Introduction: Wooden Engagement Ring

Picture of Wooden Engagement Ring

Simple `ingredients' and simple equipments to get a good looking ring.

I had a brilliant lying in a little box on my desk and I really love rings.
I decided to put that gem on a ring and to give it to my girlfriend.
But I am not a jeweler nor I have the right equipment, so I decided to use wood as raw material and to use my limited set of utensils.

I actually did not use it for a proposal, I just gave it to my girlfriend as a normal gift.
But it can be a good engagement ring for the guys that want to give something special to their lovers.

The close-up pictures were taken with a Pentax K10 D and a Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 SP Di macro lens.
The other pictures, with a Pentax SMC-DA 16-45mm f/4 ED AL zoom lens.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

First of all you need a brilliant.
I found one in a ear-ring that was lying on the floor of a train station (lucky uh?).
I believe that it is a cubic zirconia gem, but I am not an expert, so as far as I know it can be a real diamond!
If you are not so lucky you can easily buy a cubic zirconia, or a real diamond, from eBay.
Sometimes cubic zirconia is referres as "synthetic diamond" or "lab created diamond".

Then you need some wood.
I used a dark-red wood, but do not ask me what kind is it. I think that it comes from an old broken wine barrel, since I found it in an old cellar.

Epoxy glue
To glue the brilliant on the wood. I hope that it will keep the brilliant in place. I also tried Cyanoacrylate glue (here in Italy "super attak") but it did not work, after a couple of days the gem fell off (fortunately I did not loose it).

Step 2: Equipments

Picture of Equipments

My equipments are:
- Very old drill.
- Drill bit for wood.
- Drill saw.
- Drill bit to scrape.
- A selection of files.
- Dremel.
- A selection of Dremel bits.

Step 3: Cutting and Drilling Wood

Picture of Cutting and Drilling Wood

Now that we have everything we need let us start with the preparation of the wood piece.

First of all I drilled the wood, then cutted it. I obtained a smaller piece with the hole in it.
With the saw I worked on the bit of wood to roughly scrap off the biggest part to get an approximately rounded shape.

I also tried to soak it in a diluted solution of white glue (here in Italy: "Vinavil") to make it stronger.
Unfortunately the glue did not penetrate much the wood so it was useless.

Step 4: Giving the Final Shape.

Picture of Giving the Final Shape.

Using the scraping drill bit I gave a better shape to the ring.

Then using the rasp and the file I tried to make it as regular as possible.
I wanted the sides to be parallel and the width to be uniform.

Then with the file and the drill bit I rounded its width.
With the rat-tail file I rouned the inside.

Step 5: Preparing the Alcove for the Gem.

Picture of Preparing the Alcove for the Gem.

With the Dremel bits I prepared the alcove for the gem.
First with the high speed cutter I made a little hole to easily use the other bits.
The hole should be a little bit bigger than the brillant, we must keep the room for the glue.

With the high speed cutter, then I prepared a smaller hole in it for the tip of the gem.

Step 6: Polishing

Picture of Polishing

Using the polishing felt I polished the ring.

I wanted to make it dark and shiny so I set the Dremel to maximum speed.
The felt kind of burned the wood (I could actually smell burned wood) under it making it darker and polished.

Be careful not to burn it completely and to give an uniform tone to the wood.

Step 7: Preparing the Brillant.

Picture of Preparing the Brillant.

To easily manipulate the brillant I attached it to a piece of plasticine.

I also cleaned it with acetone, as suggesten on the glue packaging.

Step 8: Gluing!

With the epoxy glue I glued the gem to the ring, but I had some problems due to the plasticine: it gets in the way!

I should find a better way to handle the brillant, than the plasticine.

Step 9: Final Result.

Picture of Final Result.

I am pretty satisfied with the result, it was my first time to try to make a ring like that.

As mentioned, I should find a better way to handle the gem. The plasticine leaved some residuals on the wood.

But I loke the contrast between the shine of the brillant and the darkness of the wood, plus the constrast between the rough surface of the wood and the clean surface of the stone.


carpfluff (author)2012-01-08

do the old glass trick. scrape it on glass and if it leaves a scrape, it's a diamond. if not, it's cubic zirconium. congratulations! the ring looks great.

