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How to Make Wooden Rings

how to make a wooden ring

With the ever-increasing popularity of eco-friendly, natural alternatives to – well – everything, the trendiness of wooden rings has also been on the rise. Everywhere you look, someone is wearing an awesome koa wood ring or matching wooden wedding bands. But did you know you can make these great statement pieces at home? Well you can and today we’re going to show you how in 9 relatively easy steps!

1. Decide on a design and gather your supplies!

Of course, as with any DIY project, the first step is actually figuring out what you want to make! Do you want a wooden ring that’s simple or intricate? Are you wanting any special designs or engraving? Do you want something delicate and thin or sturdy and wide? Do you want it to be rustic or are you looking for something more modern? All are important questions before you begin, because it will determine the type of wood you need to use and the actual shape of the wood ring you want to make. By and large though, the steps you need to take are pretty much the same. Just modify them a bit to suit your project!

Now, once you figure out your design, you need to gather your materials. Here’s our recommended list:

  • Wood! Preferably a dense, strong wood! (We also highly recommend koa wood for the cool koa wood ring we mentioned earlier)
  • Some sort of saw
  • Electric drill with a wood bit or large drill bit
  • Dremel
  • Sanding tool (whether paper or a belt sander)
  • Vice
  • Some kind of drying oil
  • Heat gun

2. Cut out your ring blank

Now onto the main event! First thing’s first, you are going to need to cut out your ring blank. Do this by measuring about 3 ½ cm from the end of your wood and draw a line straight down the width to mark it. After your blank is marked, use your saw to cut against the grain (not with the grain)! This makes it less likely that your wood will crack or that your ring’s structure won’t hold up over time.

For clarity, this square piece of wood we’ve cut is commonly referred to as a blank. It’s what you’re going to use to make your ring from here on out.

3. Mark and drill the hole

With your blank now made, it’s time to drill the ring hole. Start by marking a dot in the center of the blank with a pen or pencil. Don’t worry about placement being perfect since we’ll be cutting a lot down. Once that’s done, put your blank in a vice and make sure it’s steady. This is where you start drilling. Make sure to choose a drill bit with a width narrower than the finger you want the wood ring to go on. For reference, a 3/4” bit is a good starting point for a size 10 ring!

Drill bit ready? Start by drilling halfway through your blank, making sure to go slow. Exerting too much pressure can cause your wood to splinter. Once you’re halfway through, flip the blank over and finish the job.

4. Sand inside the finger hole

Use your sandpaper or Dremel now and sand the hole’s edges. If you opt for sandpaper, it’s best to use medium grit and then finish with high grit for a smoother texture. However, whatever you’ve got on hand will work. At the end of the day, you just want everything to be nice and smooth! If your blank doesn’t slide over your finger easily, you need to keep sanding.

5. Draw your ring shape and trim blank corners

As it says on the tin, once sanding the inside of the hole is done, you should trim the corners off your blank. This saves unnecessary time sanding and leaves a better end result. Once you do that, freehand the outer shape of your ring. This will vary a bit depending on personal preference, but a good rule of thumb is to have your circle about 2 or 3 mm bigger than your inner circle. Use your best judgement. Once again, don’t worry too much about precision since we’ve still got plenty of sanding to do.

6. Sand down to final ring shape

Depending on what kind of sanding method you’re using, this is by far the longest and most precise step of the bunch. Now you need to sand your ring down to the marking you made in the last step. Be sure to maintain light, even pressure so that your sanding is nice and even. Constantly keep the ring moving so you don’t end up with a flat spot. If you slip up, there’s no going back – so don’t be heavy-handed! The important thing here to be patient and attentive to detail.  If you’re using a belt sander, it’s best to finish the rest of the ring off with paper once you’re close to your final ring shape. This leaves less room for any accidents that could destroy your hard work.

7. Bevel the edges

Once all the tedious sanding is over, you can now bevel the edges and the inside of the ring! One of the best ways to do this is by holding your ring at an angle and rotate it until you’ve sanded the entire circumference. This will leave nice, smooth edges that you don’t have to go over a million times.

8. Heat treat the ring

Note: This step is completely optional but highly recommended! Heat treating your ring will go a long way to strengthening your new wooden ring. If you want to do this, set your ring somewhere safe and heat it up with your heat gun until you get a little smoke going. This will make your ring shrink a bit, so just keep that in mind.

9. Give it a coat of oil

Ring made? Check. Everything sanded? Check. Heat treated? Check. All that’s left now is to give your wooden ring a nice coat of drying oil. You can use anything like tung oil, linseed oil, or the like. It’s not a completely necessary step since the natural oils on your hands will coat it over time, but a good oil coating can cool your ring quickly and help protect it from becoming brittle. If you want to do this, just give it a thin coat and rub it in for a bit. Once your coating’s on, congratulations! You’re done!

Now all that’s left is for your to do is to enjoy your new wooden ring or give it to someone special. That is, if you got through all the steps. For those of you who aren’t on the DIY train and would rather leave all this back in woodshop class, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered, too. Urban Designer has plenty of ready-made rings that are sure to be exactly what you’re looking for, no elbow-grease required. Wanting something a little more intricate? Make sure to check out our tungsten wedding bands and Damascus steel pattern rings

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