Ring Bushings US Standard Sizes 1-14.5 (For Making Wood Rings on Lathe)

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Project by sgtsprout posted 12-30-2011 05:51 AM 6066 views 6 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Ring Bushings US Standard Sizes 1-14.5 (For Making Wood Rings on Lathe)
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I had posted under Woodworking Skill Share originally; unfortunately had no response posts. I certainly wouldn’t hold that against anyone as I assume no one had anything to offer.
In my research after the post I came upon some tools that could help with making wood rings on a lathe.

But these just were not exactly what I was looking for. From my original post I wanted bushings to make wood rings on a lathe. So I made some prototypes previously and now this is the finished project.

I have made a full set (half and full US Standard Sizes) of wood bushings.

I started with (2) 1-1/4” x 48” poplar dowels. I cut these into approx. 2.5” units. I squared the ends and drilled holes in the center. Unfortunately my drill press isn’t concentric or I cannot mark centers properly, as I then had to turn every piece (28) down till they were cylindrical.

My only real concern with tolerance was on the OD of the bushing that mates to the ID of the wood ring. I marked an approx. center on the bushing then turned down each bushing using the Easy Wood Tool Chisel to the matching US Standard Ring Sizes. (For example Size 6 Diameter of .650”).!
After I ensured the dimensions were almost exact (+- .002) using my calipers, I took them to the band saw and cut them in approx. half. That creates my match set stepped bushings. My wife and I burned the Ring Sizes in the top and sides.

And alas my set of bushings. The project technically is 99% done. I have to finalize the box/storage solution for the bushings.

As I was mentioning in my original post I was hoping to find these in metal. I presume I would have to make them myself. I suppose this is a future project!

Note the picture below shows my previous prototype and how I intend to use the bushings for turning down the rings. By the way I drill my rings center using Forstner bits. I realize now I need a much larger set of bits. Still working on the process of making rings though. I wanted to start with the bushings first.

-- "There are no gains without pains." -Benjamin Franklin

14 comments so far

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3188 days

#1 posted 12-30-2011 06:12 AM

I received an email today from…..Woodsmith eTips. They used a board (1×4) and cut it up the center with a saw. The kerf went about 8 inches into the board. They clamped the board to the drill press table and drill the hole with the center on the kerf. Drill the hole thru. They could insert the dowel and use a clamp to close the kerf around the dowel. All this is done without removing the board from the table. The drill press was used to drill into the same center but this time the dowel was drilled in the center. A very good tip I thought. This system centers the holes and also clamps the small piece of dowel.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4840 days

#2 posted 12-30-2011 06:26 AM

hmmm… good idea! I’ve resorted to the “painters tape wrapped round a spindle” method for holding my rings for sanding and finishing. Forstner bit to start off, and get it close, then sneak up on the inside diameter with sandpaper.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4090 days

#3 posted 12-30-2011 06:36 AM

looks very involved

View sgtsprout's profile


71 posts in 3283 days

#4 posted 12-30-2011 06:39 AM

Grandpa, thanks I will look into that and possibly try that. I will dig up that tip as I am still a little unclear on how to ensure the piece stays square and does not tilt.

Scotb, also thanks. Yeah I figure since I only have a small Forstner set I will need to sneak up on the ID as well with snadpaper. Can’t wait til I try some more rings and work on getting them as good as the ones I seen on your sites. Very nice. One of the other things I figure I’ll need to do is turn the back OD of the bushings. I only need enough material to hold the ring. Some of my bushings right now have a good amount of material left. I figure as I turn rings of those particular sizes I will turn them down as needed. Nice thing about these bushings is the dowel material is cheap and quick to make. And you can make the sizes you need, as needed.

-- "There are no gains without pains." -Benjamin Franklin

View sgtsprout's profile


71 posts in 3283 days

#5 posted 12-30-2011 06:43 AM

Yeah A1Jim, Maybe a little more involved then necessary. I really didn’t need to make all these sizes either. Right now I am working on my wife and my size rings (9 to 10). Should of only made those, but I have a little OCD and just couldn’t stop. But really only took me about 4 hrs of shop time.

-- "There are no gains without pains." -Benjamin Franklin

View Pitdull's profile


17 posts in 2892 days

#6 posted 12-30-2011 11:52 AM

Nice job.

View Woodbutcher3's profile


459 posts in 3400 days

#7 posted 12-30-2011 02:48 PM

That’s a lot of work! It would be great if some of these pen companies picked up on the bushings you made. Think about suggesting it to them?

Have you thought about trying to make these out of aluminum or brass stock?

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View Craig Havran's profile

Craig Havran

346 posts in 3124 days

#8 posted 12-30-2011 04:14 PM

Looks very nice. Sounds like it took a while to create, but will save you time and keep things uniform for you for here on out. My only suggestion would be to switch to a 60 degree live center to prolong the life of both your mandrel, and your live tailstock center as the tip doesn’t fit in the mandrel quite as well as the 60.

Thanks for sharing!!

-- "There's plenty of time to read the instruction manual when you're laying in the hospital bed". - Dad

View sgtsprout's profile


71 posts in 3283 days

#9 posted 12-30-2011 06:13 PM

thanks Rusty!

Woodbutcher, i did think about marketing them. Not sure where id start though. and yeah i was thinking making them out of aluminum. Not sure what would be the best material to use. I was going to buy some rods with 1/4 through hole and try turning them down. Well see if i could. Probably would have to ask some friends at work who have metal lathes and are machinists.

Turningheads, thanks and thanks for the tip. I think that may be one issue i have had with slight wobble. Going to pick one up right away. never even thought about that

-- "There are no gains without pains." -Benjamin Franklin

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3206 days

#10 posted 12-30-2011 06:23 PM

If you started marketing them, I’d buy a set. Great idea.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4601 days

#11 posted 12-31-2011 03:57 AM

You might try Delrin. has Delrin rods up to 6” thick.
They also list” tubes” but I didn’t check that out.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View sgtsprout's profile


71 posts in 3283 days

#12 posted 12-31-2011 04:42 AM

Great tip. I actualy ordered a small piece of “Impact-Resistant UHMW Polyethylene Tube, 0.875” OD X 0.250” ID, 2’ Length from Mcmastercarr”. Before the plastic came I decided to make them out of wood, as in both cases Wood and Plastic they will wear quickly. There are plenty of pros and cons to metals, wood and plastics I suppose.

I wonder what folks would prefer to buy? I think it would be possible to make out of either materials for similiar priciing though. I’ve seen the plastic and metal bushings for similiar pricing for pen kits. I have used Delrin for some of our engineering applications at work and I do love the material!

-- "There are no gains without pains." -Benjamin Franklin

View JamesVavra's profile


304 posts in 3829 days

#13 posted 01-01-2012 07:03 PM

I think the key to marketing these as a set is to make it out of something that CA won’t adhere to. UHMW would be my vote.


View sgtsprout's profile


71 posts in 3283 days

#14 posted 01-01-2012 07:38 PM

Great point James. I know with the aluminum bushings the CA adheres to them, but is easily removed. My choice material is aluminum right now. I need to talk to my engineering buddies to see what they reccomend.

-- "There are no gains without pains." -Benjamin Franklin

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