In this instructable I am going to show you how I made a wooden ring with a Celtic knot all the way through. The ring pictured was using scrap material that my friends at Damcaster by Georgia Quarter send me from their guitar making process. It is scrap from the necks and accents on their great custom guitars and the scrap is the perfect size for me to make rings, earrings, pendants and knife scales. The wood is also great as it is super stable and has great color and figure. The ring pictured is using some curly rock maple (the light color) and some dark roasted rock maple (the dark color).
I didn't document the process I used to make the ring so in this instructable I will be making a shot glass out of walnut and maple instead. The process is exactly the same and the cuts just need to be scaled down to the width of the knot that you want.
Sound interesting? Well if so lets get started.
Step 1: Tools and Material
- A block of wood as the blank and main body of the ring. (best is approx 1.5" x 1.5" x 6" or more)
- A block of wood that contrasts nicely with the main body (this is the knot). You can alternatively buy some veneer and save time and effort and have almost certainly cleaner lines (this is my suggestion).
- Wood glue or CA glue (super glue). CA glue makes the process go much faster and works well.
- Boiled Linseed Oil (this is optional and is part of the finish you can use something else if you prefer like wipe on poly)
- CA glue (also known as super glue) (Again this is a finish and if you prefer a different finish go for it).
- Cheap paper towels (for wiping up glue and applying finish).
- Ruler and or square (for marking your lines to cut)
- Pencil (for marking of course)
- Saw (I used a band saw but you can a hand miter saw or even a circular saw more on this later)
- Clamps (when using CA you can even get away without this)
- Dremel (again optional depending on the tools you have on hand but you can do the whole ring with just the dremel)
- Lathe (again completely optional I started making all my rings by hand with a dremel)
- Drill Press (I don't own one or even a hand drill if you can imagine but this is one way to get your original hole)
- Turning tools (if you are using a lathe)
- A way to mount your work if you are using a lathe. Options are a specialty ring mandrel, a chuck with needle or spigot jaws or use a 60 degree live center and jam chuck to the faceplate. This is really all outside the scope of this instructable and is presented only as options for you.
Step 2: Making Your Blank
The first thing we need to do is to make the blank. While this may seem like some fancy hard to accomplish task it is really a lot easier than you might think. What we are doing is just making "X"'s on two faces of the blank. When the wood is rounded the x's will appear to be curved lines and form the knot. Pretty cool right?
So what are we doing?
- Mark your main blank with 2 lines being the width of the band you want and do this on 2 faces.
- Now draw an "x" on each face going from the edge of the blank to the other edge of the blank (see above if this and the previous step seem confusing).
- (If you bought veneer skip this step). Mark out on your contrasting block lines that are the width you want the contrasting wood knot to be (keep it thin).
- (again if you bought veneer you can skip this) cut your contrasting block into the strips you marked out.
- Cut your strips to approx the width of your main blank (do this with veneer) and a bit longer than the length of the angle on your x's marked on the blank. (see above)
- Now cut your blank on one of the "x" lines. You can cut all the way through or not depends on if you can fit the strips into the kerf of your cut. Cutting all the way through means you need to be more careful with your glue up but it also means you can ensure the glue is evenly applied. Your call on which you choose to do.
- Glue in your first strip (see above)
- Let the glue set (this is where CA is a lot faster than wood glue)
- Trim off excess wood strip
- Repeat steps 6-9 for each line "X" line.
- You should end up with a blank that looks like the photo above. Please note that while the blank may appear to have wood on the "bands" we used as a guide for width there is no cut there it is just from the strips on the other face. You will only be making a total of 4 cuts.
So we have a blank what the heck do we do with it? Well on to the next step.
Step 3: Making It a Ring (or Shot Glass)
So as mentioned I didn't photograph making the ring so I am using a shot glass. Again there is no fundamental difference in them. If you look at the picture above you will see how the pattern emerges when rounded.
So we want to make a ring now right? Well you can obviously use a lathe as is pictured above with the shot glass. This instructable isn't a tutorial on using a lathe so if you have one and know how to use it then great you don't need me to explain how right? Good.
For the rest of you I am guessing you don't have a lathe, aren't gonna go out and buy one for this project so here is how I do it by hand.
- Cut your blank down to its width (on either side of the band containing the x's)
- Find the center of your blank (this should be square so draw a x going from corner to corner of the blank the intersection is center)
- Drill a hole (drill press, hand drill or like me a dremel cutting tool)
- Begin widening the hole until you can fit a dremel drum sander bit in there and make a nice clean circle. Be aware of the ring size at this point. You can use a mandrel to measure or if its for you til it slips on your finger nice.
- Now that you have the inside done cut the corners off the blank to help round it if there is plenty of material there (depends on the size blank you started with)
- Now use the dremel to round with a drum sander (you could use some other sander etc your call just get the outside nice and round matching the inside)
- Leave a bit of material on the inside and outside to remove as you will want to hand sand it with some finer grit paper to finish.
Alternatively you could use a drill press and a fostner bit for the inside and a coring bit or the like for the outside then the dremel for fine tuning the size.
Step 4: Finishing
For finishing you can use whatever you like but I have found that for flat rings I really prefer using Boiled Linseed Oil and CA glue (super glue). This process can be a bit tricky and you can really mess it up and have to sand it all off and start over. If you are worried about that wipe on poly works great too it just takes longer to apply multiple coats and isn't as strong as the CA finish is.
For a CA finish do the inside and outside seperately. It also helps if you have a mandrel of some sort you can put the ring on and spin it slowly (like a drill or something). That isn't required but it helps. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FINGERS TO THE GLUE. The reason isn't about hurting yourself it is the moisture on your fingers will turn the glue white and or crystalize it requiring you to sand it all off and start over. Also do not blow on it. Anyway.... what you want to do is fold up your paper towel put your boiled linseed oil on it and wipe it on well but not wet and sloppy drying any excess with another part of the paper towel. Next in the spot you applied the linseed to the towel put a few drops of the CA there and wipe it on the ring all the way around quickly, firmly and evenly. Don't take more than 6-8 seconds as you don't want the towel to stick or you guessed it you will be sanding it off and starting over. Repeat that process linseed, then ca for 3-5 coats (based on your preference more looks more plastic like). I like to finish with the dremel and a buffing wheel.
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