Making A Segmented Ring Without A Lathe / A Step by Step Tutorial

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Blog entry by scrappy posted 06-07-2009 09:15 PM 21025 reads 106 times favorited 36 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, I was asked to put together a blog on how I made my segmentd ring. Since I had to make a new one for myself, (first one too small) I thought I would go ahead and do a step by step picture tutorial. My first time ever doing something like this , so hope it comes out OK.

Here goes;

Wood Selection

The first step in making the ring is deciding what woods to use. As we all know, the selection is quite large. One of the most important things is color, but the most important is hardness. You can have several woods with the same basic color choice but they will very greatly in grain density and hardness.

I had some Walnut laying around on my first ring and used it for the outside band. Looks great with the cherry center band. But it all ready has several chips around the outside edge! Where the edge of the ring is thin, the walnut chips away very easilly. Not happy with the durabillity at all.

On this ring I used Aldur( I think ) for the outside edges and inside light color, and ebony for the black for contrast. The Outside wood is VERY dense. Small grain, and hard to cut. Did not seem to want to “flake out” or chip when resawing or cutting to size.

Sizeing your ring

Next you need to know what size you are going to make the ring. I have no idea what my ring size is, so I just used my micrometers on my finger at the fat knuckle to get close. My finger measured .770 so I used a 3/4 drill(.750) for the inside, then sanded to size. With a edge thickness of 1/8 inch, I cut the stock to 1 1/4 inch square (1.25)

Width of the ring is another concern. Some guys like a big wide band, and most women want a norrow band. I have fat knuckles from my arthritus so I like a norrow band so as not to bind when useing my hands. My band is only 1/4 inch (.25) wide. That means the 5 layers of wood are only .050 inch each when sanded. So, the width of the ring along with the number of bands will determine how thick each piece has to be.

On to making the ring

After deciding on what size and how thick ( inside to outside) this will give you your minnimun size to cut your stock to squares. I resawed my boards first, then cut to squares 1 1/4 sq. This gives my plenty of room to work with. Also cut my strips of Ebony to width. You want these to be slightly wider then your layer is thick.

Here is my starting wood.
Prepared Wood

On the piece being used for the segmentation, I have layed out my cut lines. I am useing a 12 piece segment so my lines are at 30 deg. You can use as many segments as you are willing to try. Space them even or not. Different ideas for different designs. Use your imagination.

Dividing Center

Set the scroll saw to whatever angle you want your segment dividers to be at. Mine are at 20 deg. You could also leave them square to the stock.

Setting the Scroll Saw

Cut your first line from the edge to the center. (Do not cut all the way across unless you want your segments to be divided by different angles.)

First Cut

Turn the stock around and cut other half.

Second Cut

Now you need to cut your divider to length. You need 2 pieces for each glue up to go from center to edge.

Cut dividers to length

Glue the dividers in place useing glue of your choice. Keep in mind that this is a ring and will be getting wet. (I used Titebond II waterproof. Has good set up time and have had good results for durability.) I did not clamp these pieces together. Just held them in place and put a piece of masking tape across them to hold untill ready to use. ( about half an hour. That is why I have 2 projects going at same time.:)

When ready to cut,

Second Stripe

Repeat the first line process untill all lines are in.

Second Segment

All Segments In

Let glue dry completely, then sand back smooth. Now your stock is ready for glue up.

Stock is Ready

Be sure to use clamp blocks and plenty of presure to assure a good setting. Keeping your edges lined up, you need to alternate the grain in different directions to give more strenght to the assembly. ( just like plywood )

Clamped Up

I Let this dry overnight just to be sure glue is well dryed. ( you don’t want this to fall apart now! )

Find center on your assembly for drilling inside hole.

Finding Center

Useing a stop block to help hold assembly in place, Drill out center hole.

Drill Center Hole

After drilling hole, mark where you want to cut the outside down to. My ring is about 1/8 inch from center to edge. Mark slightly larger then what the finnished ring will be and sand to size. ( next step )

Marking Outside Cut

You want to get this as close to even as you can, it will make sanding easier.

Center Cut Out

Sand the inside of ring to size. If you put a slight rounding on the inside edges, it won’t feel as sharp or chip as easily. I used a drum sander from my dremel in the drill press for this operation.

