plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
How to hammer a wedding ring
Q. I want to put a hammered finish on my wedding ring. I will bill buy a flat or domed wedding ring made of platinum or titanium. Then, with a hammer, hit the ring multiple times in order to get a
"hammered" finish. I am not a jeweler nor do I have any jewel making tools. My questions are:
1)what kinds of tools would I need to accomplish this?
2)can someone actually describe the process?
3)What kind of force is needed - platinum v. titanium?
My concern is this: I go and buy a $200 titanium ring or a $600 platinum ring, put it on an jeweler's anvil (that I buy for just this purpose), and begin to apply the hammered finish, only to bend the ring. Also, do I need to have a special hammer or hammer head size in order to get the right effect?
PS - why do I want to do this? Well, my great grandfather was a blacksmith, and I'd like to pay tribute to him. Also, I think it would be kind of nice to have a ring that was "made" by me.
hobbyist - Burlington, Vermont
A. Hi Dan
I'm not an expert in either of these metals, as I generally work in silver. Titanium is a very hard metal and I think it would be very difficult to hammer. I have seen Titanium bands sold in jeweller's supply catalogues with the notation "Titanium bands cannot be stretched or sized". You should however be able to hammer Platinum, but I think it would be too easy to destroy a very expensive piece of metal.
There are a few problems with hammering an already made ring. Hammering causes metal to spread so your ring will become larger in size. When I make a ring, I hammer strips of metal, then solder them into rings, then "touch up" the area that was soldered by hammering using a mandrel(a wooden dowel the exact size of the inside of the ring would work for you). But titanium cannot be soldered, and I'm sure you're not about to start buying a torch and a lot of jewelers equipment. Hammering can also cause the sides of the ring to be distorted(when you lie your ring on a table and look at it closely, you'll see the sides are not completely flat, that you can see a bit of space in some places between the ring and table. This has to fixed with filing, sanding, and polishing.
Although this is not what you want to hear, a professional jeweler could make a hammered platinum ring for you with the help of very expensive equipment to create an even hammered texture, or by casting a platinum ring from a wax piece that looks like it has a hammered texture.
If your heart is still set on it, play around with some copper first(a soft metal), so you can see what you're getting into without spending a lot of money on expensive metals. The hammer you would want to use for a hammered texture would have a round end like a ball. A basic ball peen hammer which you should be able to get at a metalwork/auto supply store for about $10 would work. A smaller "ball" will give a smaller dent in the metal and so a smaller texture than a larger "ball" on the hammer. Cut a piece of thick copper tubing or pipe as a "ring" and put it on a dowel which is the same width as the interior of the ring, or make a tapered mandrel(much more useful) out of an old bat, wooden table leg, drift pin or drive pin. Lie the dowel or mandrel, with the ring on it, on a soft surface, like a piece of industrial rubber, or a piece of stump or flat scrap wood. When you are hammering the ring will stretch a little, especially on the side of the ring closest to the widest! part of the tapered mandrel, so remove ring and reverse it's position on the mandrel and hammer again. If this is not done, your ring will be wider on one side. It will become tapered instead of an even tube.
I hope this helps, if you want to find jewellery (jewelry) tools, like a finer quality hammer, you can find lots of places on line on a general search, many of them have pictures, and some send out free catalogues.
jewellery artist - Morris, Canada
December 22, 2009
A. Hi Dan, I make hammered titanium rings and when I hammer the ring I heat it very hot and hammer it at the same time. I do this before I cut the ring to size to prevent crushing the ring out of shape. I would find it very hard to hammer a finished ring without damaging it.
titanium rings - Sandy, Utah
Sizing problem when hammering silver ringsAugust 17, 2013
Q. Hello, I have a difficulty to solve the following problem and need your professional advice. When I hammer a silver ring, using a ring mandrel, it increases in size and becomes a larger size that I intend to make. Another word, if I am making a ring size 7, after I am done with hammering it becomes size 8.5.
Please help to find out how to make a hammered ring the size I need?
- Tarpon Spring, Florida, USA
August 30, 2013
A. J Nichols has some interesting methods (see above). Other than those ideas, another way is to make a smaller size ring because the metal spreads when hammered and the smaller size will actually grow into the intended size. If the ring is a bit too small, you can then easily widen it using various methods or just keep hammering because that will also increase the size. It will take some trial and error.
Feather Hollow Eng. - Stockton, California