How To: Bentwood Rings

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by rance posted 08-21-2011 08:16 AM 19625 reads 14 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started to tag this on to someone else’s project post but thought they might not appreciate me hijacking their thread. So here it goes:


1) Soak your thin veneer of choice in some water for a while. It doesn’t even have to be hot water.  
2) Glue and wrap said veneer around a ‘thing’(preferrably a round ‘thing’) and let it dry. Go-Rilla glue works.  
3) Remove it from the ‘thing’.  
4) Sand the inside and outside to shape. A lathe is really not required to get very good results.  
5) Apply your finish of choice.  
6) Post in on LJ under ‘Projects’.  

Seriously folks, that is about it. What kind of veneer? Use what you have in your shop. Different veneers behave differently. Even if I tell you the exact one I use, then you will likely have slightly different results and/or problems. Ya just have to try it out and gain that elusive experience.

How long do you have to soak it? A while. We’re not building rockets here. Different veneers take different amounts of time. If it breaks, try longer. Or use thinner veneer.


Adding contrasting inlay strips… Glue up strips of contrasting woods, then rip to thin veneer strips. Use these for rings with contrasting inlays. How about contrasting liners? Try scarfing one contrasting veneer to another(end to end). You only need a few inches for the contrasting liner.

Oh, and you wanted pictures. :( Use your imagination as to ring shapes and wood combinations.

I truely hope many of you try this out. It is fun, elusive, and imensly rewarding. I wish you all the best in your results.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

19 comments so far

View Sam Shakouri's profile

Sam Shakouri

1200 posts in 4370 days

#1 posted 08-21-2011 08:59 AM

It looks interesting, I may try it, but where can I find Gorilla Glue? I looked in all hardwear shop in Sydney, they have not even hear about it. Can it be found in different name, Rance?

-- Sam Shakouri / CREATING WONDERS WITH WOOD.....Sydney,Australia....

View hairy's profile


3343 posts in 4814 days

#2 posted 08-21-2011 02:37 PM

View majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4778 days

#3 posted 08-21-2011 05:04 PM

Sounds great Rance, one for me to try….
There are now a few types of Gorilla glue out there…. which one do you recommend?

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View rance's profile


4279 posts in 4442 days

#4 posted 08-21-2011 05:45 PM

@Gene – The expanding, foaming, messy to work with, waterproof kind.
@Sam – Gorilla is the brand name for “polyurethane adhesive”. I’d be surprised if there are not more mfrs. Try
@Hairy – Creepy page. Notice how the fingers move ever so slightly when you mouse-hover near them or the menus?

Frank Lad is really the pioneer here IMO. He documented some of his ringmaking here.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View woodzy's profile


418 posts in 3961 days

#5 posted 08-21-2011 10:57 PM

I’ve looked for a “how to” for this very subject in the past. And this is the best one. It sounds like the way i ended up teaching my self. Setp 1) Just decide it’s not roket science and step 2) dive in. Mess up a few, get a number of interesting results. Then finally a bentwood ring.

thank for making it simple.

-- Anthony

View rance's profile


4279 posts in 4442 days

#6 posted 08-22-2011 12:46 AM

Anthony, you hit the nail on the head. :) I like your two step method better.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 4195 days

#7 posted 08-24-2011 10:51 AM

Rance, Thanks for the info! I’m Still not happy with my results i’ll keep pushing and see how it goes.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View rance's profile


4279 posts in 4442 days

#8 posted 09-05-2011 12:20 AM

I just heard a great quote from Doug Stowe:

“Repitition leads to Refinement, and Refinement leads to Success.”

I think this goes right along with making bent wood rings.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Thomas Hanson's profile

Thomas Hanson

46 posts in 3234 days

#9 posted 02-23-2013 02:10 AM

What’s with all the Gorilla glue? I hate that messy stuff ! Surely there are other choices.

-- Okie from Council Hill

View rance's profile


4279 posts in 4442 days

#10 posted 03-02-2013 04:33 AM

Thomas, the GG has the ability to fill tiny gaps if they should occur. It also has sufficient working time that you’ll need. Yes, it can be messy. Remember that you always have to use clamps when using GG. After I’ve wrapped up a blank for a ring, I put 3-4 rubber bands to hold it tight. The foaming will come out the sides, NOT push the rubber bands out. Hope this helps a little. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 4195 days

#11 posted 03-05-2013 04:30 PM

It is a great blog Rance! Thanks again!

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View rustyrobo's profile


1 post in 2788 days

#12 posted 04-12-2014 02:59 AM

Rance I have been making bentwood rings for a while and I use gorilla “cyn…..” glue. What advantages does gorlla glue have over “cyn…” glue?

View Michael McKenzie's profile

Michael McKenzie

64 posts in 1721 days

#13 posted 03-13-2017 06:07 PM

Hey RanceI

I just started selling these rings. I use a different (slightly) process for my rings:

I do use boiling water because I haven’t built an appropriate steam box yet and because it speeds up the process. Most veneers other than the hardwoods will bend readily for rings. Stiffer materials like mahogany, oak, cocolobo, Paldao, and wavy veneers like quilted eucalyptus and birdseye maple and some burls I use a dilution of glycerin, probably about 15% solution for the tough stuff. This will greatly increase the drying time. For the veneer sheets that need flattening first I just sandwich them between plywood and weight it down for the dry time. Then I can proceed with cutting and regular soaking and a lot of the time a second application of the glycerin solution is not necessary.

I use a permeable Cyanoacrylate (the thinner super glue) for bonding the dry wood (any dampness causes clouding, even from your breath) This not only bonds the wood well but it stabilizes it from reacting to moisture. (almost waterproof). A lot of the bent-wood ring makers actually use the CA as a finish as well but I’m not crazy about it. After shaping with sandpaper I go through a nine step micro-mesh finishing that not only results in a high luster but I find the top veneer will now accept a feed like tung or teak oil. So I feed it and buff it dry and allow it to cure for at least 24 hours. Then it gets 2 coats of Lacquer and 24 hours later it is polished with warm beeswax.

I hope I didn’t hijack the thread…..just wanted to chime in….new here. Oh here are some pics:

White Tulipwood with Spalted maple Lining

African Rosewood band

So Rance is right when he says experiment, it’s been a lot of fun merging into this process. I hesitate to just start loading up photos and mentioning my Etsy Store because I am here to hopefully make some friends, not sell anything.

I have been layering contrasting veneers and also using thin copper and silver strips. When you “scarf” and overlap it of course throws the ring off- center a bit which is meaningless when you hand-sand it. but when I pop it on an expanding arbor on the lathe, the effects of it being off-center are really cool. I especially like the silver mottled and burnished right into a black walnut band. let me know if you’d like to see more pics or have a website address to go to.

Thanks for starting the thread Rance

-- ~ Ancora imparo! ~

View tullog's profile


1 post in 1602 days

#14 posted 07-10-2017 09:27 PM

Anyone here ripping their own veneer on a table saw?

I’d love tips to achieve the thinnest possible strips from blocks of different woods I’ve glued together.

I suppose if the table saw is not ideal, I could use a planer?

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4650 days

#15 posted 07-10-2017 10:10 PM

Tablesaw ripping wastes more wood than you get. If you have a band saw, use that to rip thin strips. If needed you can use double sided tape to attach the thin wood to s piece of plywood and run it through your planer. I make rings and bracelets all the time. I put the veneer in a large crock pot on high for a couple hours. Take it out and roll it up as tight as I can and put tape arounf the roll. I set them aside for a couple days to completely dry. Untape and then cut to length and glue for the size ring needed.

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics