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?



5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Johnny and I both gave up wearing rings once we moved onto the farm. They are a great way to lose a finger when working with animals and machinery.

Brian G. said...

I don't wear one at work. It is scary how easy it is to catch it on equipment.

Masha Ellsworth said...

What an awesome ring, I would love a few since I'm going to be taking a jewelry construction class in a few weeks. Have you thought of gluing other stones to the ring? I think mother of pearls and turquoise would look great with wood. You can buy inexpensive loose gems on ebay.

Brian G. said...

Masha, I will make you some and send them.

Masha Ellsworth said...

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