Under the gun and short on metal

I have a business of helping couples make their own wedding bands. They do this in my studio, and fabricate each others bands with metal I provide for them.  This is a one day affair, and I have to have all metals, materials, gasses, and everything else they might need.

On Friday, I had a young couple come in, ready to make  palladium bands for each other.   We spent some time designing the bands they wanted, taking measurements, and their ring sizes.  I had thought I had plenty of palladium for their two bands, but when I went to my pouch where I keep my precious metals, I discovered I only had slightly over 11 gr. of palladium for both rings!!

I started to sweat, not sure I could help them create their bands, at the widths and sizes they wanted, with the meager amount of metal I had on hand.  The man melted 4 gr. of palladium to make his fiance’s 5.3 mm wide band, and she melted about 7 gr. for his 6.5 mm wide band.  As the ingots they made worked up to square on the rolling mill, I worried to myself if there would be enough metal for both rings.  We worked on through the morning, rolling the ingots to the correct width, then flattening them, gaining the length neccessary to make each band.  Each was a bit short on my ring length gauge, so I upset each piece of flat stock slightly in the grooves to narrow the stock, and after reflattening, gained the length needed for each band.

After the desired length was achieved for each piece of stock, I had my clients cut the newly made stock to the right length, and the rings were rounded up, soldered, and finished into finished bands.  I provided a hand-engraved florentine finish to the outside of each band, after the bands were rouge polished.

The thickness of each band was slightly thinner than I would have liked, but I often have bands come out a bit thicker than neccessary.  The finished bands were elegant with their sparkly florentine finish, and the couple was well pleased with their work.  (The man asked if he could include a tip with his credit card payment!)

After the couple had left my studio at the end of the day, with their rings in a ring box, I weighed up the cut-off ends of the ring band stock that remained on the workbench.  There was only a half gram of palladium left!!

Lesson:  Always have plenty of raw material on hand for each job, especially if it’s vital to have enough on that particular day!

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