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Downsizing Shanks with Melee

I am a master setter here at Stuller, and a lot of customers will call us for help in downsizing shanks that have melee stones in them. Today I’ll show you a breakdown of a common yet delicate repair job.

Ring Sizing
1. Using a Mark-A-Size gauge set, mark out the larger size.

jeweler's saw
2. Using a jeweler’s saw, cut just outside the inscribed line to allow for sanding on the inside.

3. Using bow-bending pliers, carefully bend the edges of the shank back together.

4. Cut a piece of solder slightly larger than the width and thickness of the shank, and wedge the solder between the split of the shank.

boric acid
5. Dip the ring in a solution of boric acid powder and alcohol to prevent oxidation of the gold and to protect the stones from the heat of the torch.

6. Heat the piece to burn off the alcohol. Apply flux to promote good solder flow, and then heat the piece until the solder melts entirely throughout the seam.

7. After soldering, air cool the piece. Then place the piece into a pickle solution to remove the boric acid and the flux.

8. Use a pillar file to file down the solder even with the rest of the shanks.

emery paper
9. After filing the sides, remove the solder inside the shank with an emery paper barrel sander.

10. Check the size and tap up about 1/8 size to get to 5 1/2.

pegwood stick
11. Use a pegwood stick to check all stones for tightness.

12. Use a very fine sanding stick (500 grit) to remove file marks. Polish where sized, and clean in ultrasonic.


Tools Used

Mark-A-Size 35-0705

Nylon Ring Bending Plier
Nylon Ring Bending Plier 46-2084

Magic Flame® Soldering Compound 54-4440

Little Torch™ Propane/Oxygen Kit
Little Torch Kit 14-0024

Pegwood Sticks 58-2703

Blake Thibodeaux

CAM Manufacturing Master Setter 3

I returned to Stuller in 2013 (started in 1989 and left in 2005) • I am a master setter 3 and transitioning to a training specialist at this time • Proud and fortunate to be born and raised in the Cajun culture • I am blessed beyond reason • I can recite every line from “The Waterboy” • If you think a piece of jewelry can’t be fixed, give it to me • I believe everyone is capable of more than they realize • I am not a fan of green vegetables • Cannot round out a ring without my tongue hanging out.