February 22, 2020

DIY Tools For Ring Making

Filed under: DIY, Finger rings, mold, ring, ring core, ring liner, Tools, Wood Lathe — peteblair @ 8:03 am

Yesterday I wrote about making finger ring Cores and Liners and today I thought that there might be some people interested in the tools I use (mostly shop made) to make finger Rings.

I started out making rings from veneer and then thin strips of wood that I could plane myself. These are cool and can be dyed with interesting colors but I found them quite time consuming to make.

I have now moved onto solid wood, antler, resin and combinations of these.

I’m not going into detail on my stationary tools but I use a bandsaw, drill press, 6″ belt sander and of course my lathe in addition to the following . . .

I found I did need to buy a few things to get me going but if you are ingenious you could probably do with out these. I bought a set of ring sizers, a ring size measure tool and I find a Vernier Calliper indispensable. I already had most of the lathe tools I use.

Here we go in no particular order are the tools I use.

I often cast or turn cylinders to make rings from and I am aware that cutting round stock on a bandsaw can be very dangerous. Here’s a photo of a sled and stock holder I made to use, I have a couple sizes for different diameters of cylinders. With it I can safely cut a 7/8″ long round piece into two 3/8″  ring or core blanks. The “V” sled is great for cutting round stock until it gets too short to hold safely.

Here are the two Ring Tools I bought and a set of callipers that I use but already had around and the recent add-on of a boring head which makes sizing a snap. It is a big saver as well when I am boring wood or resin for a core. Designed to easily sneak up on the final size and keeps the hole square.

This is my latest additon an outside finishing mandrel, I have made a couple of different sized nylon holders for different size rings. I made them from an old cutting board and find that CA finish doesn’t seem to stick to them. It simply consists of a collet which is pretty cheap and draw bar with a billiard ball handle and a bolt that fits the mandrel. I did have to lengthen the threads on the bold but I think it is possible to find a bolt with enough threads to do the job.

Here are some prepared ring and core blanks. Wood solids, Cast Alumilite, cast combination of wood and Alumilite and some made from veneer and wood strips.

Here are my shop made inside sizing and finishing  jigs and a set of nylon jaws I made for my oneway stronghold chuck.

These adaptors are made from woodstrip rings and allow me to use the inside finishing jigs to hold many different sized rings at about any stage of production or even if an inside repair is needed.

This is the mandrel I originally made to finish the outside of rings but now I use it only to do the outside of liners and cores and use the outside mandrel with the nylon bushings to do all my finishing.

This is what I now use to cast Alumilite and Alumilite and wood blanks. They work great. I spray inside with a mold release before casting.

Here’s one I just cast.

Some of my wood strip stock as you can see some are already dyed.


I finish my rings with this buffer utilizing rouge, white, and carnauba wax. i seem to be able to polish both the outside and inside with these buffing wheels.

Here are my finishing materials. I usually apply 4 coats of CA. I use regular for finish and black and medium thickness to glue liners.

I have just added two negative rake scrapers that aid in squaring the outside of the cores, they work very well with resin, or wood as well as combinations of the two.

And a couple of shop made thin grooving tools to use when I want to add strips of material, small chain or what have you.

All my ring making pieces fit in this nice tub which I can then store out fo the way and bring out when I decide to make a ring. It’s nice to have everything in one place in my messy shop.

I hope this blog helps and maybe even gives a few of you some new ideas that will make your ring making easier and more fun.

March 15, 2017

Drying Wood

Like many if not all wood turners I often get lucky and am able to turn green wood. Of course this means that we need to find a way to get it dry after we either rough turn it or turn it to finish. Sometimes I turn hollow forms so thin that they are almost dry when I finish but more often there is still some moisture that needs to be removed without the piece cracking.
Some turners let it dry by gradually allowing exposure to the air by many means such as bagging, boiling, putting in shavings, setting on the floor and gradually moving them higher in the shop. Most of the methods take a while and we really want to hurry the process.
Most turners agree that if the inside of a piece dries faster than the outside the wood tends to sort of compress and limit cracking. Some people wrap with the outside with plastic wrap, some coat with paint or a wax in emulsion. This lead me to my new method.
This winter has been pretty damp with lots of snow and rain and we were often drying boots and runners etc with a relatively cheap ‘Boot Dryer”.

The one I have is adjustable as to time it runs and has the option of using heat or not.
By adding hollow sections of plastic pipe etc to allow the air to get into and circulate inside the bowl or hollow form the drying process is sped up.

I am not a scientist and have a very limited knowledge of it’s principals and as a result I am unable to actually quantify the results of my method. All I know is that pieces treated like this tend to dry in about half the time of pieces left on their own.
I have only been trying this with fairly thin hollow forms and bowls that I will return to the lathe to sand and finish.
I have no experience with twice turned pieces dryed with this method.

By using the weight of the item I now am confident that the pieces I dry this way dry twice as fast as they do if just left to dry on their own.

I now have a little more information. The week before last I used my boot dryer to dry some small fairly thin bowls made from Gravenstein Apple wood and again the wood dried about twice as fast as a piece I left on its own and I had no cracking. At the same time I dried a small cup shape, it can be seen on the other blog (https://woodbowlsandthings.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/gravenstein-apple-wood/ ‎) about Apple it was dyed and then sanded. I sort of messed up as I didn’t manage to get the bottom as thin as the rest and after about 12 hours on the dryer I noticed some small cracks on the inside. I stopped using the boot dryer and the cracks mostly closed up and never made it to the outside. d

December 30, 2016

Darn Mould

Filed under: Art, mold, Silver Maple, Tools, Uncategorized, Wood Lathe — peteblair @ 2:25 pm

I have slowly started using the wonderful light coloured, Silver Maple that my friends helped me collect a month or so ago and today discovered my worst fear. MOULD!!! I really should be sheepish about this as I had been warned but I thought if I stickered it and kept it covered I would be ok. Not so! The mould has not gotten too far, just sort of starting to grey a little on the ends of a few pieces but when I uncovered the pile I discovered lots of whitish blue mold, especially on the bark.?

So what to do? I had been told and read that bleach was an option and so I headed to our local shopping market to get a couple of gallons of bleach but when there discovered that it is being sold by the litre.  AAARG!!! While checking the pricing I noticed Tilex Mould and Mildew. Now, have used this product with great success in our former bathroom, it killed mold and mildew with out scrubbing or brushing, easy peasy. I bought a couple or 4 spray bottles, thinking that I would have to put bleach into a spray bottle anyway and thus could kill two birds with one stone, so to speak!

Well, ‘the jury is still out’ as they say. I moved the whole stack on to a cement pad, off the wood chips and dirt where it was before, after of course building a sort of rack with some old dry cedar fencing I had laying around. As I moved the pile I applied lots and lots of Tiles, turning pieces to try to get it on all sides. I should note here that the ends had all been sealed with wax emulsion and it seems that the mold liked the wax and went right through it into the wood. I could for sure see it had penetrated lots of the end grain that had been treated and was sitting on the cedar strips.


I sure found a lot of mold and mildew both on the wood I had used under the first pile and on the inside of the tarp.

img_3467 img_3465

I will report back and update this blog as I turn more pieces to let you know if it worked or if there is any issues!

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