Ring tubes come in a few different shapes and sizes. Each has its own pros and cons, depending on what you’re making. Before you buy, think about what type of rings you want to make. Which ring tube is best suited for all your ideas?
And if you’re not sure, get flat-sided. You can’t go wrong with a flat-sided ring tube!
My personal favourite, because it’s the most versatile of all the shapes (in my opinion). Use that flat side and turn it into a signet or create a bezel from it and set stones. Sure, you can use the other tubes for this as well. But why go through the trouble of creating a perfectly flat surface on a curve when this ringtube has already done it for you?
My favourite thing about this tube, is that it gives you all this extra wax on the flat side to play with. It’s basically BEGGING you to get creative with it and make something. Anything! Big? Weird? Cool? Fun? Beautiful? It’s up to you to use it.
The flat side also makes it the easiest to mark centre lines and take measurements from it. And if needed, you can just cut the flat side off and turn it into a completely round band.
Some flat sided tubes come with a lot of extra wax on the flat side. Use these tubes if you intend to use that wax. Otherwise, it’s a lot of extra work to pierce and file that all away.
I don’t really have any strong feelings about round tubes. They’re perfect for making round rings. I love filing a pattern in a ring band, so I use these often.
I think these tubes are good for rings that don’t have a distinct top (the flat sided tube is better for those), but where the whole band is equally important.
The first time I bought an off-centre tube was a mistake, I thought I was buying a round one (don’t tell me I’m the only one who doesn’t read product descriptions properly). I was surprised, but I didn’t hate it.
If you like the shape of this tube, with the gradual increase of wax on the sides and the top. This is the tube for you. It saves you a lot of filing and measuring, trying to get both sides even.
The main con for this tube: it’s hard to mark in centre lines. If you’re making something where measurements are very important, you might be better off with a flat-sided tube. That way you can use the flat side to take all your measurements from.
You can also get ring tubes without a pre-cut centre hole. I do use these occasionally, but never for rings. If you’re going to cut your own ring size from scratch, you can easily use wax slices. Choose the slice thickness you want your ring width to be. That way you can skip the step of piercing the ring from the tube.
What do I use the solid tube for then? Mostly for when I want to make round pendants.
Now that you’ve decided on a shape, it’s time to decide on a size. Each shape comes in a few different sizes. The centre hole is always the same size, but the amount of wax around it differs.
Small tubes are quicker. Less wax means less piercing, filing and waste. But less wax also means a decreased design availability and you can’t really make big ring sizes from them.
Big tubes are a bit slower. More wax means more piercing filing and waste. But more wax also means you can make bigger ring sizes and there is more space for designing.
Personally, I prefer the bigger tubes. I don’t mind the extra waste. I reuse all my scraps, so I don’t actually consider them waste. When I look at a small ring tube, I only see all the designs I CAN'T make. But when I look at a bigger tube, I see possibilities.
Now let me know, what is your favourite ring tube style and size?