Watch a video demonstration above to see how a thin shank is repaired. Continue reading below to learn more about the process!
After a wedding ring has been worn for many years, the metal will start to wear down. Once the ring becomes thin enough to the point where it might break, it’s time to do a repair called a shank.
A rink shank repair is done by cutting out the old thin section of the ring and replacing it with a new thicker piece of gold.
This bridal set had been worn for many years and the gold on the bottom of the ring (the shank) had worn very thin.
Step one: Cut out the thin portion of the ring.
Using a jewelers saw, cut out the thinnest section of the ring. In this particular case I am doing a “half shank” and will cut about half way down the sides…a bit lower than my pose here.
Thinnest section removed! This will be replaced by thicker 14kt gold stock. When ordering or rolling your gold stock, make sure it is the same width as the original shank, and at least 1.25mm thick.
Step Two: Measure the distance needed for the new piece of gold and then cut that new piece with the jewelers saw.
As you can see, the new piece that was cut is at least twice as thick as the original. There is a good chance the ring started out as this thickness, but due to gold being soft and worn over many years, the shank starts to thin out.
Step 3: Solder one side of the new shank
While clamping the ring mounting, use tweezers to hold the other piece of gold and line it up accordingly. This takes a bit of a steady hand, but if you mess up you can always unsolder it and try again. I usually add 14kt hard solder to one end of the seam, that way I can flow the gold when the pieces are touching.
One side is now soldered! Time to close the gap on the other side.
Step 4: Close the gap and solder the other side.
Using pliers you can bend the gold until it is flush on the other side, then flow hard solder in the seam accordingly.
The new shank is soldered into place!
Step 5: Clean up the shank
Now that the new shank is in place, it’s time to blend it with the existing ring. There are many ways to do this…using a file, polishing wheels, or even sanding discs. I personally love using sanding discs because they do a great job of blending everything. I usually use a disc that doesn’t have too hard of a grit, something in the medium range that has plenty of flexibility.
Step 6: If necessary, carve the ring line on the top of the shank with the saw blade.
In this particular case the ring was as a bridal set, meaning it was both an engagement ring and wedding band that was previously soldered together. Carving the line helps the “common shank” (two rings sharing one shank) look more like two rings. This is usually done when there is no intention of ever separating the rings again. It is also a cheaper alternative to doing two separate half shanks and then soldering the rings back together. I did notice the original shank I cut out was already a common shank, so we are just doing the same here.
Step 7: Lap the sides of the ring.
Using a lapidary, polish up the sides of the ring to give the shank a nice crisp edge.
Step 8: Inside ring polish.
Using an inside ring buff, polish the inside of the ring and shank to blend everything even further for maximum comfort.
Step 9: Use a buffing wheel to achieve high polish. Finish everything off with a buff that will brighten up the entire ring. Make sure to use a polishing compound when doing this. My favorite brand is Fabulustre.
The shank is complete! This half shank will last many more years with daily wear and tear.
The original shank measured .60MM, which is below what I generally like to see in a ring (1mm minimum thickness), thus the recommendation of a new shank.
The new shank is 1.25MM thick, which is just what we were aiming for! This is just over twice as thick as the thin portion we cut out.
Thin vs Thick. The width of the new shank is nice and steady as well and does not taper down like the thing shank does.
The ring is now much better off with a new thick shank installed. This new shank should last many more years.
Whenever a ring get thin, there are multiple different repairs that can be done to restore and preserve the integrity of the ring. A new shank primarily deals with the bottom portion of the ring.