Sanding the Center

In order to keep the same shape all the way around the ring, I made a sanding block to the desired shape.

Started with a piece of scrap, cut a 1/2 inch roundbottom grove, glued in strips of sandpaper.

Sanding Block

While holding the ring perpendicular to the block, I run it down the length of the block while turnung the ring. This gives it a more uniform cut then trying to do one area then move on and trying to match them up later. Just keep running back and forth, and rotate the ring slightly after each pass.

Sanding the Outside

You can go as far or little as you want, depending on what kind of profile you want on your edge. ( some people leave theirs squared off, without any curve to them )

Allmost Shaped

When you get to the shape you want, you can switch to a finer paper, my board has 120 grit and 240 grit in it. For the final sanding I go all the way to 1200 grit.

Finnally Sanded

It is a good idea to raise the grain and do another sanding to prevent problems if (when) the ring gets wet.

All that is left is to finnish with your favorite finnish. On this ring I picked up some Tung Oil / Varnish. I am now at 2 coats and going t go to at least 4, with 0000 steel wool between coats.

Completed Ring

You have now completed your Segmented Ring!

Congradulations! Do not be afraid to try this. It is all small steps. Just do one at a time, Do NOT rush, and enjoy. Remember, if you don;t try, you will never know if you can.

I hope this tutorial was informative. If you have any questions, please post them and I will answer. ( or PM if you would prefer )

Please leave all comments and critiques. I would like to know how I did so I can improve on the next one.

Thank you for looking.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

36 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5370 days

#1 posted 06-07-2009 09:19 PM

what a wonderful tutorial!!! And a beautiful ring.
Thank you for taking the time to create this blog!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4706 days

#2 posted 06-07-2009 09:40 PM

Beautiful ring and thanks so much…............ yes, you are right, if we never try, we will never know!!!
Great tutorial and thanks for posting.

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View degoose's profile


7284 posts in 4564 days

#3 posted 06-07-2009 09:53 PM

Heaps of good info here that can be related to other projects.. Thank you for you time and effort in posting this interesting and informative tutorial,

-- Be safe.

View lew's profile


13409 posts in 4965 days

#4 posted 06-07-2009 10:01 PM

Thanks, Scrappy!!!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View mtnwild's profile


4358 posts in 4737 days

#5 posted 06-07-2009 10:09 PM

Very helpful, Thanks!!

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 5116 days

#6 posted 06-08-2009 12:08 AM

very nicely done and a good tutorial

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4544 days

#7 posted 06-08-2009 12:15 AM

Great blog Scrappy. Looks like fun. Are you going to make segmented arm bracelets and ear rings for the ladies too? TIP: its nice to have a wood lathe (large or small) for that round work.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View a1Jim's profile


118201 posts in 4786 days

#8 posted 06-08-2009 12:20 AM

good blow by blow tutorial well done


View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 4901 days

#9 posted 06-08-2009 12:34 AM

Great blog and thats definatly going on the todo list

thanks for posting scrappy


-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4767 days

#10 posted 06-08-2009 01:04 AM

Well done Scrappy. I’ll have to give this a shot too. Would love one of those rings. Looks simple enough and a great place to use the smallest of scraps.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View WoodWrangler's profile


50 posts in 4999 days

#11 posted 06-08-2009 03:32 AM

NO LATHE! WOW! I didn’t expect that! Thanks for the great info!

View flcopper169's profile


187 posts in 4549 days

#12 posted 06-08-2009 04:02 AM

Scrappy…. Great tutorial… I’ll have to try one of these some day… looks like fun… Thanks for taking the time to do this…


-- Happy and safe woodworking, [email protected]

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4640 days

#13 posted 06-08-2009 05:04 AM

Thanks everyone for the great comments. I really enjoyed doing this. Glad I could contribute a little to the massive amount of info on this site.

I am glad that it came out understandable. Did my best to include pics because some times it is hard to understand just from words what a process means. This way you have pics and description to help explain.

Thanks again.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4591 days

#14 posted 06-08-2009 06:37 AM

Excellent, Scrappy! I love seeing the little tricks good woodworkers use. You get lathe quality without the lathe!

Thanks for sharing this!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 4593 days

#15 posted 06-08-2009 07:00 AM

Great tutorial. You made it look easy.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

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