Made with a spoon, didn't have wood in the Army

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Project by Jess Littlefield posted 10-06-2015 04:26 PM 1919 views 3 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I made this ring using a half dollar and an army issue spoon from my mess kit. Made it in 1958 so all the coins back then were solid and not layered with cheap stuff like today. My buddy mentioned his grand dad had made a ring using a kitchen spoon and since I didn’t have tools or any wood while in the army I decided to make the ring my buddy mentioned to me. Holding the 50 cent piece between thumb and finger on my knee I used the inside of the spoon to beat on the coin..This is a very slow process. You hold the spoon all the way down on the handle to give you more harder hits on the coin. Close to a year beating on it each night until I got it down to about the right size. I had nothing to use as a size for I was not married then so I didn’t have a wedding ring so I guessed by looking at my finger next to the beat down coin. It happened to be close for I still wear the ring on occasions. Only after I was satisfied with the size using my army issue mess knife I started grinding out the inside metal with the dullest piece of steel a person could use. The outside shape automatically forms by the curvature of the inside of the spoon. Cutting out the inside with a dull kitchen knife also took many days…. It got to be very annoying to my buddies in the barracks. Click click click until 10 o’clock lights out each and every night.
Holding the coin inline with the inside of the upside down spoon I would beat of the coin. Position the finger and thumb as far down on the bottom of the coin as possible you beat on the top of the coin….I still to this day have a big knot on the first joint of my thumb where the spoon would accidentally hit the bone. All the words on the face of the coin are still legible which are now inside the ring.. As you are hitting the coin with the spoon it sorta rotates between your finger and thumb. The surface of the coin, ring, ends up as smooth and shiny as my wedding ring. Occasionally I would shine the ring using my can of Brasso the Sargent ordered every one to buy when you first went into the army to keep all the brass polished for inspections. I still have my can of Brasso!!! I do hope the people here lets this post stay . I do know there is no wood involved but hey I was in the army then and no where to keep wood hidden to use…Those foot lockers were mighty small and during inspections each Saturday morning if they found something not issued in the foot locker or clothes closet it went in the trash. The ring I made is the wide one in the picture.

-- Jess Littlefield

22 comments so far

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Jess Littlefield

175 posts in 3059 days

#1 posted 10-06-2015 04:43 PM

I guess this can would be an antique almost since it is about 57 years old. If any old army guys are reading this, and got drafted or joined the army in 1958 you will remember the first thing you got was a flying ten. This was the very first thing even before you got to go in to the barracks. We stepped off the bus, they got us in to a kind of a formation, they handed everyone a 10 dollar bill, a flying ten they called it, for which by the way came out of you monthly income and you were marched down to the PX and was made to buy a razor and a can of Brasso. Can’t remember what else.

-- Jess Littlefield

View David's profile


76 posts in 2476 days

#2 posted 10-06-2015 04:47 PM

Wow! First an amazing story of patience, determination and skill. Second that was the year I was born. From one younger old Army guy to an Older one Thanks for your Service and this post. March On Brother March On!
P.S I still have my can of Brasso from 1980 when i went in. I guess somethings just don’t change much.

-- "A man that works with his hands, knows his soul" " Have Fun, Go Fast, and Take Chances for Christ's Sake!!"

View oldnovice's profile


7496 posts in 3817 days

#3 posted 10-06-2015 05:39 PM

Given the tools and materials that is quite an accomplishment!
Heck, even with better tools it is still outstanding.

I made some silver rings a long time ago (~50 years) but I had all the appropriate ring making tools at that time.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View observer100's profile


424 posts in 1560 days

#4 posted 10-06-2015 06:15 PM

Talk about patience and persistence! I will remember this story every time I start running into problems on a project!

View Ocelot's profile


2309 posts in 3087 days

#5 posted 10-06-2015 06:30 PM

That’s really cool! I was born in ‘58 too, for whatever that’s worth.

I’m guessing it was a steel spoon.

Think; if you had spent all that time, studying Swahili or something you would have forgotten it by now, but you’ve still got the ring. ;-)


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Arlin Eastman

4261 posts in 3011 days

#6 posted 10-06-2015 06:31 PM

You did a very fine project and job and should be proud of it.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Jess Littlefield's profile

Jess Littlefield

175 posts in 3059 days

#7 posted 10-06-2015 07:54 PM

Thanks for the comments guys. After I got the guts gouged out of the middle and started wearing the ring while still in the army almost the whole platoon I was in started beating on half dollars. We still had about six months to go before we would leave Germany and head home. But with a week to go no one was still making a ring. Everyone had given up, too hard to do they said. I really think leaving Munich going on the train to Bremahaven to the ship, then toward home was more on every ones mind than a ring. At least that ring only cost me 50 cents back then. Now a silver half dollar would cost a bunch.

-- Jess Littlefield

View leafherder's profile


1828 posts in 2401 days

#8 posted 10-06-2015 10:23 PM

First: Thank You for your service. Second: Great Job! I have heard about making rings out of silver coins but never really understood the process. Your description cleared up a lot of confusion. Third: Don’t call that Brasso can an antique – my sister was born in 1958 and she refuses to admit that she is 4 years older than I am. :)
Thanks for posting, have a great day.

-- Leafherder

View Eddie_T's profile


209 posts in 2521 days

#9 posted 10-07-2015 12:46 AM

I made a narrow one from a quarter when a freshman in college. I still have it somewhere, the inside of yours brought back memories.

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4228 posts in 4025 days

#10 posted 10-07-2015 01:38 AM

First rate.
Nice job !

View sonnyr's profile


135 posts in 2578 days

#11 posted 10-07-2015 01:56 AM

Where were you stationed in Germany?
I spent 18 months at Ledward Barracks, in Schweinfurt, during 68-69. We fired 155 self propelled Howitzers. Went to Graf a few times.

-- I may be slow, but I'm easy to stop!!!

View Jess Littlefield's profile

Jess Littlefield

175 posts in 3059 days

#12 posted 10-07-2015 03:29 AM

sonnyr I see you reside in Texas. Born here or forced to live here???? I was in Munich 58-60. I was drafted. I got out and thought it was all behind me
but 15 months later I got another greetings from the president telling me to report to Fort Polk, La. I wasn’t too happy that second time around.. They kept us 1 year that time. I was born in Tokio. That be in Texas if you are not familiar with little towns in west Texas.

-- Jess Littlefield

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10858 posts in 1935 days

#13 posted 10-07-2015 03:54 AM

Awesome stuff bud.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Mikesawdust's profile


329 posts in 3488 days

#14 posted 10-07-2015 08:19 AM

This is very cool. I think I may try to make one, but I’m not patient so I’ll cheat. I am thinking of modifying one of my power tools, and destroying an old coin from my collection. I doubt it will come near the beauty of this one, or mean as much to me as something that passed those boring days. I know on my long deployments, we came up with projects that others would consider mind numbing to stay sane.

-- You never cut a piece to short, you are just prepping that piece for a future project

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3114 posts in 2273 days

#15 posted 10-07-2015 09:20 AM

Wow excellent job, really awesome…

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

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