How To Make A Spoon Ring
My foray into silverware art and jewellery began with spoon rings, so I’ve decided to share with you how I make them.
I saw my first spoon ring years ago on a walk through Kensington Market, in Toronto. Even though they have been around for centuries, I had never heard of spoon rings before that day. I was immediately enamored by the idea and the next thing I knew I was on youtube watching video tutorials on “how to make a spoon ring”. I made trips to both a local hardware store and jewellery supply company, bought the basic tools and the rest, as they say, is history!
I have made a lot of spoon rings over the last 8 years and am now using many different designs and techniques, but making a simple band is really quite straight forward with the right tools. It does, like anything else though, take a little practice to get the hang of. I recommend that to start you don’t use valuable pieces from your family silver or sterling silver, which can be quite costly. Just use an inexpensive, silver plated spoon (or fork). That way you don’t have to worry about messing up and can just have fun with it.
Note: I don’t often use stainless steel because it can be very hard to work with.
- spoon (silver plated or sterling silver)
- hack saw
- rotary tool (optional)
- bench grinder
- steel ring-mandrel
- mallet (rawhide or nylon)
- ring sizer (optional)
- sharpie pen
- rag or old towel
- silver polish
And guess what? No heat required! I think this is one of the most common questions I am asked and the answer is, “No. Just use your big, strong muscles.” 🙂
Step #1: Choose your piece
I prefer to use demitasse spoons, teaspoons or dessert forks because of their smaller size. They generally fit quite comfortably between the knuckles on most people. If the ring is intended for a larger hand, a tablespoon or dinner fork may work just as well.
Step #2: Determine the size
The most basic way of doing this without getting into purchasing a ring sizer (although that is preferable because it’s more accurate) is to take a piece of string and wrap it tightly around the knuckle of the finger the ring is to be worn on. If you do this around the squishy part of the finger where the ring will be worn, you risk making the ring too small. It must fit over the knuckle! I like to leave a slight overlap, that way the ring can be adjusted in size down the road. When you have your string where you want it, snip it with a pair of scissors.
Step #3: Cut the spoon
Take your string and run it along the part of the spoon you will use for making the ring, right from the very tip of the handle down towards the spoon bowl. Take your sharpie pen and mark the handle at the end of the string. This is where you’ll make your cut.
Next, open your vice, take an old towel or rag and cover the jaws so that you don’t mar the silver when clamping. Take the spoon and clamp the handle inside the jaws of the vice. Use your hacksaw to cut where you made the mark with your sharpie pen.
Step #4: Prepare the cut
Using a bench grinder or rotary tool with a cut off disk or grinding stone bit, shape the blunt cut to an approx. 45 degree angle. Then use a file or a sanding disk in your rotary tool (I like 240 grit) to smooth any roughness in the cut. This is really important if you want the ring to feel comfortable when being worn.
Oh! And it is VERY important to use safety googles during these two steps so that you look goofy and don’t wreck your eyes!! So do that please.
Step #5: Shaping
Take both your spoon handle and your mandrel and clamp them in the vice (don’t forget your rag). You’ll be bending the cut end of the handle first, lining it up approx. with number on the mandrel which indicates your size.
Using a mallet, hammer the end of the handle around the mandrel. Use those muscles!!!
Next, Flip the spoon handle, fancy side up, and clamp spoon handle and mandrel in the vice once again. You want the section that has already been shaped to cup the bottom side of the mandrel (which you can’t see). You can use your hand to feel the underside to make sure it is sitting snug. Once again, hammer until the spoon handle is formed around the mandrel. Keep adjusting the handle and hammering until the two ends meet. You will get a feel for how much to hammer each time. It takes a little practice!
You may need to move the ring up the mandrel (to a smaller size) to get the two sides to overlap just right. The ring will usually “bounce back” so it needs the extra squeeze.
Step #6: Polishing
This is the most satisfying part for me. It is up to you whether you want to polish or leave the patina, but I love making old look new again. I use Silvo, but you can use any silver polish you like….even an old toothbrush and toothpaste will do! If you want to get a perfect polish, use a buffing wheel and some jewellers rouge on your rotary tool or bench grinder. This is great for buffing out micro scratches and getting a really high sheen.
I hope you’ve found this helpful if you’re looking to make your own rings, or at least interesting if you’re not!