Would stainless steel make a crappy wedding band?
November 8, 2005 7:25 PM   Subscribe

Would stainless steel make a crappy wedding band? I thought the screws in my hip were titanium, but they aren't. I was planning to have them melted them down and make my beau's ring out of them. Could this stainless steel suffice? Would a coating help?
posted by smartypanties to Grab Bag (32 answers total)
 
Let's see. In order: Yes. No. and No.
posted by about_time at 7:32 PM on November 8, 2005


Not a metallurgist, but there is absolutely no reason I can see that stainless steel would be a crappy ring. It would be more scratch resistant than gold or silver and just as lustrous. And here's the wiki on it.
posted by wilful at 7:33 PM on November 8, 2005


i thought you were talking about music.
posted by brandz at 7:33 PM on November 8, 2005


I agree with about_time. What are you seriously considering? Won't you fall apart if you have the screws taken out of your hip? Sounds like you got the old K Mart "Blue Light Special" when it comes to the hip surgery. :-) Probably an HMO job now that I think about it. Why don't you just BUY a ring and that way you won't look like Gumby at the wedding. :-)
posted by thebarron at 7:41 PM on November 8, 2005


Brandz, I laugh out loud. I was thinking the same thing. Steel drum band, anyone?
posted by TonyRobots at 7:41 PM on November 8, 2005


You want surgical stainless steel, and you can't go to a typical jeweler because the stuff is way harder than what they normally deal with. Body jewelry places could probably handle it though since most piercings are made of this stuff.
posted by smackfu at 7:44 PM on November 8, 2005


Dear about_time,
May i ask how you are so certain with your answer "Yes. No. and No? Your bluntness makes it seem as though you are an authority. Are you?
posted by smartypanties at 7:45 PM on November 8, 2005


to the barron:
Re: "just BUY a ring and that way you won't look like Gumby at the wedding."
My hip will be healed before I remove the screws, so don't fear my falling apart, silly. I'm happy to buy a ring, but this is more symbolic in that he took such good care of me during my recovery...just as the screws did. They made me whole, just as he does. I could get even sappier (sicker?) with the metaphors, but I'll end it here.
posted by smartypanties at 7:53 PM on November 8, 2005


Stainless steel isn't really stainless--it requires occasional buffing, but the (creepy?) sweetness of the sentiment makes this idea totally worthwhile.

If you want to go all the way, you can get the ring powder-coated, but why mess with a good metaphor?
posted by interrobang at 7:56 PM on November 8, 2005


I think it's a great idea. Depending on who the "beau" is. I tend to find most bands unimpressive, but I've never been a sucker for jewelry. I think sentiment, however off the beaten path it may be, make the finer gift here.
posted by GilloD at 8:00 PM on November 8, 2005


It would be easier to make a ring out of a stainless pipe, and save the screws for the honeymoon.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:11 PM on November 8, 2005


I have a stainless steel ring (it's an engineering thing in Canada), and it's a fine ring, if kind of plain.
That being said, melting down your hip screws will change some of the properties of the metal, so the person making the ring needs to know what they're doing to make sure the end-product isn't too brittle.
posted by cardboard at 8:18 PM on November 8, 2005


I've worn this ring for 10 years straight and it has not corroded, scratched, or otherwise deteriorated. Surgical stainless steel should be able to do just as well, but there's always the option of electroless plating with nickel or chromium for extra corrosion resistance.
posted by cardboard at 8:24 PM on November 8, 2005


In Canada, we receive "Iron Rings" upon graduating with an engineering degree. They used to be made of iron, but the new ones are made of stainless pipe with the edge beveled.

Most people think they look pretty good. A few people have asked me if it was a wedding band. Some combination of jeweler/Machine Shop should be able to get this done for you. The one thing to consider is the stainless will be much harder than any gold rings you may have, and it may have a tendency to cut into the gold.
posted by Yorrick at 8:31 PM on November 8, 2005


Does this mean you're really going to be joined at the hip?
posted by barnone at 8:32 PM on November 8, 2005


Melting down stuff that was once in your body does seem a bit odd. Then again, I once helped cast a wedding ring that included an old tooth filling.

A friend of mine has a very cool stainless wedding ring, with a small diamond in it. It's very laid back and subdued. Not high on the monetary value scale, of course, but that doesn't really matter.

So yeah, I think it'll be entirely swell.

As already mentioned, the problem will be in getting someone to work with the material. Casting a ring out of bits of discarded gold or platinum is pretty straightforward, but working with stainless will be more difficult. I suspect the people capable of doing it for you would balk at such a small, one-off job. But people are always willing to do nice things when the cause is for love and marriage. Go for it!
posted by aladfar at 9:20 PM on November 8, 2005


I didn't realize there were so many civil engineers out here on mefi. they also make nice pinky rings. I've had my stainless steel for a few years and really don't see a difference between a stainless steel ring and a white gold ring in outward appearance (of course, if i lose the stainless it's only $10 to replace).

good luck
posted by NGnerd at 10:47 PM on November 8, 2005


I have worked in a foundry that cast stainless steel,we used induction furnaces to melt, 4000 F.usually the casting was done in vacuum,It is a beautiful material but very difficult to work for jewelry, that said I agree with about-time.
posted by hortense at 10:57 PM on November 8, 2005


I just -- as in this evening -- got my guy a stainless engagement ring, which for us will be the same as the wedding band. It looks wonderful and if it lasts as long as our fancy knives I'll be happy. I don't mind replacing the ring (which says 245$c on the inside, for the librarians in the crowd) eventually if I need to because while a ring is a symbol, and a nice one, it is not an embodiment of the relationship.

In summary, it looks hottt, and he likes it, and I think it's great.

(On the issue of wear, he says: "Look at it this way: you make a kitchen knife out of stainless steel. How long would a gold or silver kitchen knife last?")
posted by librarina at 11:02 PM on November 8, 2005


Ok, sorry to be so blunt and then run away. Perhaps I was hasty.
Here's a more reasoned response.

You should be asking your future spouse. They are going to be wearing this ring every day the rest of their lives, they should get a say in the matter. The ring I selected is not one my spouse would have selected for me.
posted by about_time at 4:00 AM on November 9, 2005


I have no expertise on this at all, but I'd like to add my opinion that this is a wonderful idea. I'm divorced now, but my ring was made out of white gold, and the carats were a lot lower than a regular gold band. I did it that way on purpose because I'm not very dainty, and I knew I needed a rock solid ring that was impervious to damage. Stainless steel would certainly do the trick, and the symbolism is lovely.
posted by abbyladybug at 4:20 AM on November 9, 2005


Sounds like a great idea but, even with my limited experience with metals, getting the ring made sounds like a challenge.

The idea of wearing a stainless steel ring also gives me the creeps, I have to say. For a person who works a lot with their hands, it is important to consider the safety of rings on fingers. If a stainless steel ring were to get caught on something that did not want to give way, stainless steel having the strength that it does, the digit might be the thing that gives way. /ouch! Note: I don't actually were a ring (lost in French woodland, mentioned here before).

Now, since you're talking about screws… why not make a custom frame or album for a wedding photo(s -'a') which incorporates the screws as screws? (Depending on size: screws to hold sheet materials together, screws which act as legs, etc.)
posted by Dick Paris at 6:05 AM on November 9, 2005


I didn't realize there were so many civil engineers out here on mefi.

For the Canadian-engineering-trivia record, all engineering graduates get the mystical Iron Ring, not just Civil engineers. Electrical, computer, chemical, mechanical, geological, "engineering science", etc, et al.

And yes, it's a perfectly fine ring, though I would say not as nice as a gold band.
posted by GuyZero at 6:22 AM on November 9, 2005


If a stainless steel ring were to get caught on something that did not want to give way, stainless steel having the strength that it does, the digit might be the thing that gives way.

This already happens with gold rings. One of my grade school teachers lost his ring finger to basically exactly this scenario.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:33 AM on November 9, 2005


the digit might be the thing that gives way.

A gold ring won't save your finger. A friend of my family lost a finger when his gold wedding ring got caught. Snapped it pretty much clean off.

Now, having said that, I'm male & think your ring idea is neato.
posted by aramaic at 6:35 AM on November 9, 2005


Karen Konzuk makes incredibly gorgeous stainless steel jewellry. I've been looking at her stuff for a "second" wedding band for some time now. My first gold ring got crushed on my finger under a load of lumber. I'm hoping stainless steel is a bit more resilient. I'd say, go for it, if you can find a reliable, talented artisan.
http://www.konzuk.com/stainless/rings.html
posted by UnclePlayground at 6:55 AM on November 9, 2005


I have a stainless steel wedding ring and love it.
posted by agregoli at 7:10 AM on November 9, 2005


Dick Paris writes "If a stainless steel ring were to get caught on something that did not want to give way, stainless steel having the strength that it does, the digit might be the thing that gives way. /ouch! Note: I don't actually were a ring (lost in French woodland, mentioned here before)."

As others have said even the wimpiest gold band is many times stronger than your finger. If you don't feel like eating today google degloving.

That said a tougher ring can actually be better than a soft metal ring. I've deformed my tri-gold (red/white/green) wedding ring a couple of times but my titanium anniversary ring doesn't have that weakness.
posted by Mitheral at 7:29 AM on November 9, 2005


If the concern is prettiness or the dearness of the metal, could you have it inlaid with something like gold or platinum wire?
The technique is demonstrated for inlaying gun muzzles here:
www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/inlay-work-10-3.htm
posted by Sara Anne at 8:14 AM on November 9, 2005


I just registered to reply to this topic. I was dating a girl that was in a very bad car accident. All I want to say is that as a guy that was in a situation similar to your beau's, I think it is a beautiful idea.

I knew exactly what you were saying when I read your post, it really pulled on my heart strings. If you can make it work then I say go for it. It would mean more then anything else you could do for a ring.
posted by McMikeal at 9:18 AM on November 9, 2005


hey, beau here. I'm totally down with the hip-screw idea, but had assumed the screws would be titanium, like the ones in my knee (yes, we make quite a patched-up pair). Having read a couple of threads here about titanium rings, I became pretty set on getting a titanium band.

So my only question with stainless steel was the practicality of it. But it looks like it's doable, albeit somewhat difficult to forge. Sounds like it's at least worth a try.

Cardboard - I like the Iron Ring you linked to, something like that could definitely work.
The look of the metal is actually fine with me - I wanted something with a dull finish on it anyway. And as previously stated, it could always be coated.

Thanks all.

on preview, welcome McMikeal! (and I agree with you)
posted by hellbient at 9:40 AM on November 9, 2005


There's some really good advice (and funny jokes) and kind sentiment in this thread. Thank you. We have begun our search for someone who can do this. Any leads for metal jewelry makers in NYC would be much appreciated.
All best,
Libby
posted by smartypanties at 9:53 AM on November 10, 2005


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