To make the shapes, I used mandrels from Bead Smith. They are very handy for making rings as well as earring armatures or consistent shapes like drops. I have numbered each 'step' on the mandrel and make notes in my sketchbook which size I used. I thought they were a bit cheap at first because they are plastic, but now that is one of my favorite features. They are super light weight and really easy for me to bring to softball and baseball games, which is when I do a lot of the prep work for my projects.
On another note, this is the first time I have used the easy flow paste solder I recently bought from Fire Mountain Gems. It definitely melts quicker than the medium that I was previously using. I really like it. Soldering all of these rings was super quick. And they cleaned up quick with my new file from Harbor Freight too.
A bummer from last night is that after many years of use, my tumbler belt finally broke. I had bought a spare on my last trip to Harbor Freight (I must have known it was time), but it didn't fit well. Maybe I didn't put it on correctly, but it wasn't tight enough so the barrel wasn't turning as much as it should have. I ended up using a rubber band and now it is working great again. I have lots of rubber bands, so I should be good for a while now!
And last but not least, the Orchard Supply Hardware near me is going out of business and everything is at least 20-40% off. That was a great opportunity for me to run in and get my favorite packages of copper wire for under $3.00 each. I think I bought all of the remaining packages. There was (1) 18g, (2) 20g, (2) 22g and (1) 24g. The wire itself is not the best quality - try Thunderbird Supply for that - but I love the packages for portable beading. It has a centimeter and inches ruler on the back, the wire doesn't get tangled in my bag and the wire is sometimes square'ish which can be useful depending on what you're doing. Of the packages I bought last night, the 18g is round, the two packages of 20g are definitely square and the other packages are round. All fine for me. I just finished a package of 20g on the rings, so the timing was perfect!
Oh - and did I mention I did it again?!.. I ordered more beads from FMG. I wish I would stop - but I can't help myself! As I get more enamored of copper, the more rustic beads appeal to me. Of course, I should have decided that before I invested in lots of AAA fine gemstones for the past few years. I'll post my goodies later this week. They should be here Thursday.