A Maker's Valentine Solution: Baling Wire Ring
You’ve been in the shop, not shopping. But now it’s Valentine’s Day and you need special something for your special someone.
You could make another backrub coupon, or you could hit it out of the park with a handmade ring made from the problem solving material that’s been pulling people out of a jam for over a century. Baling wire.
Step 1 - Cut the Wire
Cut about a foot of wire and bend it at the mid-point so the ends meet.
Secure both ends in the chuck of a drill driver.
Step 2 - Twist it
Loop the wire over some kind of secure post. I used a drill bit in a bench vice, but you could drive a nail or screw into your bench or a saw horse, as long as it’s secure.
Fire up the drill and the wire will twist around itself. Don’t go too fast and stop before it doubles up or kinks.
Step 3 - Hammer It Flat
The Wire has a convent loop at one end. Hold it by this and pound the whole length flat on your anvil.
No anvil? First of all, get one. A 15-pounder is easy to find and really useful. Otherwise, use the flat side of a sledgehammer. Don’t hit it too hard. It flattens easily and you could literally beat it to pieces.
Step 4 - Curl It Up
It bends pretty easily, but to keep it even you might need needle-nose pliers. The flattened twists create sections, so curl these one at a time into a circle. Again, be gentle and don’t snap it at the weak points.
Use an existing ring of your Valentine’s to get the size right, or your own fingers as a guide. If you have bigger hands, use your pinky, if smaller, use your thumb.
Step 5 - Cut and Weld
Snip the ring to size, creating a little kink at the end. Instead of the two ends butting together, they should meet at a tiny peak. Set your wire welder to its lowest setting and its slowest feed speed.
Clamp the ring closed, set the wire in the peak, and pop a weld. Pop one more on the other side of the peak.
No welder? Plan ahead and leave one strand of wire sticking out – unflattened – from either end of the twist. Curl it up into a circle and tighten up those strands like twist-ties.
Step 6 - Brighten Your Ring
I used an angle grinder with a 120-grit disk. You could use a belt sander, sand paper, emery cloth or sanding sponge. If you skip this step the ring will be a dark, charcoal gray, and if that’s okay with you, it’s okay with me.
But you do have to address the weld (or the twist-tie).
Knock down any sharp edges or errant slag. While you’re doing this you can create little facets that will catch the light like a crystal.