How to Make Wooden Rings

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While rings of precious metals are formal and plastic rings are casual and fun, finger rings made from natural materials have an earthy beauty that can't be replicated. Wooden rings are somewhat less common than rings made from moldable materials, but with the right carving techniques and treatments, they provide a versatile medium for symbols and designs that retain the natural beauty of wood grain.

Things You'll Need

  • String
  • Ring mandrel
  • Dowel
  • Scroll saw
  • Oscillating power tool
  • Pencil
  • Fine-grain sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Wood varnish
  • Determine the desired ring size. Measure the finger that will wear the ring with a sizing scale, or select a ring that fits comfortably. If neither of these things is available, wrap the finger in a strip of hard, semi-flexible material (such as wire, cardboard or plastic) to determine a good size.

  • Purchase a dowel of the appropriate size. For the sake of comfort, the diameter of the dowel should be between 1/8 and 1/4 inch larger than the inside circle measurement of ring that fits well.

  • Trim off the painted end of the dowel using the scroll saw, as you won't want this to be part of the ring.

  • Cut a short cross section of the dowel. Something between ¼ and ½ inch is usually a good width for a finger ring, but adjust according to personal preference. Mark the dowel in pencil before cutting.

  • Round off the outside edges of the disc. Attach a grinding attachment to the oscillating tool and grind down the edges of the ring, creating a taper down to where the finger will be. To keep them smooth and even, move the tool in a smooth, quick motion over the edge of the ring several times rather than going over it once and slowly.

  • Sketch any designs or symbols you want on the ring in pencil.

  • Carve the designs. Use an engraving attachment to trace the lines you made in pencil on the ring. If any pencil graphite remains on the ring after engraving, wash it away with soap and water.

  • Hollow the inside of the cross-section. Use the grinding attachment to remove the wood from the middle of the ring out. Test the feel of the ring by trying it on and continue grinding it down until it feels good on the finger.

  • Sand the ring. Use a fine-grain sandpaper to hand sand any rough spots that remain and make the ring smoother overall.

  • Stain the ring. Use an artist's paintbrush to apply wood stain of any color you like; it will soak more deeply into the engraved crevices, making them stand out more. Let dry.

  • Varnish the ring. Apply a spray lacquer or brush-application varnish according to the manufacturer's instructions. Use at least two coats to make the ring extra sturdy and smooth.

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References

  • "The Complete Book of Woodcarving: Everything You Need to Know to Master the Craft"; Everett Ellenwood; 2008
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