I recently came across some beautiful Purple Heart wood and decided to make a ring out of it. It is an exceptionally hard wood and makes the perfect ring while showcasing its violet hues. This was a little challenging because I do not have a lathe but I managed to use a drill press for most of the shaping and design and a bandsaw for rough cutting the outer shape. I hope this helps to make a simple ring with limited tools.
x1 Purple Heart wood piece the size of 2” x 2” square approximately
Sandpaper: 100, 220, 800, 1200, 1400
Buffing compound (optional)
Socket slightly smaller the finger size
Drill bit slightly smaller than finger size
Socket to drill adapter 3/8” (or whatever you have on hand)
x2 quick clamps
x1 drill press clamp
Step 1: Cut Piece to Size
Cut your piece of wood slightly larger than the outside diameter of your ring size. If your wood is a little thicker than the desired width of your ring, than you can plane it down or cut to desired thickness.
I used a bandsaw for this step.
Step 2: Drill the Inner Diameter of the Ring
I used the drill press, clamping system, and 2 small clamps to the table of the drill press to stabilize the blank of the ring. I used a 3/4” drill bit for the inner diameter of my ring. I then replaced the drill bit with a socket and 3/8” adapter and attached this to the drill press. I wrapped 220 grit sandpaper to the socket and sanded the inner diameter of the ring while holding it until the size roughly fit on my ring finger. I then proceeded to go to higher grit sandpaper gradually for a smooth finish on the inside diameter.
Step 3: Roughly Shape the Outside Diameter of the Ring
I cannot stress enough, but very carefully cut off small pieces of the outside diameter of the ring to form a rough circular shape, similar in width all the way around the ring.
If you have sides that are thicker than other parts of the ring, use a rough grit sandpaper 100 or below and carefully sand down the sides that are thicker until the outside diameter of the ring is roughly the same.
Step 4: Sand and Finish the Outside Diameter of the Ring
Since I didn’t have a lathe, I used a socket and the 3/8” adapter attached to the drill press. I wrapped some painters tape in a slightly tapered way so that I could push the ring on the socket and it would stay in one place.
Once you get your ring on the socket, start up the drill press and begin sanding starting with a low number sandpaper like 100 to get to the desired thickness of the outside diameter.
After desired thickness is reached, begin to gradually increase sandpaper grits until you get to 1400 grit at which time you can apply some danish oil while you sand to get a flawless smooth finish.
After this you can add a buffing compound to the ring if you desire a shiny finish but I kind of like the simple natural finish with the danish oil.
Step 5: Finish!
The final step!
Test the ring to fit. Repeat any of the steps for sanding if necessary.
Congratulations! You did it!
This wood is very hard and even though it is thin it will be very durable.
Walnut is also a good choice.
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