In this tutorial I will show my process on how to make a metal ring with a wooden inlay. For this project I used a steel ring liner from http://www.bangleguy.com and a red buck eye burl knife scale from http://emberleaf.com/.
First things first: measuring.
I measured the outside diameter and width of the ring blank so I could use my powers of deduction to work out how much wood I’d need.
- The diameter required was around 21mm
- The width of the inlay was 7mm.
Preparing The Wood
With my measurements done I mounted my wood on the drill press and bored a hole with a 20mm paddle bit.
I drilled the hole slightly smaller than required but sanded it until the metal ring blank fit nice and snug inside.
Next I cut a rough shape out of the wooden blank on the scroll saw – just the take the edges off and make it easier to turn.
Mounting On The Lathe
I needed a way to mount the wood on the lathe for turning so I made a quick jam chuck from a piece of pine dowel.
The jam chuck was a pretty good fit but I also held the wood in place with a wine cork from the tailstock.
This method of mounting worked nicely and I got to work with a roughing gouge to make a ring shape.
Using a caliper I marked just over 7mm so I could see where the ring needed parting.
I was going to use a parting tool but the thin wood looked pretty fragile so I used my drill press clamp and a fine toothed saw to cut the ring to size.
Assembling The Ring
With the rough wooden ring made I did a bit of fine tuning with sand paper to ensure the metal ring blank was a perfect fit.
After a few test runs of assembling the ring I was ready to glue up. I carefully applied a high viscosity super glue to the metal ring blank, inserting one section at a time into the wood.
Both pieces of the steel ring slot together nicely and assembly was pretty easy if you work fast!
Time for a quick coffee and to mount this bad boy back on the lathe for shaping and finishing.
Final Shaping & Finishing
I made a an adjustment to the jam chuck and used chisels to shape the wooden ring.
After shaping I sanded through a few grits to get a nice smooth feel to the ring.
For finishing I wanted to enhance the colours of the grain and decided against a thick membrane finish like CA glue so I could actually feel the texture and smoothness of the wood against my skin.
I just used a few layers of friction polish on this piece to keep it simple and preserve the feel of the grain.
Finally I scraped away any excess super glue with a craft knife. The end result was a beautiful, tactile ring that I’ll be wearing for years to come!
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