Introduction: The Greatest Ring-Making Tutorial Online (Bent-Wood/Metal Hybrids)
Ever seen rings like these ones online? Well guess what. You're going to learn how to make one exactly like the two being held in the photo. That's what this tutorial is about! Making the recently popular wood/metal hybrid rings. This is like a bent-wood ring on steroids that won't wear out from the inside. You can find some of these same rings on etsy for hundreds of dollars. This one should cost you under ten if you already have the woodworking materials!
To begin, let me just say that I am a college student in Provo, Utah. That means I have absolutely zero access to a woodworking shop, and hardly any power tools. The university I attend doesn't allow wood shop use except for engineering majors, which I refuse to be. As a result, this is done with the smallest amount of tools possible. Feel free to take shortcuts if you have any kind of band or table saw, belt or finishing sander, surface planer, ect
In this Instructable I'll teach you how to:
1. Prepare a metal ring
2. Make custom exotic veneer
3. Merge the worlds of metal and wood.
4. Finish and beautify the final product.
For some background, I started browsing Instructables five years ago, and ever since then it has become my most visited webpage. As I did more and more tutorials, I began to develop a pretty good skillset with the limited tools I have. This Instructable came from expounding on the work of others in this very site. So here is the shoutout and link if you want to know who to thank for this particular project.
She's the best. That was the first Instructable I ever completed.
Step 1: Materials
Okay! So here is what you are going to need!
~ Metal ring sized to perfection (preferably stainless steel)
You can order one on Amazon for just shipping usually. The more flat it is, the less work you have to do. Try one like this.
~ Your choice of wood (preferably already cut veneer, but I'll show you how to make veneer if you can't find any)
~ A Dremel with cutting wheels (optional if you have veneer already) and sanding wheels.
~ Sanding paper
~ Epoxy (I used Gorilla Epoxy)
~ Safety equipment
~ A single rubber band
~ Anything you would like to use to finish the ring (I use Danish Oil and high gloss Polyurethane spray, from Home Depot)
Step 2: Preparing the Metal Ring
First, level out the outside of the ring, so you will have a flat surface for the wood to adhere to.
The video is my technique. I used a few paper towels and let the ring spin a little along the outside of a rolled up paper towel as it grinds. This way I was able to achieve a uniform surface on the outside of the ring.
Second, shape the ring to whatever shape you want.
I did a small tapering from front to back, but based on the ring you have, it is possible to overlay wood onto any shape you can cut out with a Dremel.
Third, rough up the metal with some 80 grit sandpaper, to help the metal to wood bond.
Since I'm replicating a certain type of ring, here are pictures of the two next to each other.
Step 3: Make Yourself Some Exotic Veneer
First, cut the wood that you are using as thin as you can with a dremel cutting wheel.
Second, sand the wood down as thin as you can with some 80 grit sandpaper. It took me about ten minutes of good sanding to get the split piece I had down thin enough. I think the optimal width of veneer is 1/32nd of an inch.
That's really all there is to it! It took me about thirty minutes to make four rings worth of veneer. Make extra, because it's really frustrating when it breaks.
Step 4: Merge the Worlds of Wood and Metal
First, throw the wood veneer into a pot of boiling water. I usually keep mine in for five or so minutes. Take it out and immediately wrap it around your metal ring and rubber band it.
Second, wait for it to dry.
Third, undo the rubber band and use epoxy to wrap one layer of wood around your metal ring.
Fourth, rubber band it back on and wait the 48 hours for the epoxy to set hard.
Fifth, Shape the wood with a Dremel (or just hand sandpaper) so it is flush with the metal ring. Bevel the edges as much as you can without going through the wood.
After you've done that, its time to move on to the finishing steps!
Step 5: Finishing Touches on Your Masterpiece
My design required a circle to be carved out, and a different piece of olive wood to be placed in, giving the effect of a circle/oval. I carved away slowly with a dremel and then epoxied on the middle circle when It fit well. Use the lowest speed on your dremel, and use very fine sandpaper to make the oval fill-in with your extra veneer. If you just want a plain ring, continue down to the finishing steps.
So here's the down-low on finishing:
There are as many 'perfect' finishes out there as there are woodworkers.
Almost every person has their own way to finish, and if you have one that works for you, by all means use it! In this Instructable I'll be going over exactly how I finish my rings.
~ First, sand down the ring as smooth as your sandpaper allows, slowly going down from a coarser grit to a finer grit. I stopped at 320 grit. Make sure to not sand off the thin layer of wood!
