Dealing with ring damage - edges, nicks and sprung rings

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Joined: April 25th, 2012, 11:11 am
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Time stretching?: 3 + years
Stretching usage: WMCs
Your hang: free 6.5 inch
Stretching intensity: 24/7/365 until I reached my goal.
Now I only stretch when I feel like it.
Height and weight: 70 inch, 155 pounds
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Dealing with ring damage - edges, nicks and sprung rings

Postby tundraman » October 20th, 2012, 1:24 am

These are reposts of discussing ring damage problems and my cures:


The ring gaps should be fully closeing - completely flat. But the edges of the flat surfaces are beveled/champered/rounded so that they don't come to a sharp pinch point when closing the rings. If you are getting irritation from the bevels there probably is a rough edge. They are easy to nick. Metal files do not work well on this soft stainless steel and leave a rougher surface and sharp rolled edges. For minor spots, I use these 3 way fingernail buffers that I get from Sally's beauty supply - 3 grits, all very fine.
They are Tropical Shine brand, part number 707202. About $3 each. Checked - Available world wide via Amazon.
IMG_1615 buffer.JPG
IMG_1615 buffer.JPG (136.48 KiB) Viewed 2443 times

The wear you see on the bottom buffer is from smoothing alignment pins on my rings. They never hang open.

If, like I do, you have a bench grinder with a cotton buffing wheel and jewelers rouge to smooth the surface after sanding. Or you can use 1000 grit or finer metal cutting sandpaper on a flat surface to remove a larger nick or burr and finish with these buffer boards. Make your final step cleaning of the ring with close attention to getting any grit out of the threads. Then relube the threads to prevent gauling. (See cleaning post)


If the flats arent meeting and that is forming a gap, one or both halves of the ring are sprung/bent. It is quite hard to spring these rings but it is possible to bend this soft stainless steel with enough force or dropping them on concrete or forcing the screw tight with a gap on the opposite side etc. I would guess that the gap would be on the side opposite the screw. If you put the ring together with the screw lightly tightened and there is a gap anywhere (the flats don't fully meet), I have ideas.

Do all the outer (ID, OD and edges) surfaces line up by sight and touch? If made correctly and un damaged they will. If not, one of the halves is sprung or if the edges (top and bottom) don't line up the holes for the screw or pin are not in the right place. Most likely they are halves of different rings as the final turning and surfacing work is done fully assembled with the pin and screw installed.

If the ID and ODs are off on the screw side only with the screw out or loose, some gentle hammering of one half only may get it aligned. I would do this to the longer side with by standing the ring on edge on a piece of wood and tapping the other end to shorten being careful to not directly hammer the flats edge - maybe another thin piece of wood between hammer and work. Another, preferred option, is using a padded jaw bench vise to reform it. Measure by reassembly a lot and use only enough force to do the job. We don't want to over shoot the match - there is very little long term "spring back" in stainless.

If the gaps do all close try lightly tugging the pin side apart apart if it opens the screw may be too long or the hole has crud in it keeping the screw from tightening the halves. Or it got forced with the pin side hung open. ( I use the nail boards to smooth my pins just to prevent this from happening. And you can tell there is a gap screwing if the screw does not go from free turning to tight in less than a quarter turn.)

If there is a gap loosen the screw a turn or two. Will the flats meet now? If they meet now one or both halves have been sprung. Do the vise or hammer bit, squeezing/hammering at the gaps with the ring assembled and the screw only lightly snugged.
You never want to try to move the flats apart as this will make a gap worse by canting the flats away from each other.
The only time I would squeeze to spread the flats apart is if the gaps are at both of the IDs only.

If the sides all line up, there is the option of removing the pin and releveling the flats using a sheet of fairly fine metal cutting sandpaper laying face up on a flat surface. A file will not work on stainless. The pins come out with pliers and a gentle twisting pull - any mars on the pin from the pliers will need smoothing, so be careful, too much smoothing and the pin gets too small to align the halves well. Draw the flats across the paper always lined up and square to the surface with most of the pressure on the far end away from you, allowing the end toward you to keep everything level and switching ends often. This is to keep from opening a top/bottom gap - created my sanding sideways. Check the flat surfaces often to make sure material is being removed where you want it removed. And keep rechecking the fit of the rings (no screw until all grit is removed from the threads). After the flats mate up good, my final stroke or two are slightly diagonal with the pin end of the ring toward me riding off the edge of the sandpaper on the table - keeping carefully square to the table. This slight height difference, the thickness of the sandpaper, puts a slight closing / clamping bias on the ring at closure with out opening a gap on the ID. The roughness of the flats from the sanding is not a real problem but can be smoothed with finer sand paper. After cleaning the piece(s) if the edge bevel needs re rounding the nail boards make pretty quick work of any sharp edges.

After all is fitting correctly smooth out all the sharp edges, dents and dings from the abuse especialliy where it will be in contact with your hang Then clean the ring again with great attention to the threaded hole and screw - the abrasives are hell on those soft stainless threads - As is a lack of lube and over tightening ! Just shea works fine to prevent gauling of the threads.

You may note no mention of power tools here - these adjustments are too easy to over do. Even full machine shops do this fine surface mating work - lapping - by hand.

Describing this kind of "how to" is difficult as the termanology used and skills are usually not that common.
ID = internal diameter
OD = outer diameter
Index of info posts - viewtopic.php?f=4&t=931
Jarod's guide (New link): ... hing-guide
Secretleather site for real WMC's:

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