How to Make Double-Sided Coin Rings
A country’s coins are often bedecked with symbols of its natural wealth, or the face of its sovereign bordered by vines and flowers. For the coin collector, the attraction is obvious, but old coins hold promise for aspiring jewelers as well. Coin shops often set aside relatively worthless coins that the jeweler can purchase for less than a dollar. With the right tools, the right coin and a bit of patience, these old coins can be reshaped to make interesting and beautiful rings.
Things You'll Need
- Copper or silver coin
- Concrete nail
- Leather strips
- Vise/vise grip pliers
- Electric drill with bits of various sizes
- Dremel-type rotary tool with burning bit
- Solid metal ring mandrel
- Plastic mallet
- Light-grit sandpaper
- Small sanding drum
- Felt disks
- Tripoli compound
- Jeweler’s rouge
- Spray bottle
Find the center of the coin. To do this, make a simple jig by gluing a plastic ruler over a plastic 90-degree template. Set the coin underneath the ruler, right in the corner of the jig. Draw a pencil line over the coin along the ruler line, rotate the coin 90 degrees and draw another line. The center should be the point where the two lines meet.
Hammer a hole or indentation in the center with a concrete nail. This will serve as a guide for drilling.
Tape leather strips in the vise grip jaws to secure the coin and prevent scratching.
Place the coin in the vise grip. Drill a small hole through the center with a small bit, then swap out the small bit for a larger one and drill again to enlarge the hole. Repeat this step until the hole is large enough to fit the burring bit on the rotary tool.
Burr the hole in the coin until it resembles a washer.
Put the coin into the ring mandrel and begin gently pounding the edges downward with the plastic mallet. Rotate the mandrel as you work.
Tap the ring farther down the mandrel once you have gone around its circumference three to four times. Tap the sides, turning the mandrel. After another three to four revolutions, tap down the ring again and continue until it can’t be flattened anymore.
Remove the ring from the mandrel, flip it over and put it back on the mandrel. Tap it down onto the mandrel to widen its diameter.
Pound the sides of the ring to get the outside of the ring closer to the mandrel surface. This may require hitting harder and rotating the mandrel as you hit. The goal is to force the ring to lose its cone shape, so you’ll have to continue pounding it down the mandrel and pounding the sides.
Take the ring and rub both of its edges on light-grit sandpaper. Sand until its appearance improves.
Finish the inside and outside edges with a small sanding drum.
Use a felt disk to polish the ring, first with Tripoli compound then with jeweler’s rouge. This will give it a gleaming, professional finish.
- The coin will become very hot as you drill to widen the hole. Periodically mist the coin with water from a spray bottle to cool it down, particularly if it begins to smoke.
- Work dark-colored ink or glaze into the low points of the design on the coin to make the picture stand out.
- Don't let the ring slide around on the mandrel while you are pounding the metal or the thickness could become uneven. Push it down as far as it will go on the mandrel.
- mexican coin image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com