I throughly LOVE lampwork headpins and I am some what addicted to our wonderful leader Jen Cameron’s creations. There is something almost mesmerising about them, so what better way to display them then in a ring that you can happily gaze into!
What you will need
First work out the length of metal you need to make your ring (if you don’t know how to do this check out this post) cut your wire to the correct length.
File the ends of the wire so that they are perfectly straight (I use a Miter cutting jig for this as I could not file in a straight line to save my life)!
Using your pliers bend the filed ends together to form your ring, it is important that the ends are flat against each other and that you have a neat join. Once you are happy that the ends are flush, solder (please follow all the normal safety rules, you would be amazed how many times I have singed the ends of my hair) using medium solder paste, leave to cool and then shape using your ring mandrel and raw hide hammer (don’t push the ring too far down the mandrel or you will just end up making your ring two sizes bigger, yep done that too)!
To make the bezel for the lamp work headpin I blue tack the headpin to the table (as shown) and wrap the bezel wire around it, then I trim where they over lap and file the edges straight, join the edges together and solder again using medium solder and leave to cool.
Punch a hole in the centre of your silver sheet. (The first time I made this ring I cut the end of the wire off completely and the glass moves around in the setting much like a marble, while this dose make a great fiddle ring it can be annoying if you look down and the glass is at a funny angle, so if you leave a little wire and it sits in the hole it stops this from happening). Use your nail buffer to buff the sheet metal and the bottom of the bezel, this will make sure that they are clean and flat (if they are not clean the solder will not flow) Use your medium solder to solder the bezel in place and leave to cool.
Once cool use your saw to slowly trim the edges. I like to leave a 0.5 mm edge as I think it looks more interesting but you can cut it flat if you prefer Using your nail buffer again file the edges so they are nice and smooth. Next is the tricky part I dap the bottom in a dapping block, I do this as I find the 5 mm bezel wire is not quiet tall enough to capture the headpin unless I do this and also it looks more interesting then a flat bottom. I find that the dapping works better if I use the size 3 punch but in the size 4 hole. If I try doing it in the size 3 hole it starts to distort. You will need to find out which sizes work better for your bezel, but make sure the punch is not too big as you don’t want to stretch the bezel wire.
Next to find out how much wire you need to leave, it should be 0.5 mm same as the thickness of the silver sheet but I always measure this way as I just find it so much easier! thread tour headpin into the bezel mark with a sharpie and then remove, trim and file flat (make sure you don’t trim it while it is in the bezel as it is such a pain to get back out again)!
Buff the bottom of the bezel and the joint of the ring and using easy solder paste solder together (I use tweezers to hold the ring in place) once soldered leave to cool for a while before pickling. (I ran out of my normal safety pickle at this point so used warm vinegar and salt and I was very surprised at how well it worked).
I don’t normally like to use super glue (seriously that stuff is horrible when it gets all over your fingers and then goes hard and that is if you are lucky enough not to glue yourself to something) But it makes setting a lot easier. A couple of drops of glue and then push in the lamp work until you feel the metal go into the hole then leave to dry for a while. When dry, set the lamp work in the bezel by pushing the bezel over the dome starting at the 12 o clock position then 6 o’clock, 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock working around the bezel until it is all pushed in. I don’t have a bezel setting tool and just used a wooden spoon!
When the lamp work is set you can hand polish it or pop it into the tumbler. I made up a couple of other rings to stack with it.