Introduction: DIY: How to Make an Engagement Ring Box

About: The Dogfather, Chris Giffrow || Youtuber, Maker of things... mostly from wood.

Where to even begin with this ring box. Well first of all, it’s made from locally sourced rosewood that I got from my buddy PJ Fetscher here in town. This has been used on a number of projects used on my YouTube channel, including the Japanese-Shaker Desk, Nicholson Workbench, Japanese Toolbox, and the Spearfishing Gun. Secondly, I was initially planning on entering this into an Instructables contest here for hand tools, but the video for the Timber Frame Barn Door ate up all my time prior to the deadline. C’est la vie.

So what do you need for a build like this? Well, not much. A few planes, a saw, some sandpaper and a flat surface, CA Glue, scrap leather. It’s probably better to call this a scrap wood project as I basically did it with off cuts and leftovers. It’s also important to note that the shape, size, etc. is really up to you. You don’t need to adhere to my design. I wanted to do something weird. You can do something weird too. So let’s get weird.


Affiliate links and products used:

-The Real Milk Paint Company's Impressive line of finishing products (Special Affiliate Link): For 10% off use coupon code: cowdogcraftworks

-Starbond CA Glues (Special Affiliate Link):

Center Punch:

Stanley Sweetheart Chisels:

Solid Brass Wheel Marking Gauge:

DFM Tool Works Small Square and Center Finder:

Glu-bot Glue Bottle:

Mineral Spirits:

Mini Square 10x5cm:

Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment 0.1 mm Pen:

Pentel Mechanical Pencil:

Other tools needed:


Block Plane

Low Angle Jack Plane

Shooting Board


Step 1: Shaping the Blank

Step one is pretty simple. You’re just getting a usable rough block sawed down to size. The more square you can keep this, the better your life will be moving forward. I had one trued edge for the most part so I was able to take it over to the shooting board and square up the ends, before going back and using the shooting board to also joint the sides. I’ve been asked a few times about spraying wood with whatever I’m spraying wood with. For end grain, I’m spraying that with denatured alcohol to soften it up and make it a bit easier to plane. When jointing small pieces like this on the shooting board, watch your fingers. A slip will take the pad off your finger pretty quick.

Step 2: Layout and Marking

Marking out the cut lines is pretty self explanatory as well. I went with a marking gauge and marking knife, using a small carpenter’s square to strike the angles I was shooting for. I drew everything out first with 0.1 mm pen, and then came back with the knife to scribe the lines in. I’m pretty particular to laying out with marking blades. I find it to be more accurate and easier and it helps with sawing as I’m able to use my fingernail in the knife line to be able to set the kerf where I want it.

Step 3: Sawing and Hogging Out Material

Sawing is the life blood of this project to be completely honest. You’ll either have a good box or something that’s crooked and stupid real quick if you’re not sawing straight. I adhere to the Japanese carpentry technique of sawing from the corner first and then flipping the piece once you get to about halfway. I’ve really taken to this technique even in western style applications and find that it gets me the cleanest and straightest results.

Since I wanted the challenge of doing this strictly with hand tools, I bulked out the waste with a chisel, instead of using a router or a drill to hog out most of the waste. There’s a couple really important points here that will make your life a lot easier and prevent you from making a mistake like I did where I blew out a huge chunk with the chisel. For starters, severing across the grain first with the chisel is the smart play. However, you’ll notice that I’m chiseling into that line that comes across the grain. That was a bad move. The smart play would have been to chisel from that side across and probably take smaller bites. Work in the direction that increases the margin of error. Not the other way around.

Step 4: Refining

After you’re refined and pared, sand the inside lips of the box with a piece of sandpaper on a flat surface. In this case it was my table saw surface. You do have to be careful here because sanding too aggressively… or if you’re not listening to me then busting out the chisels and paring down… can create some grain continuity issues. I chose a piece of wood that was sapwood and heartwood. The idea with this box is to have a seamless transition so that when the box is lidded, it looks singular. Therefore, grain continuity is extremely important and over sanding or removing material on the inside can affect how your grain lines up. Obviously if you don’t have bicolored wood, the grain continuity issues will be less apparent. However, if you have some jerk friends that are woodworkers I’m sure they’ll inspect it and call you out on the lack of grain continuity.

John Parilla from the Parillaworks YouTube channel is a friend and I totally ripped this leather technique for the inside of the box from him. Basically, you cut some leather and roll it up to hold the ring securely in place. There’s a couple reasons I like leather here. One, leather is dope. Two, I have leather laying around. Three, leather takes a lot of the wood finishing products I use like a champ and it gives it a weathered or patina look. Also, since it’s not taking any forces of any kind really, the leather that holds the ring can be held in with something as simple as hot glue, which is what I did here. The leather elsewhere was adhered to the wood with Starbond CA Glue. Magnets are dope. There’s a million ways to make sure magnets line up perfectly. I went with mounting one side first, painting the top with some black touch up paint and then placing the opposing side on to mark and then drill the corresponding hole. It’s really not super advanced and it worked great. The magnets were placed with CA glue as well. If you’re a little paranoid about the CA glue not holding, some five minute epoxy in there works fine as well.

Step 5: Finishing

Finishing was a snap with Real Milk Paint Co.’s pure tung oil. Wipe on and wipe off. I did two heavy coats and then just let it cure for a few days. You can also wax with carnauba as well. As I said before, these finishing products work on the leather as well as the wood, so you don’t have to stress about taping off areas, etc.

After it’s done, propose, and make sure she says yes.