MrE (author)carpfluff2013-02-03

Sorry carpfluff, that is an old wives tale. There is something known as the Mohs hardness scale. Glass is around 5.5, or I should say window glass plate, 5.5 is. The thing is that anything harder will cut glass. So all that you can tell is that whatever you are cutting with is harder than or softer than. In fact if you get some cheap glass and your jewel is plate glass that has been cut, which some are it will cut and prove only that you have a harder glass. Now don't get me wrong the glass jewel will take some damage. Forgive me if this sounds preachy or know it all. I just like to convey knowledge when I can.

InTheory (author)MrE2013-09-17

No not preachy. I was going to say the same thing. If he wants to know if it is truely a diamond on the Mohs scale just find the next hardes thing, see which cuts first.
Also as I recall you can find out with a microscope as I recall. Forgive me if I am wrong mineraloloy is a low spoke in my wheelhouse.

Duke Steele (author)2013-03-04

I would never have thought of using a Dremel to burn a finish into the ring. Very clever.;

AussieAnglerGal (author)2012-01-23

nice wooden ring!

james927 (author)2011-10-24

Thanks so much for making this instructable! I was trying to make a wooden ring for my girlfriend before this and it was very difficult. Thanks to you it was a lot easier and she's more than just my girlfriend now!

I ended up having to make a second ring for her because the first one was way to loose. I made a cherry ring first, then I failed a few times at making a black walnut ring. I ended up using a piece of cherry and black walnut together so the cherry would support the black walnut. Wood glue works great to bind them together.

One thing that helps is I own a sawmill business so I have access to all the hardwood I need! The black walnut log came from my neighbor and the cherry came from a family friend.

How did your cherry ring(s) turn out? I'll post pictures of what I made tomorrow and again thank you so much!

what kind of wood did you use?

 I do not really know but I think it is some kind of oak.

mastermaker (author)Caffeinomane2010-12-05

it actually looks more towards a type of dark walnut or mahogany. I think im going to make a ring out of purple heart... This ring was not made by me, but if i can do this right it should look similar, im thinking of just cutting it out with a large plug, drilling a hole though the middle matching my finger, then sanding it to perfection(no scartches, unevenness) and maybe using a mineral, linseed, or simple laquer finish on it

mrbrian1969 (author)mastermaker2011-05-27

wow that looks great! I hope your turns out as well.

Caffeinomane (author)mastermaker2010-12-05

This wood looks wonderful!
I just found some cherry, I am planning to make some more rings with it.
Let us see how they will come :)

blacjack1 (author)Caffeinomane2011-01-05

i have two pieces of different woods, the first is i have no clue what it is and the second is a piece of walnut. after reading this instructable i decied to make two rings out of the rosewood and a ring box out of the mahogany for my parents 25th wedding anniversary. thankyou for the inspiration from this instructable. if i can i will post images of what it turned out lik

littlebastard (author)2009-09-17

i think it might be easier if instead of cutting the wood (i assume you used a band saw or something of the sort) if you used a holw cutting bit for a drill and got the perfect circle like that.

Can you tell me more about those drill bits? Like a picture or a link. Thanks!

R4Man18 (author)littlebastard2009-09-19

those can be expensive, i suggest you use a paddle bit and sand it down to the correct size.

littlebastard (author)R4Man182009-09-20

yeah, or you can do that :)

heres the bocote. didnt work first try

I've made quite a few rings out of a variety of exotic woods. the best drill bit to use is a forstner bit. here are some sets available from amazon...
you can buy one for about 10 bucks just go slow and it wont crack. the only type of wood that has cracked on me was a bocote the first time and it was because i was drilling with the grain. like somebody already mentioned if you go perpendicular to the grain it will be stronger. i wear different ones about everyday and the only one that broke was one that got stuck on my nephews finger and i tried getting it off dry instead of using soap. lesson learned. i used wax as a polish at first but quickly realized that wax scuffs too easily and have since been coating every piece of jewelry with a lacquer spray. here's a pic of the bocote.

