As most of you know, C&T Designs actually makes all of the rings that we sell. We get a lot of questions about our ring-making process, especially when it comes to Anodized Aluminum. So, we thought we’d put together an A to Z article about all the steps involved in getting your rings out the door for those of you who are curious.
Each ring starts out as a spool of wire, and we’ve got spools and spools (and more spools) ready to go at a moment’s notice in a wide variety of round and square metals, gauges, and enamel coated colors. These pictures show only a fraction of the spools, which can be found filling nearly every nook and cranny under every work bench and stuffed into every cabinet in the shop.
We keep the finished rings sorted by material, gauge, size and color on these shelves…
But when we start running low the bin goes to Curt’s workbench. He pulls the appropriate spool based on gauge, shape and metal, then hand-coils the rings around a mandrel based on the size needed.
Once the wire is coiled, the coils are hand-sawn into rings. (We’d show you a picture of Curt sawing them, but he threatened to kill us.)
The rings are then tumbled in barrels with a mixture of our super secret special ring cleaner (which may or may not contain ranch dressing) and some stainless steal shot for varying periods of time depending on the metal, after which they’re laid out to dry. Our special tumbling process is the secret behind the “bright” in our bright aluminum!
If you’re buying simple metal or Enameled Copper rings, their process wraps up with hand-sorting, weighing, adding to the inventory system & storage in the bins. From start to finish, this process will have taken us a day or so to complete around packing & shipping orders and serving our walk-in customers.
However, if you’re buying Anodized Aluminum rings the process takes quite a bit longer as those rings have to be weighed, bagged, and shipped to the anodizer in 20 lb batches. Our best turn-around from the anodizer is 2 weeks, but realistically it’s usually more like 3 weeks before we get them back. And once they’re back in-house, they’re still not ready to go out the door. Each batch is checked when it comes in to make sure that it meets C&T Designs’ standards for color and shine. If the batch doesn’t meet our standards, the entire thing is rejected and may either go back for re-anodizing or get tossed into the recycle bin, in which case the whole process for that specific color of Anodized Aluminum starts over. Coil… Cut… Tumble… Ship… Wait… Check for quality – Another 2 – 3 weeks on top of the 2 – 3 weeks for the first batch.
Anodized Aluminum rings that pass muster are then hand-sorted just like the standard metal rings. During this process, we’re looking for any individual rings (out of the 10 pounds that came back in a given color) that aren’t shiny, aren’t whole, have touch marks, or didn’t take the color from the anodizing process for whatever reason. Approved rings are then weighed and placed in the storage bin for use filling orders.
What about your anodized Niobium ring orders, you ask? Those are actually pulled straight from the metal bins and anodized by hand here in the shop specifically for each order.
We hear from customers all the time about the superior quality of our rings. And now you know why.
Do you have more thoughts or questions about C&T Designs? Leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer.