Monday, February 2, 2009

MY FIRST PMC RING

After making a ring last week from 14 Gauge fine silver wire, I started to wonder about making a ring from PMC. I thought this would allow the ring to have some weight to it and perhaps a stamped design. This weekend I tried something new... again!

Because it's so neat to see the ring in it's raw clay state, the picture on the left is the ring before firing and the pictures below are taken after firing, patinizing with liver of sulphur and polish. What do you think?

This was a great exercise in my skill with PMC and it did present a few challenges:


Challenge #1: Perfecting the Seam

I was going to show you my first ring I made from PMC but actually this is my second. The first one never made it to the firing stage because it split and broke where I joined the seam in the band. No worries though, with PMC there is no waste at this stage because the clay can be crushed, rehydrated and used again. So this is actually my second attempt and I still need to perfect the join before I can even consider selling them! Another minor issue, is figuring out how to recreate the stamped surface over the join area. I'm not sure if I'm being too picky, maybe it can never be totally invisible.

Challenge #2: Correct Sizing:
The second challenge with PMC rings is getting the sizing correct. The clay shrinks about 12% during firing so you have to account for this. My ring ended up being just a little too big for me. I think it's about a size 7. I may have to find a friend who wants a new ring, but I'll wear this one for a while to test its strength.

Challenge #3 YOUR Ring Size:
I wonder how many people actually know their ring size? I don't often wear rings except the one on my wedding finger, so I don't even remember what size it is, never mind my right hand which is a little bigger. It makes me wonder how many people won't buy a ring unless they can try it on. Now this challenge can be solved quite easily by giving you a link to an article to figure it out in, How to Determine Your Ring Size. There are also shops that send you a plastic ring sizer for a small charge to try on before making the purchase, good idea!

Challenge #4 Considering Cost:
As usual, I'll have to consider the high cost of PMC. This ring is 5 grams of silver before firing so it has some weight to it. That's not so bad, if you create a perfect ring on your first try! What if I make a ring for a customer and I have to make 2 or 3 to get the right size because of shrinkage and... what if they measured their size wrong?

As you can see, I have some reservations about pursuing the ring making business. But of course this is why we try things isn't it? I love to learn by doing and trial and error. I'll definitely be experimenting some more to see if this can be a viable option for my shop.

I'll leave you with another quote:(don't know what it is about Monday and quotes!)

Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.
Sir Winston Churchill

By the way, don't forget to enter my giveaway here or come back on Wednesday to guess the location of another "Where in the world" photo. I have lots of entries so far, but keep those guesses coming. I love to read all of them!

8 comments:

  1. There certainly are a lot of things to consider when making rings but the finished product is lovely!

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  2. sherri haab says to take the flat ring size (strip of paper) and add 10 to 12% on the copier (i'd do 10, you can always hammer up to size), copy and tape that length around your mandrel and go from there.

    haven't tried it yet but found that suggestion before i found your blog while searching for sizing ideas for pmc rings.

    great blog btw---am from Wichita. enjoy the PNW!

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  3. Thanks Melanie, yes that's exactly what I did. I probably should have erred on the smaller side. I'll try that next time. Like I said, it's all trial and error!

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  4. The ring is beautiful! I found something awhile ago in Rio Grande's Tools catalog, I dog eared it to purchase when I decided to finally use pmc. It's ring blanks that you form your pmc around and it doesn't allow it to shrink. I'll look at it tomorrow for you and let you know! I wish that ring was a size 8 I'd buy it in a heartbeat!! Fabulous :)

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. Wonderful ring! There is a seamless ring mold kit available that takes a lot of the work out of the issues you raised.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGJj_YAIw7g

    ReplyDelete
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