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What Is A Ring Mandrel & How To Use It

It's so important to ensure that your rings are sized accurately, not only does it save time amending mistakes it also maintains your professionalism.

On this tutorial page, we run you through what exactly a ring mandrel is and the number of ways it will come in handy in the workshop for shaping and reshaping rings.

What is a ring mandrel?

A ring mandrel, also known as a triblet is a large, tapered tool made from steel which is perfect for forming, shaping and reshaping rings on. Most mandrels will also have ring sizes on, so you can ensure you are forming the correct sized ring. It's also great for creating wire wrapped rings too.

Use a ring mandrel to measure an existing ring size

If you need to know a customer's ring size, a ring mandrel is handy to have so you can accurately measure an existing ring. This ensures that you will be confident in creating a ring that will be the perfect fit.

Shape rings

When making a ring from scratch, after the soldering and pickling process, you will need a ring mandrel to shape the band into a round ring shape. Place the ring onto the mandrel and use a rawhide mallet to tap around the ring to form its shape, frequently taking the ring off and turning it around to continue tapping to ensure it is evenly round.

What's the difference between a ring mandrel and ring size stick?

A ring mandrel can be used to measure, shape and reshape rings and a ring size stick is solely intended for measuring rings.

Ring size sticks are made from aluminum, which is more lightweight compared to a ring mandrel which is made from steel. Do not use a ring size stick for shaping or stretching rings as this could damage it and make it inaccurate for measuring.

How to increase ring sizes with a mandrel

If a ring only needs increasing by a size or two, it can usually be adjusted using a mandrel and a rawhide mallet. The mandrel ensures that the ring band maintains its shape.

You shouldn't use any other hammer other than a rawhide mallet as it's made from leather and will not mark your metal during the process.

1. Place the ring onto the mandrel and hold your finger over any stone settings.

2. Use a rawhide mallet to strike the back of the band and continue striking the ring in a downwards motion.

3. Frequently take the ring off the mandrel and turn it upside down back onto the mandrel, then continue to strike the ring - ensuring it stretches evenly.

4. Keep checking the size on the mandrel until you have reached the desired size.

5. Buff the ring with rouge on a polishing mop to restore the sparkle or if you do not have an electric multi-tool then use polishing papers or a polishing cloth.

Rawhide Mallet is essential

As stated above, the rawhide mallet is a must when shaping and reshaping rings on a ring mandrel as it doesn't leave any hammer marks. Conversely, it is also invaluable for forming and truing textured metal shapes where hammering could spoil the surface.

The rawhide hammer we sell at Kernowcraft is manufactured in the UK and made of compressed rawhide. The hammer will feel hard as wood when you first use it but will soften with age to fit your working style. 

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