Tools and Techniques
December 4, 2017
A common piece used on a model ship is a split ring. Often made from brass, these are small rings that are cut open at one spot. By twisting the ring you can open it up or close it back.
My wife runs a jewelry company, and she calls these ‘jump rings’. She buys them in bulk because they go through thousands of them. I could ask her for some (they’re cheap), but she buys them in various types of gold suitable for jewelry. I don’t need to bling out my boat with gold.
A model ship kit will usually come with a bunch of rings, but what if you need more? Making a single ring is pretty easy – just wrap some wire around some round nose pliers and cut. Sometimes, though, you need a lot of rings fast. While working on my Bluenose build, I decided to substitute rings for the hanks to secure sails to their stays. I needed to make several dozen rings, and making them one at a time would be tedious and would result in a bunch of slightly different rings.
So, here’s the method I used to mass-produce split rings. (I’m sure I learned this from somewhere…this is not an original idea.)
Make sure the brass wire you use is bendable enough, yet will hold its shape. I use a 22 gauge wire.
For a tube to wrap around, I use some brass tubing. A while back I picked up a package of ‘assorted brass tubing’, which contains various sizes of tubing. By switching the size of the tubing, I can make rings in nearly any size.
The tighter you wrap, the better your rings turn out.