Introduction: Bentwood Rings With Stone Inlay

Picture of Bentwood Rings With Stone Inlay

This is an easy bentwood ring making guide for ring bands & inlay. These rings are VERY strong miniature structures basically for wooden rings.

Step 1: Wood

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Wood is a natural source so every ring does come out slightly different looking each time because of wood grain patterns. Choosing which wood is best for bentwood rings can vary with each section of veneer wood depending on the grain structure. Recommended raw (no paper backed) veneer thickness is 1/36" or 1/42. The best sections of wood are evenly spaced and straight long-grained wood. Quartersawn veneer is usually best for those results.

Once you have this veneer, make a 12" strip and 1/2" wide.

Step 2: Prep

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Get a square of paper towel and wrap the piece of wood snuggly around it.

Next, get it soaked in water from the sink, and then slightly squeeze most of the water off so that the towel is not dripping any longer.

Microwave this wet paper towel with the wood strip two times. First time is for 20 seconds, re-wet the towel like previously, then again for 15 seconds.

Step 3: Prep Cont.

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Get a pole that is between 1" and .5" round/thick and some regular tape along with the freshly microwaved wood strip.

Break off a 4" piece of tape and keep it within reach for later.

Begin to slowly wrap the wood around the pole. The wood does not need to be perfectly flat, this is still prep and not making the final ring. Try to do your best to keep the wood from snapping or cracking while wrapping it on the pole.

Once it is all wrapped, take the piece of tape to keep the wood wrapped while it dries in this spiral shape. Slide it off the pole for drying.

Step 4: Sizing

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Ring sizes are usually measured by the inside band's diameter in mm. Whatever size you are needing, go slightly below that (-.4mm) when wrapping tape around the pole until desired thickness. This helps you have room while sanding away on the inside at the end.

Get a roll of masking tape & a pole that is smaller than the ring size you are needing for the next step.

Step 5: Wrapping

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This is the big moment. Are you ready? This is the foundation of the ring so this you will need to have patiences.

First, you are going to need the pole, something to hold down the pole, masking tape, and an electronic measurer for precise measurements.

Second, wrap as much tape as you need WITH THE STICKY PART UPWARDS onto the pole until the diameter is what you need for the ring size + equal all around the tape (no waves, needs to be flat). THEN lay a separate piece of tape STICKY PART DOWN to keep the other section of tape from spinning on the pole.

Forth, sand the inside end of the prepped veneer. Make sure the veneer is dried by this point. This takes 24 hours usually, but at least give the prepped band 12 hours of drying before wrapping. You don't want the wood wet because it will cause your superglue to turn a white color when it dries.

Fifth, stick the sanded end of veneer on the sticky tape and add a drop of super glue. Wrap the veneer around tightly once until it meets the end again. Press your finger on the meeting point to make sure it dries flat to eachother. *Flatness and no gaps between the wraps is key to a good bentwood ring.*

Yes btw, you will have a serious case of "glue fingers" during this wrapping, and no you don't want gloves because the gloves WILL rip and tear and be glued into your ring forever. Super glue will eventually flick off your fingers with time. Make sure not to glue your fingers together as well.

Sixth, continue to add a couple of drops of super glue to the remaining strip of veneer as you slowly and carefully wrapp the rest of the band together.

Step 6: Sanding

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I suggest using a dremel sander for this part. It will take you all day using your hands and sand paper.

When sanding the inside part of the ring, VERY carefully get rid of the end strip inside. Have a ring pole sizer handy to make sure the band stays around the correct size.

For the edges, sand until the desired ring width. For the top part, try to smooth it out without digging into the ring band too much.

Have a sheet of 220 or lower grit sand paper to flatten the edges if need be.

Step 7: Inlaying

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After freshly sanding your ring to shape, get a vice and two squared pieces of wood to hold onto your ring as you work on it.

First, get some toothpicks & your super glue to help you move the tiny stones around when placing into the grooves.

Second, use a triangle shaped metal file to precisely carve away channels for your inlay. Get creative!

Third, put a single drop of super glue in the carved out channel, then start placing pieces of inlay.

Forth, once all of the channel is filled, keep applying layers of glue until the grooves are filled above the top layer of wood.

Fifth, use your dremel to carefully sand down the excess glue and stone bits so they are level with the ring surface.

Step 8: Practice

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Practice makes perfect! Once you have mastered the basic bentwood ring band, then you can move onto more complicated stuff like inlaying stone.

Check out my Instagram to see what is going on in my studio as I make bentwood ring orders from my Etsy shop. @thetreehearts

Step 9: Finishing

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You will need 220, 400, 600, 1000 & 1200 grit sand paper. Start from the lower grit to the highest grit.For a finish, I personally use an organic beezwax and olive oil finish. You can use mineral oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, hemp oil, or olive oil as well.


