Steel Core Rings

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Project by Dustin posted 12-10-2018 01:09 PM 956 views 3 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Steel Core Rings
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More and more I’ve been realizing that time in front of my lathe is the most rewarding time I spend in my shop. That being the case, I’m keeping an open eye for more small projects I can turn. That’s when this popped up in my youtube feed (instructional video on the product page):

I hadn’t been interested in doing bent wood rings due to time requirements and sizing concerns, so this seemed like a great solution to both. And since I already turn pens, tooling up for this cost me less than $20 to order the 3 different bushing sizes (admittedly, these could be manufactured yourself quite easily if you were so inclined).

The finish on these is 10 coats of thin CA. I would apply 4, then do a puff of activator. Repeat for the next 4 coats, then sanded lightly with 400 grit to even up finish. The last two coats are applied lightly and allowed to dry on their own (I’ve found the activator can cause a little clouding). Once dry, pop them off the bushings, clean up any excess CA with a razor blade, then buff the finish with EEE and white diamond compound (I’ve recently acquired a Beall Buff system, and been going a little overboard. I did try the wax step on my own ring, but liked the shine left by stopping at the white diamond better).

I’ve been wearing mine for a couple of months now, frequently forgetting to take it off when I wash my hands-I know CA is technically water resistant, not water proof-and it’s holding up well with no signs of wear. Though I also appreciate that the nature of this project allows for easy touch-up’s of a worn finish.

One of these was purchased by the director of my department at work to give to her husband for their anniversary coming up this weekend. He’s an Ohio State alumnus, and she thought he’d love a ring made from buckeye burl :p

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

2 comments so far

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3325 days

#1 posted 12-10-2018 01:58 PM

The only problem I’ve seen with the CA for durability is cracking.
I built a couple of canes, with Banksia Pod ball tops on aged bamboo. The canes were beautiful, and I kept one myself.
Like most things I own, sooner or later I dropped it, and when it hit the wooden floor, the CA cracked on the Banksia pod. I left it go, but it happened again when I leaned the cane against the wall a bit too hard. Put the cane back in the lathe whole and lathed off the CA, polished the ball top with no finish. The ball is about 1 5/8” in diameter, just right for a hand to hold.

I would think that sooner or later, someone wearing one of these rings is going to grab something hard, (a screw off beer bottle top comes to mind), and it will dig in and crack the CA. Just a thought…
There is a lady in my gallery who displays these, and she finishes them with oils, or in some cases, has them encased in acrylic, although I don’t know how she does that. No CA.
There is also a store on Etsy, WoodKYB, a couple from Ukraine, that makes rings out of wood and acrylic you might want to look at. They also do other things, if you are into these multiple wood/steel/other things projects.

BTW, beautiful work!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Dustin's profile


707 posts in 1551 days

#2 posted 12-10-2018 02:10 PM

Thanks, Tennessee!

I definitely agree there are more durable methods of finishing, but none within my reach in the near future (I’ve seen some dips in UV activated resin on bentwood ring makers, for example). I’m curious about your particular situation, and was wondering: aren’t banksia pods particularly porous? I’d be curious if that could contribute to the cracking, if there were ample “give” under the CA.

At any rate, my margin on these (if I’m lucky enough to keep selling) is high enough that as a hobbyist only, I don’t mind touching up orders for people, should the worst case scenario unfold. But I’m hoping the multiple coats and saturation from thin viscosity will allow these to hold up.

And by the way, your projects page is outstanding! The tsunami bowl you posted at the first of the year is really incredible.

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

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