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Thread: What wood should I use to turn a ring?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Bedford, PA

    What wood should I use to turn a ring?

    I want to try turning a ring. Has anybody done this? What would should I use?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Upstate NY
    You can't. The cross grain will get you every time. Even with goncalo alves, and you won't find anything much stronger.
    I have used wood with polyester pressure infused intended for gun handles; it works reasonably well, but is still fragile.

    You CAN get a great ring with veneer glued with CA. I have tried it and only got junk; there is apparently a significant learning curve.
    But I bought a beautiful one pretty cheaply on Etsy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Kapolei Hawaii
    A finger size ring, a captured ring or bangle sized ring?
    You can try turning a small ring end grain, then the whole ring is long grain. I've not attempted that, as Wade says it will still be really fragile I would think.
    If you turn a bit bigger, like a captured ring where the end grain weakness would not be an issue, it's pretty easy. But the ring will still be fragile. Even if the entire ring is hit with CA, it can still break at the end grain.
    Bangle size, turn endgrain and you should be fine. I've turned many of them. Yes, they still do break.

  4. #4
    If you are turning a relatively thin ring, I would suggest laminating woods with alternating grain direction. Normally, wood movement makes that unadvisable, but if the surface area is minimal it will work. That would provide better strength and will also help reduce the tendency for the ring to go out of round if it is turned from face grain.

    Left click my name for homepage link.

  5. #5
    You can make all wood rings by laminating thin pieces rotating each layer 90 degrees gluing them with CA glue. Better option is to get ring cores from a place like craft supply or wildwood designs

  6. #6
    For a finger ring i've had pretty good success with Cocobolo. Of course I made them fairly wide to give them a bit more strength.
    They are pretty fragile, but my daughter has been wearing hers for several years with no problem.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric C Stoltzfus View Post
    I want to try turning a ring. Has anybody done this? What would should I use?
    I've turned rings end-grain. You can't let an elephant sit on one but no problem with normal use.

    If worried about the strength I'd probably use Lignum Vitae - extremely tough wood. Dogwood is amazingly tough - I can cut a slice of end grain and almost bend it back on itself. You could probably use a stabilized blank such as sold for bottle stoppers or game calls.

    But as Kyle implied, you might get better answers if you said what kind and size of ring. I suspect you mean a finger ring.
    Or a napkin ring? A pull for a curtain? A nose ring? A captive ring around a goblet stem?
    Cocobolo burns very nicely if you want a ring if fire.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Bloomington, MN
    I made some from Purpleheart a couple years ago. They've survived without issue, but for every one I made successfully I had one or two explode. That was before I had a drill chuck though and had to do the inside by hand.

  9. #9
    Eric you might find some helpful information on my Blog. It's located here.
    Incidentally I settled for the most part on the superglue method after dying thin strips of wood.
    I can provide more details if you wish, PM me if there is more I can add.
    Last edited by Peter Blair; 02-13-2019 at 5:24 PM.

    * It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for life - Sister Elizabeth Kenny *
    I think this equates nicely to wood turning as well . . . . .

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inver Grove Heights, MN
    I did several out of walnut with a center band inlay of resin based filler. I think the resin ring added enough strength to hold the wood rings together. I just turned the walnut ring end grain. Then while still on the mandrill I used a parting tool to cut a slot for the center band or bands. After filling the cut with resin and a colored material I returned and sanded to final shape and finished with CA glue. I suspect that the wood itself contributed zero to the strength of the final rings.

  11. #11
    I made a ring cutting attachment for my lathe.
    I make stepped bowels. I've only had a few rings break.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    lufkin tx
    Like Jordan I recommend a tough non-ring porous tropical or dogwood turned endgrain for a ring.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    An all-wood ring is likely to be fragile in use. This outfit -- -- offers metal cores for rings. You add your chosen wood over the metal. You get a ring which will have a much longer life.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    College Station, Texas
    You can get a stainless ring core at woodworker's Emporium along with instructions on how to make the ring at
    Way south of most everybody...

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