Breaking and Making

I’ve had trouble with rings for awhile. I started wearing one on my left ring finger when Allison and I decided to move to different states but still keep our relationship going. In the last three years, I’ve now gone through more rings than I can count. Bone, wood, tape, bent pieces of coat hanger, stone, glass, and even wool. Pretty much everything but metal. Determined to not learn my lesson, I kept going for fragile materials. This was partially because I liked the idea of having an uncommon ring, but I’m starting to also realize the distinction I’m trying to make between this ring and the potential future ring for the same finger. For me, it needs to feel like a significant step and that includes the ring. While trying to keep to this standard, though, I’ve been killing dozens of these things. I finally think I’ve found a solution, though.

Not this one, to be clear. This is the “before” half of the equation. It’s actually this ring that broke my back and made me consider metal. I had a stone one before this, which broke when I fell off a kid’s size bike I was riding. I had some wool around, so I plied it together for a quick replacement. It was cool looking and fun to make, but it started to weird me out pretty quickly. A ring of wool on my had constantly being exposed to moisture and bacteria? This was going to get bad fast. That’s when I started thinking coins.

I checked my coin box for any quarters made before 1965, since they were 90% silver back then, but didn’t find any. I figured the partial copper ones would work fine and I’d finally get to test the skin greening myth.

After marking the center and drilling a small hole, I used my 3/4″ paddle bit as a cold chisel to stamp out the area that I was going to cut. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to do this yet, but I figured this was a good place to start while I thought about it. It became pretty clear that I wasn’t going to punch this out with such a small bit without warping the ring. I eventually tried my coping saw, taking it apart and sliding the blade through the center hole, and started following the guidelines I had punched out. Once I’d adjusted for the proper amount of elbow grease, it was actually pretty straightforward. Metal is still a new thing to me and I have yet to get over treating it like wood. Sorry, metal, it’s just that we’d been together for a long time, I’m not comparing you to her.

Now most of the big steps had been taking and it’s just finalizing and polishing from here on out. I’d like to widen the band a bit by pounding on it a bit more, but since the ring already fits well, I’m worried about changing the size.

At least it won’t cost much to try again.

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