~ The second step is to drop the ring into a bottle-cap full of Danish Oil (the fake kind, that is part polyurethane. I used WATCO). Leave it in there for three to four hours (What?? Yes, you read that right). Make sure it is submersed in oil completely for the full time-period. Take the ring out, and wipe off the excess oil, afterwards allowing it to dry for 72 hours.
~ After the Danish Oil, don't do anything to it if you like the look of it. It will have a dull sheen and a nice feel of real wood. Personally, I like a nice layer of high gloss polyurethane. This makes the ring look more professional and increases its durability.
~ If you want to add polyurethane, spray a thin first coat on the ring, then slowly start to build up the layers of polyurethane once every four hours. Once you've put on two coats or so, start to sand between coats with your highest grit sandpaper, to remove dust and impurities from the surface. Repeat the process until you get a nice buildup. I put on about 8 or nine coats before proceeding to the next phase of polyurethane application.
~ Once you've decided to only layer on two more coats, sand down the previous coat and take out the Danish Oil again. Gently wipe a thin layer of danish oil on the polyurethane. Let dry for 48 hours. Wipe off any excess. Spray second to last coat on ring. Repeat wiping of thin layer of Danish Oil. Let dry for 48 hours. Wipe off any excess. Spray final coat on ring, avoiding all dust and errors at all costs.
~ Some say to sand the final coat as well, but be warned, you will never get the same gloss effect with your final product than by just leaving it alone, no matter how much you polish it
Step 6: The Final Product
SWEET! YOU DID IT! Go show off that ring, or sell it, or propose with it for Heavens' sake!
Here are some pictures of my final products, two with flash, two on a sunny day, one of which is next to my original.
Make sure to let your polyurethane set before you put it through any abuse. I always recommend two weeks or so. After that, it should be relatively indestructible, as long as things don't get too crazy. Heck, if you mess it up, you can always sand it down and refinish it!
Step 7: Symbolism of My Ring Design (For Those That Are Curious)
So, here's my crazy deep religious symbolism for this ring
I'm a pretty devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most of the time people call us Mormons, after a book of scripture called the Book of Mormon, which we believe to be a companion to the Holy Bible.
In case that wasn't enough, we are the ones that are ecclesiastically trained for four years in high school every weekday morning before school, the ones that pay and volunteer to serve 2 year full-time proselyting missions, and the ones that are generally considered as crazy. You might know Mitt Romney, Brandon Flowers, David Archuletta, Jon Heder, and Heck, even Butch Cassidy. All Mormons.
Mormon's believe that a man named Joseph Smith was called as a prophet of God in the early 1800's, which people found surprisingly hard to believe back then. One of the things that Joseph Smith was spectacular at was throwing all normal Christian tradition at the time out the window. We believe in Christ, and know He is our only chance for salvation, but we differed greatly with other Christian sects about the details. Granted, the Christian world has begun accepting more of our practices recently (for example, you WON'T go to Hell if you don't get baptized), but we're still pretty different.
NOW FOR THE RING: One day in Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith was talking about the nature of man. He said the following, referring to this replica ring in the pictures:
"I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man—the immortal part, because it had no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. As the Lord liveth, if it had a beginning, it will have an end. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say that the spirit of man had a beginning, prove that it must have an end..."
- Joseph Smith (King Follett's Sermon)
So, Joseph Smith compared the mind and spirit of man to eternity, having no beginning and no end. For me, the ring design represents the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it's eternal nature. Specifically, it represents the enlightenment of that gospel as it was given in these latter days out of Zion. As it says in the Holy Bible:
"...for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." (Isaiah 2:3 KJV)
This scripture is speaking of the reign of Christ after his second coming. The Mormon's at the time of Joseph Smith believed that they were establishing a Zion society to help prepare the world for the second coming of Christ. We still believe that, for both Zion and Jerusalem are going to be needed for Christ to govern the world through.
By making this ring out of Olive wood from Jerusalem, I believe I have embodied this connection of Zion (through design) and Jerusalem (through material) that will take place after the second coming. I also believe that as the olive represents Christ in the New testament, and the circle represents the mind of man, that the ring is symbolic of the mind of man becoming one with Jesus Christ, in obedience to his will. These two together symbolize the unification of the world, and the unification of each of us to Christ. A triangle, you could say, where all of us are connected.
If you have any questions about us, visit Mormon.org . Its a great place.
Have fun with your rings! Let me know if you have any questions!