Celtic Knot Bone Ring




I love rings and I love to make them with bone, because it is strong and very durable. For this instructable I will show you how I made my new bone ring, with simple tools and materials.

With a leftover piece I also made a pendant that you can see in this instructable: Triquetra Pendant

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-FA 50mm f/1.4.

Step 1: Materials

Just one: a Bone! Beef bones are the bigger and the most suitable ones.

In Italy, especially in my region, we prepare a very good sauce with bone marrow. It is called pevarà (sometimes pearà) and it is made of bread, bone marrow, beef broth, butter and a lot of pepper. In fact its name literally means peppered. So that is why I have those big bones lying around.

An important point is the cleaning of the bone. After the cooking the sponge-like part of the bone is full of red bone marrow and that is not good if you want to work with the bone. The best way to clean it is to put it in the dishwasher!
I was surprised, when I first tried this trick, how good it worked. It perfectly cleans every part of the bone and exposes the sponge-like part.

I put also some close-up pictures of the sponge-like part because it is too cool. Our bones have this kind of structure near the ends to make them light but strong.

Oh yeah... And some Brown India Ink.

Step 2: Tools

  • Toy vise (I got it when I was a child but I still use it);
  • Very old drill;
  • Drill bit for wood;
  • Drill saw;
  • Drill bit to scrape;
  • Dremel;
  • Dremel drill press (this is not necessary but very usefull);
  • A selection of Dremel bits;
  • A brush.

Step 3: Cutting and Drilling #1

Now that we have everything we need let us start with the preparation of the bone piece. Be careful: wear eye protection!

This is what I did:
  1. I cutted a rectangular piece out of the bone (trying to make the cuts as parallel as possible, otherwise the vise will not hold it well);
  2. Drilled a little hole with my drill bit.
  3. Checked if the hole is centered.
  4. Drilled the whole hole.
  5. Using the drill saw I cutted away pieces to get a rough round shape.
  6. Broke the ring...
Yes I broke it on the last cut! So I had to start all over again...

Step 4: Cutting and Drilling #2

After the shock of breaking my ring I decided to follow a new procedure:
  1. Cut two parallel cuts till half the bone.
  2. Drilled the hole.
  3. Shaped the ring with small cuts while it is still attached to the main bone.
  4. Let the dog taste the bone with a lick. Just to check the quality of the bone.

Step 5: Shaping

Holding the drill upward and using the scrape bit, I shaped the ring.

I wanted it to be a wide band ring, a little thick so I could etch it. Unfortunately with the rough cuts I made it too thin on a side.

Step 6: Etching

To prepare the etching I drew with a pencil some random Celtic Knot-ish decorations. With hindsight I should have planned better this part because it does not look very Celtic. But I like it anyhow.

Then I etched them with a Dremel bit. The side that was to thin was etched kust a little bit, to give the idea.

Step 7: Polishing

To clean rough edges I filed it a little bit with a simple file. Then I polished with a polishing felt.

Step 8: Coloring

Since the ring is white, it is difficult to see the edges and from a distance it looks like a simple white band ring.
So I decided to add a little bit of brown India ink in the etches.

With a brush I dripped a little bit of ink in the valleys and waited for it to dry, but not completely. Then with a wet cloth I cleaned the hills.
The bone is a little bit porous and absorbs the ink. This was a quick process so I could not take pictures.

I used this tecnique with another ring some years ago and the ink is still there.

Step 9: Done!

I am pretty satisfied with the result. This was my first experience in etching something and I think it turned out good.
Maybe I should have put more efford on the planning of the knots, instead of just drawing a random one.



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    23 Discussions


    4 years ago on Step 5

    Idea: In the cutting step, while drilling in the hole, you could use a ring mandrel as you cut the hole to shape in order to achieve a certain size you want as well. That is if you want to make some rings for someone else. Just insert the mandrel from time-to-time as you cut along until you reach the size you want! But make sure it's the right size and know how to use the mandrel to achieve any certain size. It's also good to use a ring sizer to size the person's finger the ring will be worn on, and then find that size on the mandrel, insert the mandrel in the hole as you cut along then to the size you want.


    4 years ago on Step 3

    would strongly recommend wearing a mask to avoid inhaling bone dust because inhaling any kind of dust can cause lower respiratory problems


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for this tutorial. I have been wanting to work with bone for quite some time. As a hunter I want to use everything the animal has to offer, waste not want not.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, Great instructable!

    I tried this last night but I ended up breaking it in half. I think because its a combination of the file that I was using and my clamping methods. I will try again on the other bone blank today and see how it ends up. Also did you have any difficulty using the dremel when the ring was really defined? like would you recommend any different techniques other than doing it in the air? Anyway, great job!


    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    As you can see I broke mine ring too, pretty annoying.
    This was my first time with etching something, so I am not sure if my technique was the optimum. It seemed that working in air was just fine.

    Did you finish your ring?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Sure, I usually go to a butcher and ask beef and bone to make meat stock. Then I boil meat and bone and use the marrow to make a kind of Italian sauce that is called Pearà.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Sure, I usually go to a butcher and ask beef and bone to make meat stock. Then I boil meat and bone and use the marrow to make a kind of Italian sauce that is called Pearà.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    stupid laptop! You should also use breathing protection, even if just a painters mask, bone dust can be very hazardous

    4 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I understand that you had some problems with your laptop. Anyways, why is bone dust hazardous? Is it something because it is just dust or is there something more?

    But I can assure you that I was wearing a mask while I was etching the ring. Because to me precise I kept it near my face and I did not want to inahale that dust.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Im not really sure why its hazardous but breathing any dust can be a health risk. There are many types of wood, egg shells and bone that it's usually recommended to wear a mask when carving, grinding or sanding


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    In the developing world, Bone/horn crafters run the risk of tuberculosis from the dust.
    Now, that includes working with horns.

    According to OSHA, for medical workers, performing bone operations, filtration is only needed if exposure is over a certain PPM per minute.
    The acknowledge no particular danger beyond normal exposure to fine particulate matter.

    Using your method, I wouldn't worry too much. Treat it like you would wood.
    Between the cooking, and dishwashering, it's gonna be pretty darn clean.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    PPM is parts per million. Working with bone creates very fine, powder-like dust which should be guarded against as it can easily be inhaled. I'd bet the PPM is rather high, though I'm not sure of OSHA's limit for bone. I do a lot of bone work and decided on my own to use a mask when I'm using my Dremel to cut or work the bone.

    Oh I am sorry I did not know what a bagpipe is I thought it was some kind of equipment. You never finish to learn a new language!