Set the stones

12. Set the square stone the same way, only use the scraper to cut the bezel around it.

Setting the square stone

13. Attach the bezels to the ring with thick paste. Dry.

Attach bezels to ring

14. Place the ring in carbon, on top of thin fiber paper. Place a piece of fiber paper on top of the shank as well. Cover with carbon, and fire.

Brick kiln: ramp at 1400°F/778°C per hour to 1440°F/782°C. Hold 2 hours.
Muffle kiln: Ramp at 1400°F/778°C per hour to 1490°F/810°C. Hold 2 hours. Make sure the overall ramp time is at least 1:00 hour!

15. After firing, finish the ring following the instructions in the document entitled “Finishing Fired Metal Clay,” available on the right-hand panel of this blog. You can polish it to mirror shine.

Finished ring

Finished ring

Finished ring

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