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.
A former senior editor for DoItYourself.com, Justin spent years both as a writer/editor and working in the trades as a handyman, framer and installer of skylights. He's still active in his workshop, making things out of other things, like glowing whiskey bars, reclaimed redwood tables, knives out of horseshoes, lamps out of plumbing parts, and a butler robot (WIP).
Dawn Hammon has thrived in freelance writing and editor roles for nearly a decade. She has lived, worked, and attended school in Oregon for many years. Dawn currently spends her days convincing her children she is still smarter than them while creating new experiences with her husband of 24 years.&nbsp;
Her multiple interests have led her to frequently undergo home improvement projects. She enjoys sharing the hard-earned knowledge that comes with it with the audience of DoItYourself.com. Dawn and her sister make up a power-tool loving duo that teaches classes to local women with the goal of empowering them to tackle their fears and become comfortable with power tools.
Tapping into her enthusiasm for saving money and devotion to sustainable practices, Dawn has recently launched a passion project aimed at connecting eco-friendly products and socially-responsible companies with consumers interested in making conscientious purchases, better informing themselves about products on the market, and taking a stand in favor of helping to save the planet.
When she is not providing stellar online content for local, national, and international businesses or trolling the internet for organic cotton clothing, you might find her backpacking nearby hills and valleys, traveling to remote parts of the globe, or expanding her vocabulary in a competitive game of Scrabble.
Dawn holds a bachelor's degree in psychology, which these days she mostly uses to provide therapy for her kids and spouse. Most recently, I worked for a small local professional organizing and estate sale company for four years where I learned a ton about organizing and/or disposing of just about anything.
She was raised in a tool-oriented, hands-on, DIY family. Her dad worked in the floor covering business and owned local floor covering businesses, so of course selling floor covering was one of her first jobs. Her brother was a contractor for about 30 years and site supervisor for Habitat for Humanity. I worked with him often, building decks, painting houses, framing in buildings, etc. With her sister, she holds power tool classes to empower women who are scared or have never used them.
Not quite homesteaders, she did grow up with a farm, tractors, motorcycles, expansive gardens, hay fields, barns, and lots of repairs to do. Plus she and her family preserved foods, raised cattle and pigs, chopped and hauled firewood, and performed regular maintenance on two households, outbuildings, fencing, etc.
As an adult, she has owned two houses. The first one she personally ripped out a galley kitchen and opened it up to the living area, plus updated every door, floor covering, and piece of trim in the place. In her current home, she's tackled everything from installing real hardwood flooring to revamping the landscape.