Introduction: Rings Made From Solid Wood

Picture of Rings Made From Solid Wood

These are quick and simple rings made form small scraps of hardwood turned on a lathe.
The rings pictured here are Walnut and Hickory. I haven't tried these out of soft wood such as pine, but I do not think they would work to well so stick to a hardwood.
These really are very simple, the hardest part is getting the sizes right. Once you have the process down you can crank them out quick.

Step 1: Gather Some Scrap Wood.

Picture of Gather Some Scrap Wood.

Go through your scrap box of exotic woods, find some hardwood with nice tight grain. I used pieces 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" Squares about 1/2" thick and 3/4" thick hickory and walnut.
You will also need a larger junk piece of wood attached to your lathe and turned with a taper to a dull point that will hold the ring by friction (jam-chuck). I am using some scrap pallet wood. A 2X2 would work fine for this. I actually think a softwood would work better for this.

Step 2: Drill the Hole

Picture of Drill the Hole

Now we need to drill a hole the proper size for the finger you want to put it on. A 3/4" hole barely goes on my pinky, and simply falls off my Fiance's largest finger. Just experiment, these are fun to make.

You can drill the hole a few different ways. I used the lathe with a jacobs chuck in the tail-stock. and used my chuck to hold the piece while I drilled.
Its always best to drill a pilot hole if you are drilling a large hole. The pilot hole will guide the larger bit through the piece. So I started with a 1/4" bit and followed with a 3/4" bit.

You can just as easily use the drill press for this.

Step 3: Prepare a Ring Chuck

Picture of Prepare a Ring Chuck

I do not know what you would call this jig other than a ring chuck. It is simply a short spindle of wood turned round and then to a dull point at one end.
*** UPDATE*** It's called a Jam-Chuck

The point to this is to slide the ring on to the spindle snug enough so it grips the ring tight enough that you can turn it round and shape it.
If you push the ring blank on too tight, you risk splitting the wood. If you go too loose, you risk the piece coming off So go a little on the looser side. here is a small tip: If you make the spindle long enough, the ring blank will simply come loose and spin sloppily. simply turn off your lathe and re-snug it to the spindle and try again.
Also note, that if you go too tight, it may not break until you make the ring thin.
snug it on and turn the spindle to correct rough size then rough sand. Check the fit of the ring blank often and stop when the ring blank goes on nice and snug.

Step 4: Turn the Ring to Desired Shape

Picture of Turn the Ring to Desired Shape

Time to shape the ring to finished size and then sand...
I used my Carbide lathe finisher from start to finish. This has to be done at a high speed and very, very light cuts. Go slow, you really don't have to much to remove. High speed, slow and light cuts!
A nice Idea here, is to make a match set of  rings using one solid piece of wood. After you get it finish smoothed, simply part it any way you want to. The grain will match each ring giving a somewhat more sentimental value or "friendship rings".

Step 5: Buff Them to Completion

Picture of Buff Them to Completion

After sanding all the rings thru 400 grit, I buffed them with three stages. Then finished them with some wax . The oils from your fingers will keep them protected.
They are very very cool.
The pictures sadly do not do them justice at all.


BenjaminB98 (author)2017-08-23

What would be the best way to carve something into it?

Bban (author)2015-02-19

I wait my bad nvm

Bban (author)2015-02-19

It's called a lathe btw

Corinbw (author)2015-01-17

I made a ring today out of pallet wood but why I tried to use some ultra fine black sandpaper it left black dust in the wood grain that I couldn't get out. It still looks great though...

Thanks for inspiration

explosivemaker (author)2013-10-04

+1 for sweedish fish

CaptDingo (author)2013-09-11

I used to make rings like yours in the 80's, always had people complaining about them breaking ( began carrying a tube of SuperGlue in my pocket). The remedy for it was to make 1/8" boards and glue 4-6 plys together alternating the grain directions and the type of wood.

SlickSqueegie (author)CaptDingo2013-09-11

yes, I had a couple of mine break as well. but only the very thin ones. I'm very particular of the wood as well with these. the tighter the grain, the better. that's a good idea about laminating them, however, If you are gluing up 1/8" boards to make the blank, how big are the rings you were making? this is a great idea for larger blanks for napkin rings and bangles though. thanks

emily_c (author)2013-08-31

Anyway you would sell these? I absolutely love them but I don't have a lathe (and even if I did I would probably cut my finger off on it).

SlickSqueegie (author)emily_c2013-09-11

sure I can. I need a ring size

Everlong (author)2013-08-05

Randomly clicked on two projects, thought "wow, these are great" ..Turns out they're both yours, ha! Nice work man ;)

SlickSqueegie (author)Everlong2013-08-05


emilyvanleemput (author)2013-07-22

Seond prize! congratulations!

Thank you! though, I do not quite understand what I have won! lol

As far as I know, it's a voucher for printing 3D designs up to $100 at shape ways, i.meterialise and sculpteo.

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2013-07-11

I am so glad to know that you are a Finalist in the jewelry Contest :[), your wood working skills are just AWESOME :[)... CONGRATULATIONS

Wow, I didnt even know that they announced them! Thanks Tarun. I'm up against some amazing projects in that one. I would soooo love to have that printer.

