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Learn a classic: bombe ring

3 bombe rings in wax. One has a triangular pattern cut out, one has a rope pattern filed in and one has a rough texture

What better way to learn wax carving than with an absolute classic? The bombe ring is that classic! And a perfect first carving project. You learn everything that goes in to making a ring. And by creating the high domed surface, you immediately learn to use wax to its fullest potential.

So what are some of the techniques that go into transforming a flat piece of ring tube into the completely curved surface of a bombe ring?

File a taper

Bombe rings are wider at the top than they are at the bottom. How do you create that trapezoid shape? By filing a taper!

Hands holding a tapered ring, side view

When you file a taper you make sure that the size reduces gradually from the top to the bottom. It makes getting the sides symmetrical easy and the sides stay perfectly flat as well.

Tapering makes a big ring like this easier to wear. It’s like a reverse mullet! Party in the front: all the size, volume and fun you want is in the dome. Business in the back: the reduced width at the back makes the ring comfortable to wear. It’s easier to put the ring on and take it off, you can actually close your fingers over etc.

Learn how to taper a ring now and use it for all your other big rings.

File a dome

The beautiful curved dome is what it’s all about for a bombe ring. But how do you get that shape from a flat piece? It involves a little bit of drawing and measuring.

A flat ring blank with the dome shape drawn on in black marker

And filing. Lots of it.

Sure it takes some time to file a dome shape. But once you can do it, filing any kind of curved surface is going to be easy. Court shape ring? No problem! Heart shaped pendant? Easy!

It’s easier to learn something on a big surface and then translate it to a smaller surface.

You know what else is easier to do on a big surface?

Check your work

It’s much easier to spot mistakes on a big surface like this. I know it’s not fun to look for mistakes in your own work, but it’s the only way you can get better!

Check your curve. Is it in the middle or leaning to one side? Check the symmetry. Are the left and right side of the ring the same?

Hands holding a ring checking the curve, curve is leaning towards the left side and isn't completely in the middle

The more you practice this, the easier it becomes to spot unevenness in your work. Key is to find these early on when you still have a lot of wax to correct the unevenness.

Take your time and check your work often. And learn from it! If your curve is always leaning to the left side, maybe change the way you hold your ring when you file?

Ring finishes

There’s so much space on a bombe ring for finishing. How are you going to texture, pattern and personalise all this surface?

Just in case you need some inspiration, I’ll demonstrate 2 ways of finishing the bombe ring.

Bombe ring with a rope pattern filed in

Spoiler alert. It contains more filing. Totally worth it when it looks that good.

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to file a rope pattern, this is your chance to learn it.

Remove weight

Big rings like this are heavy. But there is an easy way to make this ring lighter. Bonus, it also reduces the metal cost when you have your ring cast!

Left hand holding a bombe ring upside down while burring away wax from the inside of the dome with the right hand.

The dome shape is beautiful but there is a lot of unnecessary material in there. A way to reduce weight without affecting the look of your ring, is by removing wax from inside of the dome. It won’t be visible that the dome is hollow when you wear the ring, but it can make the ring a lot lighter and easier to wear.

Removing weight from strategic places is something you’ll do with many wax pieces. You can learn how to remove weight safely and evenly with this ring.

How to do it the easy way

Wait, I didn’t have to do all that filing to create a dome shape? I could’ve just bought an off-centre ring tube!

Hand holding a purple off-center ring tube

Yes, there is an easier way to make this ring. The off-centre ring tube already has the correct shape for a dome ring. Using this ring tube will save you some time filing.

Then why did I learn to make this ring the hard way?

If you make wax rings regularly, you'll have a flat ring tube. It’s just the most versatile one. Knowing how to make any type of ring from this tube saves you getting extra material. Plus off-centre ring tubes aren’t as readily available as the flat ones. It could take time to get one delivered to you.

Besides, don’t you love learning new techniques? Learning multiple ways to do the same thing? I sure do! That’s why you can learn how to make a bombe ring from both style ring tubes here.

In summary

In short you learn how to go big AND stay comfortable. Making big pieces in wax is fun. But keeping comfort and wearability in mind is always a good thing when making jewellery. And combining the two? That has to result in a perfect piece of jewellery.

Feel inspired to learn all this? You can buy the bombe ring class now!