Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Uncle Chris

Leila's brother came to visit us this month.  We don't get that many visitors because no one goes on vacation to Iowa, especially in the winter.  Winters are cold and windy, but also unpredictable.  Sometimes it will warm up and melt all the snow, then the next day it will drop to below zero.  In spite of that, Chris and Andy spent almost a week hanging out at our place, which was great.  Unfortunately we didn't take a lot of pictures.  This is the best, and Leila took this one after Church.

 Here is Chris and Andy at four in the morning before going to the airport.
You know your sister loves you when she gets up at four to say goodbye.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Wooden rings

My first ring was a white gold band Leila bought for me when we were married in 1999.  In Texas I was trying to replace leaky sinks before we sold the house.  I couldn't clamp down on the wrench hard enough with my ring on so I took it off and it put it on the counter.  At some point it must have rolled off - either in the sink or onto the floor, but it was never found again.

In Indiana, Leila found a "silver" band for seven dollars at a bead store.  It looked very similar to the more expensive gold band, especially after it was scratched up.  It didn't rust or tarnish so I am not sure what alloy it was.  I wore it off and on until August.  I was rowing with a very active boat and my ring was wearing a blister into my hand.  I took it off and put it in my shoe.  When we got out of the boat I couldn't find it.  It must have rolled out and is either lodged inside the scull or is in the river.

So since then I have not worn my ring.  I was talking about it at some of our breeding meetings during a break and they had some interesting ideas for inexpensive and interesting materials for a new ring.  One of my coworker's husband has a titanium ring, someone else has a stainless steel ring.  Someone said they had seen a wooden ring.  I was curious about how a wooden ring would be made.  The grain would be weak in one direction, unless you made a laminate around the ring.

I found a couple of sites where they showed how to drill a ring out of a piece of wood, or turn one on a lathe, or layer veneers.  I decided I would try the veneer option, since I don't have a lathe.  I bought 7 dollars worth of ebony veneer, it was the cheapest package, and cut 0.25 inch strips from the veneer sheet. Ebony is a very hard wood and is not very flexible so I boiled the strips in our wok.  When they were flexible, I wound them around a 3/4" dowel, putting super glue between the layers.  The superglue reacts very quickly to the damp wood and fingers so a little goes a long way.  It also dried slightly white, which wasn't great.  Then I rounded the edges and cut it smooth with my pocket knife and sanded while we watched TV.

It turned out a little big.  My ring finger is smaller than a 3/4" dowel, but otherwise I am pleased.  The ebony veneers make a very tough ring.  It does not flex at all and is hard enough to seem scratch resistant.  The ebony veneer I picked had interesting grain pattern, but the ring is small enough that it doesn't show.  A bird's eye maple would potentially be prettier because the grain would show better.  I need to try sanding the dowel down and making some smaller rings or different direction for the grain; I have enough veneer left for another 500 rings.  Not bad though.  Anyone want an ebony ring?