EoinM17 made it! (author)2015-03-04

Just finished making another ring with walnut and crushed malachite inlay. thanks so much for this instructable :) although making them is a blessing and a curse because all my family want one now!

thetreehearts (author)EoinM172015-03-20

Fantastic. Awesome job. :)

emily_c (author)2015-02-13

This is by far the best 'bile I've found on bentwood rings, any definitely the most well documented!
Quick question, how did you keep the ring from getting superglued to your form? I've tried and successfully softened the wood and wrapped it but I always end up gluing my ring onto the form.

sbell-3 (author)emily_c2015-02-15

1. Super glue isn't strong to sheer forces. You should be able to twist or slide the ring to break the glue to the form.
2. Super glue doesn't stick to polyethylene. This is the same material as the thin, clear, cheap foodservice gloves. You can use this material to line your wrapping device, as well as to keep your fingers glue-free!

thetreehearts (author)emily_c2015-02-13

When you mention the "form" are you talking about the pole the ring is wrapped on? If so, try either using less glue or put the tape sticky-side-up on the pole first before gluing. The tape is easy to pull/sand off from the ring.

ashleyjlong (author)2015-02-12

Very cool! Do you ever stain the wood, or do you just begin with a colored veneer? The deep colored woods and black are so striking and I just wondered if you have to do anything extra to attain that richness.

No stains actually haha! The deep black one is Macassar Ebony, but that wood I would not suggest trying until you've made a few. If wood was a famoly, it'd be the bad child. Walnut wood though is the straight A angle child, so that would be one I'd suggest starting on first. :) Once the bands are sanded up nicely, applying oil really brings out the color.

Good to know! I've never really worked with wood and wouldn't have known one from the other going into it. Thanks for the info and pic. Its a great project. I'll be surprised if this one doesn't win the goodies in the ring contest.

buildalongwithbrian (author)2015-02-11

This is awesome, great instructable. Your work is beautiful!

seamster (author)2015-02-11

This is an excellent beginner's guide! Thank you for sharing this.

Can you share a bit on how to do those inlaid bits? I'd really like to take crack at this sometime, and love those details.

thetreehearts (author)seamster2015-02-11

Added to the instructable the inlay portion! Check it out. :)

thetreehearts (author)seamster2015-02-11

I think I just might have to make 2 more instructables haha. One for layered bentwood rings and the other for basic inlay. :)

Swansong (author)2017-10-13

These are absolutely gorgeous! I love the set with the white and wood grain. This is a great thorough tutorial :)

ChrisT372 (author)2017-03-20

I was curious what thickness the wood you use is and what is better for grain pattern. Tight or loose grain patterns? Thanks

JasonM192 (author)2016-10-26

I am having trouble getting the stones to stick to the ring with superglue. Am I doing something wrong? I ordered (what I thought was smaller stones) these are large chunks, do I just crush them down?

NickH153 made it! (author)2016-10-25

Hi there! Thanks for the instructable, it really got me en route to making what i'm after! Although, I am having real trouble with inlaying mother of pearl (Seen right). Sanding it down to meet the wood causes the pearl to loose it's shimmer and leaves a residue between the stones. Any way I can avoid this? Thanks!

stillash (author)2016-09-03

Where do you get your veneer?

Yonatan24 (author)2016-05-12

Wow! Those are a real beauty! Great instructable too!

kiaee (author)2016-05-06

Hello , very excellent and beautiful ,

quiisk made it! (author)2015-08-12

nice indestructible! went with a copper inlay and it turned out wonderful

wabrown14 (author)quiisk2016-03-14


MartinW40 (author)2016-01-07

if you finish with liquid ca glue as well, the finish will be shiny, wont rub off, and be nearly waterproof.

EmīlsP1 (author)2015-12-12

I made my first wooden ring, i use stone-lapis lazuli.

ChrystalG1 (author)2015-11-18

Can you use these same steps with a sterling silver ring liner?

and if so any idea of how to keep it on the liner.. super glue?


RolfH1 (author)2015-08-17

greetings legend. i have to ask, with the little bits of blue stone you adhered to the ring then sanded and pollished down, how did you leave no gaps ,creveasses. or open spaces around the stone. the peices your useing are quite big ( for a ring,,,not powdered.) i have tryed this inlay and found gaps. thanks for your effort in helping educate . much appreciated. respect. rolfo

winta804 (author)2015-08-02

if you want to varnish the piece, do you varnish before the stone inlay, or after, so that you varnish the stone as well?

zoheb_zaman1609 (author)2015-03-13

My veneer won't just bend. it keeps cracking. what do I do? :(

One suggestion I have would be to soak in hot (one person even said to boil the wood for an hour or two for stubborn woods) instead of steaming. It might make the wood more pliable. Another that I read on another 'ible was to gradually bend your wood. Start with bending it around a coffee mug, reheat the wood, bend it around something smaller, keep doing this until it is bent enough to work with. The idea is that you are reducing the amount of strain being put on the wood at once.

