How to Alter a Ring's Size?

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.

Alter a Ring's Size

2. Using a Ring Stretching and Reducing Machine

Additionally, this method is fitting for minor modifications (up to 1 size), and it involves using a ring stretcher with a vertical mandrel that expands the sides of the tool to enlarge the ring's diameter.

Before starting, it is necessary to anneal the ring. Special attention should be given to rings with thin shanks as they can break easily under such pressure. Most ring stretchers are also equipped with a reducing plate, allowing for the adjustment of ring sizes both upwards and downwards.

To learn how to use a ring stretcher and understand the operation of a ring reducer tool, watch the instructional video provided. The video offers insights into the ring reduction process, which will be discussed in greater detail later in this article.  

Shrinking a Ring's Size

There are two approaches to decrease a ring's size: cutting away a section of the shank or utilizing the ring reducing plate on a commercial ring stretcher.

1. Ring Reducer

The ring stretcher features a reducing plate at its base, outfitted with an array of tapered openings that compress the ring to a smaller dimension. The ring needs to be positioned in an opening where the upper edge slightly protrudes above the tool's surface.

The base plate is then rotated until the ring aligns precisely beneath the flat plate situated at the mandrel's bottom. Next, pull the lever until a bit of resistance is felt. The pressure is then intensified, forcing the ring into the hole. Following this, the ring can be removed, flipped, and the procedure repeated to level out its shape. As required, anneal the ring.

Remember, you can refer to the aforementioned video for a comprehensive tutorial on utilizing a ring stretcher and its ring reducing component.

2. Removing a Segment of Metal

  • Cut through the ring at its existing solder joint.
  • Calculate and designate the precise amount of metal to be excised to achieve the desired new size, employing the methodology introduced earlier in the article.
  • Slice the shank to extract the superfluous section and manipulate it into the correct form using half-round pliers, making sure the two ends fit snugly together.
  • Apply flux and solder using hard solder.
  • Cleanse in pickle, file down, reshape, and polish to finalize the procedure.

Ring resizing is a valuable skill to acquire. Regardless of the chosen technique, if you proceed carefully and methodically, you should attain positive results. If you're ever uncertain, don't hesitate to turn down the job. And always remember the adage: measure twice, cut once!

To assist you in resizing rings, Katway offers a range of ring resizing tools and gauges. Explore our collection today and begin adjusting the size and shape of your rings with ease.