Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ring-Making Recipe

Lately, I've been thinking of white wool and green silk almost as much as I've been thinking of eggnog and avocados. There's a lot to be done when you get engaged! And of course I want to make marrying-time as fun and arduous as possible, so here I am, revving up the sewing machine and finding my anvil.

Actually, I was prepared for these rings to be a lot more difficult than they were. My father helped expedite the process, sending me home with a full ring-making kit. I find that assembling my materials and tools is the hardest and least rewarding part of any project, so this was a great boon. The kit included: sandpaper in an array of fine grits, a cylindrical file, a small hammer, and two 1930's silver quarters that he mounted on bolts. Quarters newer than 1964 have copper cores.

The bolt gives you something to hang on to when you're hammering. The washers also give the quarter stability, so an errant hammer-stroke doesn't fatally warp the quarter.

For my anvil, I used one of the stones from my grain mill. Holding the bolt so the quarter was vertical, I tapped the edge of the quarter, turning it between taps to avoid making flat spots. I did that for half a day. The rim of the quarter widened as it flattened, and the diameter of the quarter shrunk. When it reached the predetermined size of W. Crawford's finger, I took it off the bolt.

I started using the narrow file in the bolt-hole. Silver dust was flying! Then I wrapped a slightly wider metal cylinder in medium-grit sandpaper and removed the rest of the middle. At that point, you could no longer tell it had once been a quarter.

The rest was just sanding. The ring fit W. Crawford perfectly, and he promptly went to work making one for me, of daintier dimensions.

Also, it's only illegal to destroy coins if you plan on reusing them as currency.