Oh my goodness. Sorry for the long reply. Life has kept me from being on instructables for a solid month now it seems.

The veneer might be too thick or the wood simply is not good for the bentwood technique. Unfortunately not all wood will act the same for the steaming process. There are plenty of wood types that will not work, and this actually does not depend on the type of wood. It all depends on how the grain is on that particular veneer strip. I have a sheet of Ebony veneer that I get maybe 5/10 strips of wood to work for ring wrapping. It is all dependent on the grain. Although there are wood speices like Purpleheart or Bloodwood that 99% of the time it will just not work with the bentwood technique.

For an easier wood type, Maple or Walnut wood are great starter woods to practice with. They behave very well with the steaming process.

killer5150 (author)2015-06-04

What did you look for when you looked for the stones to inlay with like on Google?

fareedahmed (author)2015-05-17

hi there! thank you for the amazing 'ible. how did you create the space needed for the inlay? i'm referring to the first picture under step 7. did you use a metal file for the entire width? i would like to make something similar to the first picture under step 8, the one with the wide inlay of crushed white shell (i think).

mduncan6 (author)2015-05-14

Beautiful work! I picked up some Makore veneer from Rockler woodworking (good source of raw veneer and slabs) and just finished first heating and wrapping. (Challenges with cracking were usually solved with more heating). Hoping these rings work well as an anniversary gift- the Makore is difficult to work with but has a gorgeous grain. Thank you for the inspiration!

k-labit (author)2015-04-25

Could you boil water over a fire or on a stove instad of microwavin it?

awil1520 made it! (author)2015-03-20

Not bad for attempt number one. Hopefully I'll get better at closing the gaps as I practice.

thetreehearts (author)awil15202015-03-26

Those look great!! Very good first attempt. :)

Braja69 (author)2015-03-26

Absolutely beautiful :-)

Corinbw (author)2015-03-23

I just barely made a ring sortof like this but using plastic PVC pipe instead of wood. It turned out great. Thanks for the inlaying idea

Corinbw (author)2015-03-19

I used a hand plane in the wood shop at my high school the other day, and I got some great curls of wood, I am going to try making some bentwood rings. Possibly a necklace with a ring pendant. Idk, I just used pine, is this a good wood?

thetreehearts (author)Corinbw2015-03-20

Yes! Pine can be used. As long as you have not problems steaming & wrapping, any wood can be used. :) The hand planed strips are also a way to get that shape.

Corinbw (author)thetreehearts2015-03-23

the wood is already in that spiral shape so I am hoping I can skip the steaming step

BastardlyDungeon (author)2015-03-01

I'm glad the sheets I'm using can make a lot of rings, cause I'm cracking left and right when trying to wrap it around my dowel (Using a 3/4").

The problems seems (mostly) to be the ends. I tried both microwaving and the towel method, but both times I couldn't get my ends malleable enough to prevent cracking when overlapping on them (they would be rigid and push up causing the overlay to crack).

Tomorrow I may try microwaving a container of water for a more uniform heating

What kind of wood are you using? All wood reacts in a different way. Some are harder to use this process on and others are much easier. Also, how thick is the veneer? Try doing a 3rd microwave session for 15 seconds to further soften the wood as well.

Finished this one today, made from Andiroba. It came out alright, but you can see the edges thanks to the glue ): The Veneer is 1/32 I believe, when I get home I'm going to try boiling it in the microwave for more uniform heating.

Sometimes depending on the wood, it will be more visible on the edges when rounding the ring like that. Some woods blend better than others. The ring still looks fantastic btw, so do not be discouraged!!

EoinM17 (author)BastardlyDungeon2015-03-05

That looks awesome! I personally love the way you can see the layers, it gives it a kind of plywood look :) great work!

It was mahogany, not andiroba. My Andiroba failed. Anyway it's also 1/42" thickness.

guitarfreak1513 (author)2015-03-07

Are cracked veneer still usable? Or would you stay away from using them?

As long as you can get a 12" x .5" strip out of it with mostly straight long grain, it should be okay.

christel.guldentops made it! (author)2015-03-04

Having no veneer around I made these out of camembert boxes. The inlay is a piece of a broken guitar string.

These look amazing! Great job at these!! (sorry for the long reply) :(

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a tea enthusiast. I made and sold bentwood rings for 2 years and have semi-retired for now. Going back to college to help ... More »
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