How to make a Damascus steel ring with wood, Megalodon tooth and sterling silver inlays.
Earlier this month I was on best man duty for a good friend of mine called Joe, and he asked me to make him something special for his wedding ring.
I decided to use a beautiful stainless Damascus steel as the ring core. This material was produced by Damasteel and I used the "Blue Tounge" pattern that is made with 316L and 304 steels.
For the main inlay I used a genuine Megalodon shark tooth! I bought the specimen from www.UKGE.co.uk and thought it would add an interesting element to the ring.
The other materials I used for this ring were Macassar Ebony wood and sterling silver wire.
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Check out my Damascus Steel rings on Etsy here:
Step 1: Drilling & Boring the Damascus Steel
To get the party started I drilled a hole through the Damasteel blank using progressively bigger drill bits.
The blank was around 4cm in length and took a long time to drill! The trick I found to doing this was to gradually step up the width of the drill bits in small increments, use plenty of lubricant and drill at a slow speed!
I used a center drill at first then 10mm,14mm, 16mm, 18mm and 20mm drill bits.
When the hole through the center of the ring was wide enough I used a boring tool to rough out the inner diameter of the ring.
Step 2: Roughing the Outisde Diameter
Next I mounted the blank on an expanding mandrel thingy and I was able to roughly machine the outer diameter of the ring.
When I was close I used a couple of cutting tools to part off the 11mm wide piece of steel I would use for the ring.
Step 3: Tapering the Inside Edges
I cleaned up the outer edges of the ring, tapered the inside edges and used a rotary tool to do a bot of shaping inside the ring.
Step 4: Cutting an Inlay Channel
To begin cutting my inlay channel I used a marking gauge to score lines around the ring. When the lines were marked I was able to use cutting tools to rough out the channel.
I kept checking the width of the ring with my (broken) calipers to ensure I had a deep enough inlay channel.
When it was roughly 2mm deep I used a knife tool and a file to square up the edges of the inlay channel.
Step 5: Polishing the Steel
At this stage I sanded the outside of the ring from 240-1200 grit to remove any tooling marks.
For the inside I used the rotary tool and a bit of sand paper.
You probably shouldn't sand like this in the chuck, but thee lathe was running slow and I was careful not to lose a finger … just don;t try this at home!
With the scratches and tooling marks removed I used a red and green polishing compound to bring the ring to a high sexy shine.
Step 6: Etching the Damascus Steel
When the ring had been buffed to high heaven I literally couldn't wait to see what it would look like after an acid etch.
To bring out the pattern of the Damascus steel I used a 40% Ferric chloride acid solution. I cleaned the ring with distilled water to remove any grime then I suspended the ring into the acid for about 20 minutes.
I've seen this done with warmed up acid but I don't have a stove in the workshop so I just did it at room temperature and it worked fine.
After the relaxing bath I cleaned the ring off again and dunked it in a bicarb of soda solution to neutralise the acid.
After and acid etch, I sanded over the ring lightly with a bit of 2000 grit to bring out some of the patterns. It looked really cool and the patterns have all came out just as planned.
Now it's time to inlay some wood and some Megalodon tooth! Let's do this!
Step 7: Setting the Wood Inlay
I cut a strip of wood veneer that was 6mm wide an was a perfect fit into the inlay channel and then trimmed the wood so that it could wrap it around the the ring once.
To prepare the wood for wrapping I sanded down about a CM of each edge so it was paper thin.
The glue up was easy enough, I just applied a little CA glue and wrapped the wood in a couple of CM at a time.
I used the back of a tweezers to press the wood in nice and flat and make sure the wrap was tight.
Step 8: Megalodon Tooth Inlay
With the woods in and looking sick … it was time to set some inlays!
Once again I used the marking gauge to score a line where I wanted my Megalodon tooth inlay. With the line scored I was able to use a triangular file to carve the inlay channel to depth.
I crunched a few pieces of the shark tooth off using a pliers and then put them into an improvised pestle and mortar in order to crush them into dust.
To actually set the shark tooth into the inlay channel I used a toothpick and CA glue. I just dabbed a little bit of glue in and then sprinkled some of the dust into the inlay channel.
It took a few rounds to completely fill the channel in but when that was done I used a file to grind down any excess so the fossil was level and flush with the surface of the wood.
Step 9: Silver Inlay
With my mega shark inlay done, I cut two more channels either side of it for my silver bands.
The silver bands were made with 0.8mm round silver wire that were just the right length to encircle the whole ring with minimal visible joins. This takes a bit of practice but I glued the silver in little by little by using CA glue and a cocktail stick.
When all of the inlays were in I used a few grits of sandpaper to grind down the silver wire and clean up any messy bits.
Step 10: CA Finish, Re-Etching & Polishing
To finish the wood portion of the ring I used CA glue. This is a delicate operation and takes a good bit of precision and dexterity!
To begin I wrapped a few layers of masking tape over the edges of the ring to minimise the clean up operation after applying the CA glue.
Then I applied thin layers of glue to the ring with a cocktail stick and sprayed a light misting of activator spray between coats.
This took a while but I carried on until the CA was level with edges of the steel ring.
After applying what felt like a million layers of CA it was time for a final polish! I mounted the ring back on my spindle and sanded it with progressively finer grits of sandpaper and micromesh until the finish was smooth and free of any tooling marks or scratches.
I actually etched the ring once again after polishing the CA and then used a buffing wheel and my rotary tool to polish it all up with red and green polishing compounds.
Step 11: The Final Megalodon Tooth Ring
Here is the final result! I am super happy with the way that this ring turned out - the finished piece is a conversation starter for sure!
It was a beast of a ring and an awesome project. Joe loved it and him and Lauren had a fantastic day at their wedding in Cardiff!
Thank you for watching, if you'd like to see more of my work then please check out my Etsy shop or watch more videos:.
See you in the next one!