It does make sense in a way but I've tried cutting a hole in a thin slice of wood and it always breaks. Seems that it's stronger if still in a block so therefore it's easier to drill the centre hole first. You'd have to be super accurate to then cut the outer ring.

To stop thin or soft wood splintering clamp it between 2 pieces of scrap board and drill through. The scrap will splinter, but the work piece will be a clean cut providing you clamp it tightly enough not to bow.

happyluckyidiot (author)2009-09-24

Here is a shot of the wedding rings I made from Yew and the ring box. After many attempts I have learned a lot about which way to cut for the grain and examining wood for cracks.

I made an engagement ring from yew wood when I proposed to my wife in 2009. The great thing about yew wood is the variation in the colours caused by what it grows through. The piece I used had grown through a barbed wire fence and the wire had caused the yew wood to stain black, purple and pink in places.

I used a pinkish section, inlaid it with an abalone shell heart and polished with 1200 grit wet and dry and then ran over it with a polishing wheel on a dremel. The close grain of yew gets you a really nice finish.

Congratulations! I've never seen anything like you describe, it sounds wonderful. I find that the natural oils from your skin darken the wood quite quickly and so I've recently tried using a shellac based friction polish. It doesn't last permanently but does seem to keep the natural colours a lot longer than beeswax or nothing.

I've become increasingly worried about the toxic properties of yew. According to research I can find the wood itself is toxic, not just the dust (and leaves and berries of course). Close contact with skin doesn't seem to be wise although perhaps the skin's oils on the ring form a protective barrier?

The ring was meant as a temporary engagement ring until I could get her to the jewellers and have her fingers measured, so it was never intended for everyday wear. I had varnished it, but after she dropped champagne over it and it went all sticky I just sanded it back to the natural wood. I'm not sure I'd wear a wooden ring everyday, I'd end up breaking it.

Yes, every part of the yew tree is poisonous apart from the flesh of the berries (the seed is still poisonous though!). Horses have died from eating the leaves. I'm not sure if the poison is a contact poison, or weather seasoning the wood breaks the toxins down. The amount of poison contained within a small piece of wood must also be fairly limited.

It's used extensively in furniture though, and was the wood of choice for bows throughout the ages so I don't think it's like ricin!

Brad I. (author)happyluckyidiot2010-02-20

I was skeptical about the whole "wooden ring" concept until I saw your yew versions.  Magnificent!  Now I want to find some yew wood.  Where did you find it?  I live in NC 

happyluckyidiot (author)Brad I.2010-02-20

I was lucky enough to have grown up on a property in England with it's own yew trees. They are very common in church yards here. Sorry I can't help you. Perhaps you could ask on some more local carving or turning forums? There's usually a dealer of exotic woods available not too far away!

Darcy777 (author)happyluckyidiot2010-02-18

Those are beautiful! If you sell those kinds of rings, please do contact me to let me know where I can get one.

happyluckyidiot (author)Darcy7772010-02-18

Sorry I don't sell them as I couldn't guarantee that they wouldn't crack within a week. The small branches I make them from are random and some last longer than others. Also I have to make them to measure as I don't own a ring sizer.

glipzcom (author)happyluckyidiot2009-09-24

Hey guys, I made a wooden engagement ring for my finance, but after wearing it for about a month it cracked. So saying that you have learned about how to cut them makes me think you should share that info! She loved the ring but was so disappointed when it cracked. Maybe I can make her another one before the wedding.

Prop (author)glipzcom2010-02-18

There are two ways to make a strong wood ring... laminate thin solid wood or veneer with crossing grain every other layer..... or lath a groove into the outside and inset a bent piece or veneer around the outside

happyluckyidiot (author)glipzcom2009-09-25

@ glipzcom: The very first one I made was from a small branch and I thought that it would be strongest if I used the tree's natural grain rings by drilling along the centre (horizontally if you like). I now think this is probably the weakest way! I've had much better results drilling down through the branch and then slicing horizontally to make 'blanks' (like a square with a hole in) which can then be shaped into a ring by cutting the excess off and then sanding. If the rings in my photo were upright on their edges then that is how they would come from the piece that the box is made from. I use a 16mm bit but have to sand the inside a bit bigger. The biggest problem I've found is that the wood has natural cracks. I need to learn more about seasoning timber so that it doesn't crack. I also found the heart wood to be harder and more brittle but I like the mix of both. English Oak I found to be quite flexible. Hope this helps.

