Copper Bangle and Ring made using Rolling Mill

It’s a Durston SK261A

In this post I’ll be talking about my rolling mill and a couple of pieces I made using it, a copper bangle and a copper ring after this viking one

copper bangle

I’ve got my beautiful rolling mill up and running (thanks cousin Julie)
If anyone knows anything about this particular model I would love to hear from you.

copper bangle, rolling millcopper bangle, durston rolling mill

It’s built like a tank, weighs 40 odd kilos and needs bolting down to my workbench.

First things first

Figure out how turning the top wheel relates to the gap between rollers.
There’s a calibrated disc that has no pointer so I need to make one.
It’s a piece of thick copper wire with a point soldered onto it and held in place by the spring in the wire. Now I can read the calibrations on the disc. So one full turn is 0.060” or sixty thou which is 1.5mm so a quarter turn is a bit under 0.4mm. I like to work in millimetres, seems easy and intuitive to me. I once had a vernier caliper thad read in increments of 1/128” needless to say I didn’t keep it for long. The disc reads zero where the rollers meet so now I have an idea of where I’m up to when I’m working with it. Just need to remember which way to turn it.

What to make

I thought I would draw some different wire sections and make a ring, bangle and earring. .

copper bangle, using rolling millcopper bangle, wirecopper bangle, twisting wire

The copper wire is hard when it comes through the mill. One of the challenges of jewellery making is to ensure that your work has the right amount of hardness. Rolling, stretching and forming impart hardness, you need to anneal then to continue working. Annealling is heating to a dull red then quenching in water. The wire is easily twisted by chucking in a hand drill and turning with the other end held in a vice.

copper bangle, annealed wirecopper bangle, prototype ringcopper bangle, ring

Annealed and pickled wire, a prototype ring and beginning the viking ring, made from square wire. I have to anneal often because the square wire work hardens quickly.

copper bangle, ring on mandrelcopper bangle, finished

Sizing the ring on a mandrel; this is really easy, as long as the ring is made under size it can be opened up a couple of sizes because of it’s sliding design. The finished pieces… two ring prototypes, the finished ring and a copper bangle and hoop earring made from the flattened and twisted wire. After it’s final twist the bangle is quite hard.

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