Looking for advice on sorting ring sizes
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Joined: December 1, 2017
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Location: Austin TX

Looking for advice on sorting ring sizes
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Posted on Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:37 pm
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I found a quantity of rings in a box of stuff I purchased at a yard sale recently. The rings are of unknown metal and various gauges and diameters all mixed together.

As you can imagine, it is quite a tangle!

So far I have been sorting them by eye, trying to group like dimensions together, but this is a very time consuming process and to be honest, my eyesight is not the best, so I occasionally mix the sizes; one millimeter is not easy to spot, at least with my vision.

Are there any suggestions or hints for simplifying the sorting process?

Thanks in advance.

Joined: July 17, 2009
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Posted on Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:30 pm
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Inside Diameter: There is something called a "Finger Ring Mandrel". It is basically a tapered rod. You can probably cobble something together without buying it. Slide each unknown ring on there, and how far down they slide will tell you which are of similar size.

Wire Diameter: I think calipers is the only good way (google search for "digital caliper").

Type of Metal: That is best determined by look, feel, and experience. You said "unknown metal" above. Are they all the same kind of (unknown) metal, or a mixture of different metals?

Can you describe the metal? Can you bend it with fingers? Shiny? Dark? Rusty? Lightweight?

Can you link a picture of the pile of rings? Perhaps I can say more after seeing it. Cutters



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Posted on Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:23 pm
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You can cobble a size gauge from the conical jaws of a pair of needlenose pliers. Calibrate by using links of known size placed over the closed jaws; see how far down the known link goes, mark that with a sharpie. Other diameters of links get their own sharpie mark, preferably in different sharpie colors. It can show you a difference of a sixteenth of an inch ID readily, and a difference of 1mm only somewhat harder to spot. It's somewhat coarse of resolution, perhaps, but it's served me as a quick go/no-go gauge.

Metal type: sort steel links out of there using a magnet. A magnet works on some grades of stainless steel too. SS is often more weakly magnetic than rustable simple mild steel. Expect stainless wire not sourced from a welding supply shop to be 304 alloy stainless -- corrosion resistant, yet drawable into wire.


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Posted on Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:12 am
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How big is the box?
If it's relatively small, I would just do a rough sort and use them when I need a single ring or two of an uncommon size.
To build a full project out of it, I'll look for a project that doesn't requires to have a very consistent ring size & material.

I find it easier to sort large collections by steps: make groups based on whatever criterion you can very quickly tell the items apart, then sort again each group based on the second quickest criterion, and so on.
By the end, you should sort rings 1mm apart when you're looking at a group having only rings 1mm apart, which should be easier.

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Posted on Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:04 am
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I think yes, you can add information more than the other part of this aspect.

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Re: Looking for advice on sorting ring sizes
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Posted on Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:45 pm
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otrfan49 wrote:
Are there any suggestions or hints for simplifying the sorting process?


If you have a caliper, measuring is going to be your most accurate bet. However, The Ring Lord has a PDF of rings at scale here:

The Ring Lord's Ring Size PDF

If you print this out on a US Letter (8.5" x 11") sheet of paper, it should be reasonably accurate for a given value of printer accuracy. It should at least get you in the ballpark for most of your rings, and then if you need to be more exact, you can start measuring with your calipers.[/url]

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