Cassius: Ever since IMGUR abandoned their mobile site and corralled me into their really quite awful app, I've been struggling with images. Feel free to fix them if you can.
Our recent meeting of the Twentieth inspired me to finally make another attempt at ring carving. I tried this once before last fall, but I was living in a truck and the only tool I had was a pocket knife. I was rather frustrated.
Then life intervened; I moved to another state and started a new career, and haven't thought much about it since.
So let's try again! I've ordered the correct tools, and started the project last night.
The first thing I did was clamp the wax in a vise, using soft balsa wood to protect the wax from the metal. I then cut off a section with a jeweler's hacksaw. What a difference that made! This thing almost can't help but cut straight.
I then applied a six-bladed steel ring-making mandrel to open up the hole. If possible, this tool is even more useful than the saw. Perfect symmetry.
The first question was which digit I would size it to. I ended up on the ring finger basically by default; my mandrel doesn't cut any larger than that, which is my only complaint.
I pretty quickly realized that I hadn't cut the wax wide enough, so I sawed off a larger section. I'll set aside the small one for another project.
After working this blank with the mandrel, I opened the little set of carving tools and set to work. It quickly became apparent that scraping was the right approach. Cutting, poking, stabbing—they all just created problems.
It's easy to get carried away with scraping. I had to become very disciplined in order to maintain symmetry. On the other hand, I don't want to become paralyzed by perfectionism. If this blank doesn't work out, I'll cut another one!
That's as far as I got last night. I'll continue to post updates. If I get something worth casting, that's where things will get really interesting.