September 13, 2021

Ring Turning Techniques and How To Fix Common Issues

Turning wooden rings

This blog will explain the technique of ring turning. It is not to sell tools or equipment but to explain the art of making rings with wood on a lathe. Will this teach you how to make rings like the ones pictured below? No. But, by reading this blog, you will learn to understand the process of turning wood, what’s different between one piece of wood and another, and how to make rings that are consistently round and smooth.

Wood turned rings

Wood turned rings are almost similar to bangles. What separates the two is that wood rings are smaller than bangles. They are easy to make. They can be affordable since you make them out of scrap wood. Walnut and hickory make good rings. Getting the sizes is tricky but possible. Below are steps to follow.

Steps for turning a ring on a lathe

  1. Gather scrap wood and make sure you pick hardwood with tight grain. Softwood also makes good rings. 
  2. Collect larger pieces of wood to attach to your lathe, turned with a taper to hold the ring by friction. 
  3. Drill the hole using a lathe and stick to the size of the finger. Use the chuck to hold the piece as you drill. A pilot hole is ideal before you make the hole. It directs the bit through the wood piece. 
  4. Prepare a ring chuck, a short spindle of wood turned around. 
  5. Slide the ring onto the spindle. Make sure it grips the ring tight so that you turn it around and shape it. Avoid pushing the ring too tight so that the wood does not split. If it is too loose, the piece comes off. When the spindle is long, the ring blank becomes loose and sloppy. Turn the lathe, and fit it onto the spindle. Turn the spindle to the correct sizable rough sand. When the ring goes snug, stop and do it properly. 
  6. Turn the ring to the desired shape and sand. Run the ring at high speed using the lathe and make light cuts. Make a matching set of the same wood and smooth it.
  7. Buff the rings to finish. Use 400 grit sandpaper, buff three stages, and finish with wax. 

How to fix a bent ring

Stage 1

  1. Gather your repair tools. Check the warranty to see what it covers. 
  2. Consider the material of the ring. A home repair is like gambling when a wood ring with gem settings is on the shank. Test the hardness of the material before you get started. Hardwood is difficult to shape. Consult the manufacturer or jewelry assistant if unsure about the gem settings. 
  3. Choose the ideal ring turning mandrel, as they come in multiple sizes. Take one made of sturdy wood, such as maple. Harder ring material is prone to damage your ring. Mandrels have ring sizes. Check the product to see if it matches the size of your wood ring. 
  4. Get a mallet for jewelry.  
  5. Purchase a buffing wheel or polishing lathe.

Stage 2

  1. The stage involves adjusting the bent ring. Start by slipping the ring onto the mandrel. Slip it down the cylinder’s shaft. Do not force and push down past the point on the shaft where it rests. 
  2. Apply pressure for re-shaping. Mold the ring to Manual’s circular shape. 
  3. Check the shape throughout the process and use a magnifying glass for increased visibility. 
  4. Fix dents and buff. 

Stage 3

  1. Polish the ring using a soft cloth. Buff out scratches in one direction for positive results. 
  2. Clean the ring and apply polish. 

Ring lathe

A ring lathe is a turning machine that makes jewelry. Picking a lathe helps you achieve the level you desire in turning items. Look for a reputable brand that is of high quality. Depending on how best you put the machine to use, you can use a Mini lathe to make rings. 

More power on the lathe machine allows you to make beautiful rings. Versatility brings high-quality wood rings since you adjust the speed to match it with the part you are making at that particular moment. 

A simple and easy-to-use machine makes the source turning experience bearable. The clamping system makes the project convenient to run. Additional resources equip the user, and chances are high that the lathe brings high performance. 

How to fix rings 

A ring that needs fixing could have broken or cracked. With time, the band on the wood ring begins to wear down, and it becomes weak. The area where the ends meet is the weakest part of the band. It is likely to crack first. Cracked rings are repairable with the right tools and an experienced wood Turner. 

Put the ring on a mandrel and push the ring down and around. A mandrel is a shaping tool that brings back the list shape of a wood ring. The standard roundness of a wood ring has to be maintained. Hit a hammer to round out bumps. Polish the wood ring for a refined finish. Put a heavy shank if the wood ring is too thin. 

The type of crack determines how you fill in the cracked areas of your ring. Re-attach the ends and re-size the ring back to its size. Repairing without checking the size results in the wrong size. More cracks attract an entire replacement of the band. 

Wooden ring turning supplies

When making rings, pick tools and materials that boost your creative side. Appropriate tools include standard tools that help you start and finish your project without missing a single step. Lack of proper tools compromises the performance of the ring tool and the quality of your work. 

It brings a lot of problems. Avoid spending money on low-quality products since that can cause a lot of frustration than enjoyment. The tools include pliers, magnifying glasses, blades, sandpaper: a mini lathe, ring mandrel, a ruler, drills, and drill bits. 

How to fix a bent ring without a mandrel

  1. Get a ring adjuster that works as a ring guard. Adjust the guard so that it fits into the bottom of the ring. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer. 
  2. Place two beads on the inside of your ring and let them sit for 24 hours. 
  3. Put dental floss at the bottom of your ring until it fits, and seal it using nail polish. 
  4. Enlarge the rings using a ring that fits your finger.
  5. Look for a ground surface that has the same diameter as the ring. Use a wine stopper or a pen. 
  6. Place the ring on the item and mark using a marker where the ring fits. 
  7. Put the ring and hold it in place on the tapered edge.
  8. Tal on the ring using a hammer, pushing it toward the mark. Move the hammer around the wood ring and continue tapping till it reaches the actual size. 

In summary, this is the procedure I use to turn a ring. This process is flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of ring designs. And it works equally well with hardwoods and softwoods.

David D. Hughes

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