Congratulations on your WIN. :[)

Thanks Tarun!

bricobart (author)2013-07-13

Nice work, I love that walnut patina. Simple & beautiful!

SlickSqueegie (author)bricobart2013-07-13

Thanks. Walnut is by far, my favorite wood to work with!

bricobart (author)SlickSqueegie2013-07-14

Never worked with walnut before, but this will change! Thanx to remind me to that species ;)

SlickSqueegie (author)2013-07-12

Thank you Gothyc. I appreciate it!

SlickSqueegie (author)2013-07-10

A jam chuck is easy to make and requires junk wood. I can make about 20 of these start to finish in under an hour.

seadweller43 (author)2013-07-09

Nicely done. I made one for my wife about two years ago as an anniversary present but I used walnut and maple veneers and glued layers of them together. I did not use a jam chuck and just used my regular chuck, not a good idea. I couldn't find any instructions when I made them. Nice to see an instructable that lays it out with the least amount of complexity to it.

Thanks. I have seen the layered veneer rings, they look great. Have you heard of making your own ring blank with glue and sawdust? Gorilla glue mentions how to do it, but basically bore a hole in a board over sized finished dimension to form a mold. Mix saw-dust and glue to form a past. then press it into the bored hole and let it set. when its dry you can apparently turn it. It looks a lot like MDF to me, but I went further with it and thought about mixing different color wood dust into a marble like swirl in the ring mold and you could make some fancy stuff. you could also incorporate glitter to give it some bling!

markeiu (author)2013-07-05

How about a small hole saw after your pilot to save some time on the lathe?

SlickSqueegie (author)markeiu2013-07-05

The time spent getting it down to size is about a minute and a half on those. The lathe is one of the more "fun" tools in a shop. Any time spent on it, is time well spent. :)

the norm (author)SlickSqueegie2013-07-09

I make boxes on the lathe and don't drill, I just go in with the lathe tool.
Would that not work on this? might be harder to get the size, if that is the main goal, I guess.

SlickSqueegie (author)the norm2013-07-10

If I had a set of mini tools I would try it, but to be honest the drill bits do give you a standardized, repeatable sized hole.

Picturerazzi (author)2013-07-09


Thanks! :)

SlickSqueegie (author)2013-07-09

yeah, there are lots of ways to accomplish this ring and just as many design implications on them. They are a lot of fun!

SlickSqueegie (author)2013-07-09

Yep, I'm already on some other ideas with them. Dont forget about glitter and CA glue.

docron75 (author)2013-07-09

Nice looking rings. I have made some bracelets, but haven't tried anything this small. Gonna have to do it!

SlickSqueegie (author)docron752013-07-09

Thanks. The rings are quicker and much easier than the bracelets. I would love to see some pics. :)

The Dark Lord (author)2013-07-08

You can't go without those fish...the Swedish Fish.

They are tasty little treats. :)

nancyjohns (author)2013-07-08

SUPER COOL!! I want to make one but I don't have the tools :(

SlickSqueegie (author)nancyjohns2013-07-08

Thanks so much.

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2013-07-06

I am loving your projects good Sir. Thank you so much for sharing.

I'm really glad you like them. Thanks for looking!

Branbuscus (author)2013-07-05

Cool, i will definitely be making this the next Tim I get a chance.

SlickSqueegie (author)Branbuscus2013-07-06

I would love to see the results!

playtemple1 (author)2013-07-05

My teacher's engagement ring is wooden and looked awesome can't wait to make one! (-:

good luck with it, I would like to see what you come up with...

KemikalzAreFun (author)2013-07-05

This is cool!!
I suggest sanding it to not much bigger than you want, then taking higher grits of sandpaper (1000, 2000, then 3000), then doing 2-4 coats of clear urithan, and sanding with the highest grit inbetween coats

Thanks for the tip.

TheRealDanielJ (author)2013-07-05

I made a wood ring, and i wanted to know what a good safe finish would be. I found out that some kinds of super glue, (cyanoacrylate) are inert when dry and should be perfectly safe to use. It is durable, and also can come to a really nice shine. I sanded mine to 600, put the finish of super glue on it, then hand buffed it to 12000 grit micro mesh. I put a lot of time into it, since its not for me, but for my girl. it took a lot of work to get it to the point that I was happy with it, and it looks sweet, she will like it I hope!

Nice work. I like the two colors mixed. yep, the CA finish would be perfect for this. I made a few pens that way. The CA finish gives the wood a nice glassy smooth finish. Here's a tip for you if you do another with the same finish: wet sand! the wet sanding works fantastic for the CA. just make sure you cover the whole thing otherwise you will swell the wood. also, you can use a simple plastic polish as the last step and give it an even better shine.
I personally love the look of the CA finish, but I dislike the plasticy feel to the piece.

Thanks for sharing.

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2013-07-04

Oh, I just love wooden rings!

About This Instructable




Bio: I've built houses, decks, custom cabinets, furniture of all types. Ive done furniture repair and restoration, residential and commercial remodels, restaurant seating and tables ... More »
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