This is a very nice idea! I love the box, too!

Those are absolutely beautiful! The box was such a creative idea :)

Chard (author)2009-09-15

i guess the best home test to see if its an immitation diamond is to fix it down and then under a microscope or magnifying glass, see if you can scratch it with a razor or hobby knife. if it scratches it definately aint a diamond but maybe glass. then you could either have some fun trying to break it in imaginative ways (a real diamond wont break...unless its hit hard between 2 larger diamonds maybe he he?). my mate Moh says diamonds are pretty tough - he gave em a 10/10. that said the BEST way to do it is take it to a frindly jewlers. they should have some propper test id imagine. might be worth doing it as you either have a cubic zirconia or a very fine, extremely expensive diamond.

Carmelite (author)Chard2009-09-15

actually you can shatter diamonds quite easily. Hardness does not determine strength under pressure. ;)

gord360 (author)Carmelite2010-07-13

Ummm, no, you can't. Diamonds are the one of the hardest materials ever.

hammer9876 (author)Chard2009-09-24

A jeweler I knew had a machine that could tell fake from real. He couldn't just look at them and tell. Me? I can't tell the difference. So guess what I buy....

Caffeinomane (author)Chard2009-09-16

Well, I think that I will keep it this way (id est no breaking nor scratching :P ). It has a sense of mystery that makes it more interesting.

Diamonds are hard, they are not tough. You can shatter a diamond pretty easily.

polevaulter33 (author)2010-07-12

this is such a beautiful and more personal alternative to a diamond ring! i know i am one of those quirky girls who think most diamond rings are too fancy and unwearable so i of course think this is a great idea

littlepetry (author)2010-02-18

 Here is my ring, I didnt cut the middle hole first, instead i screwed in a dremel attachment and put it in the drill press. Then I sanded it to make it perfectly round, and shaped it. Without the hole in the middle, it looked like a fancy button. Once I had it all shaped I drilled out the middle to size. To finish it, I took a block of wax while it was spinning and rubbed it all over the ring. Then I used a dremel buffing circle and melted it and made it shiny. Then I did the same thing for the middle, and engraved my initials in the middle of it for my girlfriend. The wood I used was East Indian Rose wood. That is the natural color of the wood. I originally bought it to make my gf the necklace from the movie, The illusionist, the "Heart Locket"

nosliwg (author)2009-10-30

This is absolutely beautiful work.  After reading your instructions I attempted a ring on my own, and found that I could do a good job of the outer shaping by mounting the ring on a cushioned drill bit (a makeshift lathe).  The result is less compelling, but easier to produce.

finfan7 (author)2009-10-25

I love these things.  I made one my self once.
A guy my dad knew was planning to marry a woman who was originally from china.  He spent six months arranging to get a piece of wood from the tree that grew in the back yard of her home in her remote village so that he could do this.  He got it and made it into a ring all without her knowing.  Amazing stuff, love.

angelone (author)2009-10-02

5 stars, I totally love this. :) I really like the regularity of the ring.

Caffeinomane (author)angelone2009-10-02

Thank you :)

TLTZ (author)2009-09-25

You could use a stick with a wax tip that will allow you to pick up the brilliant - a lot of hobby shops stock them in the hot-fix crystal area. Make sure you have a toothpick, awl, etc., available and place the brilliant into the epoxy. Hold the brilliant down with the toothpick, awl, etc., and remove the wax stick. You can then reposition and/or put some pressure on the brilliant to help with the bond. Hope this helps!

Caffeinomane (author)TLTZ2009-10-01

Yes I am now thinking about something like that

Bardouv (author)2009-09-27

How many work hours did this take?

Caffeinomane (author)Bardouv2009-10-01

Uhmm I think a couple of hours to shape the ring and two more hours to finish it

About This Instructable




More by Caffeinomane:Paper EmbossingGirino - Fast Arduino OscilloscopeCeltic Knot Bone Pendant - Triquetra Pendant
Add instructable to: