2024.05.29 Craftsmanship

[Craftsman Ring Making Blog #4] Anise Engraving Pattern —Finishing Process—

Hello, this is Maedo, the concierge.


In our "Concierge Ring Making Blog" series, we bring you real insights into ring making as learned by us, the ith concierges, in our workshop.

(For more details, please see the Introduction article)


This article describes the finishing process after engraving the "Anise" pattern.


Please continue to join us as we learn more about engraving from artisan Arai.


Past Articles:

  • #1 Sharpening Chisels
  • #2 Polishing Process That Affects the Finish
  • #3 Engraving Process


The Ring After Engraving



The Anise pattern, fully engraved around the ring for the first time after several days of work, is shown here.


While I feel a sense of achievement, the roughness of the engraving is noticeable.


The "Star" pattern is engraved with just enough quality to look like stars, but the "Pyramid-shaped engravings" between the stars were particularly challenging.


Let's compare it with the sample ring from our workshop.







When artisan Arai checked the finished Anise engraving, he explained:


"The most difficult part of engraving Anise is the pyramid.


If you don't have a good feel for supporting the chisel, you can't engrave it beautifully. Even if the main star pattern is beautifully done, if the pyramid isn't, it won't result in a beautiful Anise.


Therefore, the pyramid engraving plays a crucial supporting role.


The tension that arises because you can't redo Japanese-style engraving is what makes it a design that tests the skill of the craftsman."


Burrs Created by Engraving

"Next, let's remove the 'burrs," said Arai.


If left as is, the ring wouldn't be beautiful, so now we move into the finishing process.





Upon close inspection, the engraved surface is rough and pointed.


The sides have many small scratches, and sharp, spiky areas have formed.


Touching the surface with fingertips, I feel prickles and roughness—it would be dangerous to wear it as is.







While "metal = hard" might be our impression, it's surprisingly soft.


By engraving patterns like these, the metal moves, creating sharp unevenness on the engraved surfaces and edges.


We call these "burrs."


Burrs are very sharp and can snag on skin or clothing, so the finishing process to make the ring beautiful and safe to wear is very important.



Finishing the Surface and Inside

Now, I'll talk about the finishing process.


Parts that have gotten scratched are evened out using a spatula, and rough areas are polished using abrasive, just like in the preparation stage.


(※ For details, see #2 Polishing Process That Affects the Finish)


We carefully polish the inside and the surface, where the fingers touch, making sure not to damage the engraved patterns.






The polishing process is divided into several stages, and here is the final stage.


A cloth with polishing compound is spun, and the ring is pressed against it to achieve a mirror-like, glossy finish.


Again, Arai showed us how it's done.


Because the Anise engraving creates burrs, it needs to be polished, but over-polishing can soften the sharp impression unique to Japanese-style engraving, diminishing the beauty of the Anise.






Pressing too hard on the cloth can wear down the Anise too much, while too light a touch won't polish it enough.


Grasping the right pressure to apply was incredibly tense, as I thought, "I might ruin the Anise I've carefully carved."







Here is the ring, polished to a shine.


I was able to polish it while maintaining the sharp image of Anise!


The beautiful mirror reflection on the inside makes me sigh with delight.


"The process up to this point has to be neatly done for the final stage to result in a beautiful ring.


It's no exaggeration to say that craftsmen make rings for this moment, and I wish customers could see the ring the moment it's finished,"


said Arai with a sparkling smile.


It was a valuable time for me too, getting a glimpse of the unique thoughts of a craftsman!





Despite the struggles, this is the first Anise I've made from scratch.


Though there's still much training ahead before I can engrave beautifully, making a ring with my own hands while learning various thoughts and techniques from the craftsmen has resulted in a ring with irreplaceable attachment.








This is the first series of the "Concierge Ring Making Blog," where the concierges write about real ring-making experiences in the workshop.


The first series on "Anise" turned out to be unexpectedly long with four articles, but did you enjoy it?


I'm excited myself about what I can share next!


I would be delighted if you look forward to the next article.


Concierge: Maedo


[Craftsman Ring Making Blog #4] Anise Engraving Pattern —Finishing Process—