Tips and Information about making jewelry

With this blog, I hope to share my knowledge, successes, trials and errors, student's work, tips, and information about making jewelry.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tips From the Bench - Ring Gauges and Mandrels

Ring gauges and ring mandrels are used in concert to make rings. Ring gauges are used to measure the size of a person's finger and ring mandrels are used for manufacturing rings to the required size. In metal clay, we wrap the clay around a paper covered mandrel at the required size. In metal smithing, we wrap the metal around the mandrel at the correct size.

The typical  ring mandrel is a tapered and made of steel with the sizes engraved on it. In metal clay we also have the stepped mandrels sized in two sizes, either whole sizes or half sizes. 

Did you know that not all ring gauges and ring mandrels match? When you first purchase your ring gauges and a ring mandrel, check to see if they match and you might be surprised! Check several sizes, because some might be correct while others are not.

Size 7 is on 6 3/4" line

8 Fits correctly

This size 7 narrow ring gauge should slide down to the size 7 on the tapered ring mandrel, so the tapered mandrel is incorrect for this size.

The photo to the right shows that the size 8 wide band fits correctly on this size 8 short step mandrel.

Size 9 doesn't fit
But the size 9 wide ring gauge doesn't even fit onto the size 9 mandrel and neither does the narrow size 9 ring gauge.

(Interestingly the size 8 is on the same mandrel as the size 9!)

What's important to know is what to do if they don't match.

Since I measured the finger with the ring gauge, its important that I make the ring the size of the ring gauge. With the tapered mandrel, I slip the ring gauge onto the mandrel and draw lines on both sides of the ring gauge using a permanent marker. Now I work the ring around the mandrel between those lines.

With the miss-matched short stepped mandrel I wrap wax paper around either the size 8 or 8 1/2 mandrels until the size 9 ring gauge fits correctly.

I hope this helps those of you who have had problems with rings not fitting the finger.