When you embark on your journey into jewelry making, it won't take long for the task of adjusting the size of a ring to fall into your lap. The instructions provided here offer a fundamental understanding of how to measure and adjust the size of plain rings. It's essential to note that rings adorned with stones are a different matter entirely and should be handled by a professional, unless you're skilled and confident in ring resizing. The risks involved in adjusting such rings often outweigh the benefits.
How to Calculate the Adjustment Required?
The adjustment needed can be determined by measuring the ring's current size and comparing it to the desired size. Each UK ring size equates to roughly 1mm or 1/32 inch. For instance, if the ring is currently a UK size M and needs to be a UK size O, this is a difference of two sizes or approximately 2mm. While this measurement provides a general guide, it's essential to verify the size. You can achieve precise sizing using binding wire with the method described below.
Circle your ring gauge or stick with a segment of binding wire, ensuring a snug fit by twisting the wire's ends together at your existing ring size. Unwind the wire and cut it open at the loop's peak, then straighten it to obtain a linear measurement. This measurement corresponds to your ring's length. Now, repeat this procedure using the desired new ring size. Place the two wire pieces side by side and calculate the difference in length, which will provide a precise measurement for the amount of metal to be added or removed as needed.
Ring Enlargement Techniques
There are multiple methods available for expanding the size of a ring. You can choose to employ a mallet and mandrel, a ring stretcher tool available commercially, or incorporate an additional segment of metal into the ring's shank. The technique you opt for will be influenced by the ring's design and the extent of the required size adjustment.
1. Using a Mallet and Mandrel
Heat the ring gently (anneal) and position it on a uniform ring mandrel.
Strike the ring with a choice of a wooden mallet or a metal hammer. Rotate the ring continually while striking to maintain its uniformity.
Lift the ring off, flip it, and replace it on the mandrel to continue the procedure and level out the ring's shape. During this process, you must monitor your progress periodically with a ring gauge and anneal as needed. Although a metal hammer can expedite the process, it might leave imprints on the ring that must be removed.
This technique is more appropriate for minor size adjustments, provided the shank of the ring is thick enough to allow for stretching.