Hand-crafted wooden ring from fallen wood

Destacado Woodworking Contest

I've frequented Instructables for years, though this is the first time I've made my own Instructable.

I'm nothing of a craftsman, though I learned quite a bit from my late father, and in his recent passing I decided to try to take what I learned and create something as a memorial to him, this is what I came up with.

Edit: I just want to thank everyone who voted for me in this contest. I didn't realize the contest was going on when I was creating this ring, but I was given the option to enter what I created the Instructable. Never would I have though I would actually have placed, especially as I did. I can't begin to convey how proud and sad I feel for winning, and how proud my father would be. Thank you, just thank you everyone.

Materials Used:
Rotary tool
Sandpaper of various grits (150-2.5K)
Red Mahogany 225 stain
Clear Gloss Polyurethane
Crafting iron with wood burning tip

Paso 1: Finding your wood and prepping it

The first step for this was to find some wood suitable for crafting! This was a very difficult thing to do for myself, as I don't have my own property to look for wood on and I wasn't about to go cutting up trees to get it.
So I decided to go down to my local park and take a walk through the forest to find something suitable that had recently fallen, and through lengthy searching I finally found the perfect tree.

Now, unfortunately I couldn't take this entire thing home. So taking out my leatherman I cut off a decent section for use.
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AARENAARON dice: May 20, 2014. 4:08 AM

very Artistic :)

something1234 dice: Mar 15, 2014. 6:21 AM
This is truly a work of art. Keep up the amazing work. A Forstener bit would definitely speed up the process. Do you mind listing the grit you used in order? I'd really appreciate it. Keep up the good work, and your father will be looking down from the heavens proud.
BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 15, 2014. 11:37 AM
60 (for grinding)
cainn dice: Mar 11, 2014. 7:58 PM
How do you know what size You should make the inner circle to fit just right??
BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 13, 2014. 10:38 AM

First you have to know your ring size, but if you look online you can find easy to use charts that will tell you the measurements you need to use. After that it's just trial and error for getting it to fit properly while you're sanding

thyCreator dice: Mar 10, 2014. 7:23 PM
How long did this take you?
BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 10, 2014. 8:07 PM
The majority of it I did in one afternoon, but the staining and coating took several days time.
dakotajohn dice: Mar 10, 2014. 2:30 PM

I've made a few out of Purpleheart - the first one for my daughter and the second for her cousin. I used my lathe, but didn't sand as finely as you did. Yours looks much better than mine did. I plan on making more, so I will pick up some finer sandpaper for finishing!

BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 10, 2014. 3:18 PM

I was nothing short of amazed at the difference between sandings, I didn't know beforehand that I'd actually be able to sand wood that smooth.

The+Dalai+Farmer dice: Mar 10, 2014. 9:19 AM

Wear it! Otherwise you will never look at it and remember. What are you saving it FOR? Use it now while you're still here.

rnorton2 dice: Mar 10, 2014. 1:06 AM

well done. any suggestion on wood choice? what wood to avoid?

rnorton2 dice: Mar 10, 2014. 1:12 AM

from the pictures that tree looks familiar the bark is smooth and shiny in some areas and leaves are long and slender. the leaf shape is similar to a willow. it escapes me it's not uncommon, you live up north, i assume. any guesses?

BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 10, 2014. 3:17 PM

Colorado, here's two photos of the same kind of tree (also dead)

BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 10, 2014. 10:42 AM
Any kind of hard wood with a tight grain would be best, but im unsure of what I used personally.
Bill+WW dice: Mar 9, 2014. 11:45 PM

Great work and very well written.

Someone should be able to identify the wood from your photo of the tree. Must be some type of good hardwood, not all wood will polish up that nicely.

Yes, post a good photo of the leaves, you have a lot of people curious!

BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 10, 2014. 3:32 PM

I took two more pictures of the same kind of tree, the problem is everything that's alive has lost its leaves, and everything that's dead is, well, dead.

Bill+WW dice: Mar 10, 2014. 9:35 PM

My wife, who knows everything, says it is a willow, but there are many varieties of willow. Search Google for images, willow, and you will see similar leaves.

Definitely not maple.

D4v0 dice: Mar 9, 2014. 9:13 PM

That's awesome !!!. It's a nice and perfect wood-craft, I recently begin to made things of wood, it's hard but worthy.

snoopindaweb dice: Mar 9, 2014. 7:54 PM

Forstner bits would be a big help if You make more visits to the park. ~( :-})={

BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 9, 2014. 10:04 PM

Indeed! I'll have to look into those, as one of my friends is getting me some mahogany and I'm going to take another crack at this.

ArticAkita dice: Mar 9, 2014. 7:43 PM

Wow! what a gorgous bit of work! you give yourself too little credit, that looks NICE! gonna have to run me down a nice fallen birch to select a section of it.

tdenney16 dice: Mar 9, 2014. 1:56 PM

I REALLY wanna do this!! Thanks!!! :D

chuckyd dice: Mar 9, 2014. 10:01 AM

With wood, you need to start no higher than 100 grit, and work your way up, 120, 150, 180, 220, 300 and 400. Higher grits are effective only on the hardest woods, such as Wenge, Ipe, and Iron Wood. After coating with a finish, still start with a 150 grit, but with finishes you can take it on up to the 1k and 2k. For a truly invisible scratched surface, go on up to 12k.

I think adding the patina of use actually adds to the beauty of an object.

percy337 dice: Mar 9, 2014. 8:27 AM

Well done. That's a beautiful piece of work, I bet your father would be proud.

vopo dice: Mar 9, 2014. 7:29 AM

Very nice! That would have taken a short lifetime to sand :P

terezkaterka dice: Mar 9, 2014. 6:52 AM

Tak to je pekná práca.

thyCreator dice: Mar 8, 2014. 6:42 PM
Pretty sweet I'm gunna try this over the next few days for multiple rings and try and get the hang of it before I make one for my friend
Lifeseeker dice: Mar 8, 2014. 6:03 PM
thank, very simple and no big wording.
inkbladder dice: Mar 7, 2014. 12:40 PM
Good job. It looks great.
gravityisweak dice: Mar 7, 2014. 5:45 AM
Making rings, I feel like it would be really easy to drill and size more than one at a time, then cut them later on.
BayRatt dice: Mar 6, 2014. 8:47 PM

Nicely done. I love the idea and that it is approachable for the novices among us. And I love the emotional connection. One day I think I'd like to give it a try, and I hope that my attempt will look anything near as good as yours. :-)

lcole5 dice: Mar 6, 2014. 4:48 PM
It is a beautiful ring and a heart felt story. Well done and well said.
marcellahella dice: Mar 6, 2014. 3:36 PM

It's really pretty, I like that is made with reclaimed wood too, voted!

That+Survival+Freak dice: Mar 6, 2014. 3:28 PM

very nice ring! Good job! one of the best first instructables i have seen in a while!

jimmitchell1943 dice: Mar 6, 2014. 2:03 PM
good idea...and yes it is well made...lots of love went into it...do you know what type wood it is....
BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 6, 2014. 2:06 PM
I unfortunately don't, I'm sorry
mmauk dice: Mar 9, 2014. 7:57 PM

B.D. From the looks of the bark it may be maple , I can't tell by the leafs . But great job .

BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 9, 2014. 10:05 PM

After college tomorrow I may be searching for more material, if I can find the tree again I'll see if I can get a better picture if you want. I'm fairly curious as to what kind of wood I used, I'm unfamiliar with most trees.

mmmelroy dice: Mar 6, 2014. 12:49 PM

nicely done! Will be attempting this sooner than later.

BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 6, 2014. 1:06 PM

Thanks! I would love to see the result, I know as my first instructable it's not very well written, but I hope great projects come from it!

Soulthief dice: Mar 5, 2014. 4:25 PM

Beautiful ring. Well done!

cautious32 dice: Mar 5, 2014. 1:21 PM

Great work, It's obvious that a lot of love went into the making of the ring.

DMANTHEROCK dice: Mar 4, 2014. 8:49 PM
you can also use a wood lathe to turn it, it makes it alot more balanced, and alot faster! You can select a drill bit that's roughly the size of your finger, a d light sand it untill it fits. I made 2 on my lathe so far.
BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 5, 2014. 2:59 PM

Unfortunately though I don't own these kind of tools, but that's why I wanted to emphasize "hand-crafted" in the title. It may not be as well made, but it still came out amazing with a more personal touch from all the hard work put into it, with it being simple enough (though time consuming) to do without any real tools!-

bevans24 dice: Mar 4, 2014. 7:46 PM
absolutely beautiful
popas dice: Mar 4, 2014. 8:49 AM
this is definitely something I will do because I live in a townhouse and have no shed to "play" in. Beautiful craftsmanship and will be just the thing for my two hippie daughters. ..lol
YerGramma dice: Mar 4, 2014. 6:18 AM
This is beautiful and sounds like a fitting tribute to your father. Excellent instructable as well. Thanks!
rasendori04 dice: Mar 3, 2014. 11:55 PM

Beautiful ring. Plus you kept it simple so even people who don't have a craft shop can make one. I want to try this some time.

BastardlyDungeon dice: Mar 4, 2014. 11:26 AM
Thanks! I don't have many tools myself to work with, so I had to keep it simple. If someone really wanted they could even do this without a rotary tool, but it would be even more time consuming.
KemikalzAreFun dice: Mar 3, 2014. 10:39 PM
Love it! ^_^