Introduction: Hand-crafted Wooden Ring From Fallen Wood

I've frequented Instructables for years, though this is the first time I've made my own Instructable.

I'm nothing of a craftsman, though I learned quite a bit from my late father, and in his recent passing I decided to try to take what I learned and create something as a memorial to him, this is what I came up with.

Edit: I just want to thank everyone who voted for me in this contest. I didn't realize the contest was going on when I was creating this ring, but I was given the option to enter what I created the Instructable. Never would I have though I would actually have placed, especially as I did. I can't begin to convey how proud and sad I feel for winning, and how proud my father would be. Thank you, just thank you everyone.

Materials Used:
Rotary tool
Sandpaper of various grits (150-2.5K)
Red Mahogany 225 stain
Clear Gloss Polyurethane
Crafting iron with wood burning tip

Step 1: Finding Your Wood and Prepping It

The first step for this was to find some wood suitable for crafting! This was a very difficult thing to do for myself, as I don't have my own property to look for wood on and I wasn't about to go cutting up trees to get it.
So I decided to go down to my local park and take a walk through the forest to find something suitable that had recently fallen, and through lengthy searching I finally found the perfect tree.

Now, unfortunately I couldn't take this entire thing home. So taking out my leatherman I cut off a decent section for use.

Step 2: Further Cutting to Size

Once bringing the stick home, the bark was stripped and left to dry for some time (It wasn't green, but slightly damp from being in the snow)

Once this was done I further cut branch down to a more manageable size, before marking a ring outline around it with a pen in my ring size.
Further cutting down I was left with nothing but a small disk, before drilling a hole in the center and chiseling out the center to the outer pen lines with my leatherman.

Left with the "Ring blank" the real tedious work began, sanding!

With my rotary tool I sanded the entire inside just to the inner line, periodically checking to make sure I was forming a smooth circle and keeping to my lines. I sanded down completely to the inner line, before stopping.

After doing this, the "ring" at this point fit quite tightly, but the pen marked ring still represented the "inside", but I left that final layer so that I could fine-sand it without accidentally creating a ring a size larger than I wanted.

With that done, I used my rotary tool again to bevel off the sharp edges.

Step 3: False Completion and Continued Sanding

By this point I had a rough inner and outer ring, so I took the highest grit sandpaper that I had and gave it a "very fine" sanding.

The outer part of the ring was a cinch, the inside however needed some craftyness to get smooth. I ended up taking strips of sandpaper and wrapping them around my pen before working them in and out of the ring to give it a nice smooth finish.

Once the ring was fine and smooth I did my first staining, once it dried I was left with the first picture.
I was quite proud of it, but I felt like I could do better, previously I had done a paint-job on an old game console of mine, and gave it a super-fine sanding to give it an ultra-smooth finish. Since that had came out amazingly, I decided to do the same here!

I ended up starting with a 1K grit sandpaper and working my way up gradually, all the while using my pen trick to sand the inside.
Gradually moving from 1K to 1.5, to 2, and ending with 2.5K

If you're wondering where you can find this sandpaper, you can get some at AutoZone, they come in single packs or you can buy a pack with multiple sheets of the same kind, or you can buy a pack that comes with higher grit after higher grit as a detailing pack. (That's what this sandpaper is for, actually)

After all of that sanding, I did a very light staining and was left with the second picture. I was very proud of the outcome, and I loved the fact that it gleamed even without a gloss coating.

Step 4: Engraving and Coating

With my ring now ultra-smooth and stained, I decided to burn-etch it and give it a final polyurethane coating to finish it.

Now, at this point I'd been working on this for quite some time, and I had toiled for days trying to figure out what I wanted to write on the ring. I wanted something that would really hit true with the man my father was, he may not have always been there for me, but he loved me and he was a master craftsman and woodsman. Ultimately I decided with "For Love & Adventure", as that's what he lived for.

After meticulously burning my message into the ring, I gave it the final gloss coating, and the final two pictures are the result.

I'm very proud of my creation, though I decided not to actually wear it (even though it fits perfectly), as I want to keep it in pristine condition as a memento and memorial.

Thank you everyone for viewing this, my first instructable!

Woodworking Contest

Second Prize in the
Woodworking Contest