Wooden Steampunk Ring




About: I specialise in creating wooden rings and jewellery for customers all over the world as a professional Etsy seller. I also make videos sometimes, come check out my shop at: www.ZebranoWoodcraft.etsy.com F...

In this Instructable I'm going to show you how to make a “Wooden Steampunk Gear Ring” (a.k.a The fiddliest project I ever did!).

These rings are available to buy in my Etsy shop here: Steampunk Rings

Join me at Makers Central

I'll be giving this little ripper away at the Maker's Central Exhibition in Birmingham on the 5-6th of May 2018.

Not only will there be loads of things to do and see, makers from all over the world to meet and greet including some of YouTubes finest woodworkers, makers and DIYers.

Makers central will be holding a prize draw throughout the weekend and tickets are just £1 and 50% of the proceeds will go to Cancer Research.

For the opportunity to win this awesome little ring as well as meeting some of the biggest names in YouTube DIY check out the website: www.MakersCentral.co.uk to buy your tickets.

You now what they say: Time flies like and arrow and fruit flies like a banana, so let's make us a “Wooden steampunk gear ring”.

Step 1: Breaking Old Watches

This project started with a big bag of broken watch movements that has been in my cupboard for about 4 years! They were given to me by my friend Doug who had them for 2 years … so after six years decided it was time to turn this trash into treasure!

The first thing to do was to gather a load of tiny cogs, dials and general watch bits. The subtle way to do this would be to dismantle the watches with a tiny screwdriver – but I opted for the least fussy approach and just ripped the watches to bits with pliers.

Turns out that destroying watches with a pliers is actually pretty good fun and I just carried on until I had a pile of useable watch bits.

Step 2: Preping and Bending Wood

To make my wooden ring I used the “Bent wood method” with wood veneer.

I sliced up a length of Tineo and sanded a taper into one end of the wood until it was paper thin and soaked it in water for about 20 minutes.

I wrapped the wood up with masking tape around a wide socket to help prepare the wood for bending. Normally I'd let the wood dry over night but in this case I used a hair dryer to speed things up.

I repeated this process with a length of Macassar Ebony that would form the outside of the ring.

Step 3: Bent Wood Ring: Inside Layer

To make this two toned bent wood ring I started by test wrapping the Tineo wood around a former (I.e a socket).

I wrapped the wood around once then added about an extra CM and snipped away the excess wood. This left me with 1 layer of wood for the inside of the ring.

I sanded the newly cut edge until it was paper thin, wrapped the wood around my former and then applied a little CA glue to the overlapping flap and glued it down.

Step 4: Bent Wood Ring: Outside Layer

Forming the outside was pretty much the same deal but I cut enough wood to for two layers.

I worked slowly and steadily, applying a little glue and wrapping the wood around the former ensuring that each wrap was nice and tight. A little bit of my glove got stuck to the ring, but I'd rather that than chunks of my skin!

Next I sanded one edge of the ring flat using a figure of 8 motion on some 240grit sandpaper. Using a marking gauge I scored a line on the other side of the ring so that I knew where to sand down to, this ensured that the ring was an equal width all the way around.

With my bent wood ring formed I scored lined to mark out where to carve the channel for my inlay.

Step 5: Carving the Inlay Groove

With my basic bent wood ring formed the next thing to do was carve a massive inlay in the middle. I'm tried to get around 5-6mm worth of inlay groove so I could stick all the watch parts in.

I mounted the ring on to a wooden spindle on my lathe and carved out a groove with a set of files. I'll be honest my camera ran out of battery and I missed most of this process but you get the idea!

I cut a series of thinner grooves with a triangle file, then just connected them up with progressively wider files.

With the inlay channel carved into the ring and I painted the groove in black.

Step 6: Watch Parts Inlay

I laid out all of the watch parts and prepared to lose an hour of my life!

To set the watch parts into the ring I applied a tiny amount of Superglue and then positioned each piece individually with a tweezers and cocktails sticks.

Some of the cogs were a bit big but I was able to snip them to size with a clipper and file down the rough edges until they sat nicely into the inlay channel.

It was tedious but I worked my way around the ring setting the tiny gears, watch hands and cogs until the inlay channel was filled.

Step 7: C.A Glue Finish

Finishing was by far the most delicate and tedious part of the process. I used a CA glue A.K.A Superglue finish to protect the ring from the elements and make the details in the wood grain come to life.

I applied small amounts of glue to every surface of the ring using a cocktail stick and zooshed a bit of activator spray in between every coat to help the glue to cure.

The inside and edges had 8 coats while the outside took many more (I lost count to be honest).

Step 8: Polishing the Ring

To polish the ring I sanded it with progressively finer grits of sandpaper working from a 320 grit right up to 12 billion grit.

I sanded the inside and edges by hand (which is a great way to get arthritis) and spindle mounted the ring to sand the outside.

When the surface was even, smooth and rediculously shiny my job was done.

Step 9: The Finished Ring

It must be said, I am mega happy with the ring. I was fiddly, it was hard, I messed up a load of times but I learned something new and I hope you did too … if not I just hope you're inspired to make something awesome!

Come and get your tickets to Makers Central and www.MakersCentral.co.uk on the 5-6th of May 2018 at the Birmingham NEC.

If you see me there please come say hello and give me a high five!

Find My Shop On Etsy

If you like this Steampunk Ring and you're curious about my other work then come and check out my rings on Etsy here: Wood Rings

As always thank you for watching, subscribe to my Youtube channel and I'll keep 'em coming!



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14 Discussions


1 year ago

Looks great! You did a awesome piece of work!


1 year ago

Ok I bent the wood, it looked great, then I tried to glue and re roll the layers. Not so easy, you have talent and patience. Part of mine was good the other half had gaps. any tips on how to roll the layers tight? I had glue all over my fingers and messy. I tried to use a hose clamp to tighten it up but that didn't work so good. I used Gorilla clear glue not CA glue,,,,I guess that's the trick. I'm trying over again


1 year ago on Step 1

great work.....wanna try making one myself....great idea


1 year ago

i simply love it!!!


1 year ago

Great stuff. Again. Just a question. Why do you choose CA glue instead of, for example, epoxy? And is CA glue inert? Aren't there any allergy issues with it?


1 year ago

Very nice ring.

It seems to me that as you have a lathe, making the wood rings on the lathe would be much quicker. African Blackwood is close-grained and would work well for this.

Boxwood also is close-grained and would give you a lighter coloured base wood to stain if you so chose.

I have some of both if you contact me we can arrange something.


1 year ago

Looks fantastic! You seemed to have wasted a bit of the watch faces you could have cut down to size and fit in the inlay, like the gear, that would be cool.


1 year ago

Really cool! I wanna make one with bismuth crystals now. Might get around to doing that


1 year ago

What a nice ring, I know someone who collects watches.... Now I have to ask nice. Thank you for sharing it was great!


1 year ago

"Hey, where'd you get that cool ring?"

3 hours later...

"...then you take the CA glue and apply a thin coat..."

Gandolf the green

1 year ago

this is awesome.

have you considered trying to connect the gears when you put them onto the ring?

1 reply
Penolopy Bulnick

1 year ago

This looks fantastic! I love how you cut some of the gears; I think it looks so much better than if there were just full gears in there. I also feel like I need to invest in CA glue since I keep seeing it mentioned in your Instructables :)


1 year ago

this is beautiful.