Finish for a wood ring
My 5th wedding anniversary is coming up and I wanted to make my wife a wood ring and I was curious as to all your thoughts on what I should use to finish it. I was initially thinking a lacquer but didn't know if anyone had alternative better ideas that would suit the project better.
Looking forward to hearing your suggestions :)
From what I see online...it seems a thinned version of epoxy is used.
Functional rings and/or most jewelry made of wood) typically do not get a finish per se. It is pointless to do so as most of the modern "plastic" film finishes will not last even under lite use and day to day (or even limited) use.
Professionals that have any experience in making, restoring, and/or designing jewelry with wood in it (or entirely of wood) rely on the understood and known modalities that have been in wood jewelry making for millenia. My own experience in the area is (by my account of it) very limited, as I have only made and/or restored a few pieces during my woodworking career. However, my mother and related friends did make portions of there living from this craft form.
Rings are best made of very hard and durable woods with an understanding of the correct and complimentary grain patters to the geometry of the ring itself. The "finish" is typically an oil, rosin, wax blend (if any) and is often used to clean the ring on a regular bases when (and or if?) used. The best (and most enduring finish!) is simply the natural sebaceous oils of human skin and time itself. The patina this forms is unrepeatable and simply can not be achieved with modern finishes.
The other element I would add is that almost any wood (and pattern of wood there of) can be employed for a ring or other jewelry...IF...augmented with a supporting bone, metal, of related support armature around the wood itself...
Hope this helps? Let me know if I can expand on any point I made?
What type of wood are you using? Are you making the ring out of wood over a core, such as stainless steel? Or are you making it completely out of wood?
There are a number of options, with the best being to stabilize your wood irregardless of wood over metal or all wood. This will give you the best durability and prevent as much movement as possible.
A much simpler way would be to impregnate the wood, both inside and out, with thin CA. Then finish as desired for the look you want. For example, use CA as you would for a pen and buff for a glossy finish.
Good luck and let us know more details if you need more information.
Congrats on the 5 year anniversary!
Thank you so much for your help!
Right now I am debating between having some very thin brass sandwiched in between two pieces of wood or just wood by itself. I tested with a piece of dried plum wood yesterday and it worked well until it broke. I assumed (and I am probably wrong) but I drilled out the very center of the branch I was using so that the grain wrapped itself around the ring. I think thought that might not be the best idea and would love to know your thoughts.
I also have a piece of VERY hard black wood that I won at an auction that I have not been able to identify. I am not sure if it is maybe wenge or a type of ebony? I will try to take a picture tonight and see if anyone here can help identify it.
The problem with the plum piece as well was that the center was a but pilthey and some of that may have been part of the wood remaining for the ring which would not help at all.
If I was doing it and could finish it on a wood lathe, I would use CA glue for the finish. It is what most penturners use to finish pens. Can be sanded/polished to a very high gloss, and is a very durable finish. The are tutorial and youtube videos on the procedure, least there was when I was making pens.
Thanks for the suggestion :) I don't have a lathe but I could put it on a drill press and potentially do the same thing could I not?
One thing I tried last night was to use honing compound on my test right to highly polish it. Don't do that lol. It turned the piece completely green. What kind of paste does one use once one has used all the fine grit sandpaper and wants to hit the wood with a polishing compound?
End grain is tricky. My feeling is that something as thin as a wood ring would be very fragile if done along the end grain, where the finger is parallel to the grain direction. A thin brass ring sandwiched inside the wood would give some support. You would still be gluing end grain to brass - doable, but somewhat challenging. I like the idea of using thin CA to stabilize the wood. A CA finish might hold it all together better, too.
Consider using side grain instead of end grain. When I first saw bowl blanks at the woodworking store, I was surprised to observe that they were cut from the side grain. They are not end grain cookies, sliced off from logs, as I expected. In essence, those bowl blanks are ordinary thick boards with the corners rounded off for convenience. It might be something to think about when you choose the wood for your ring.
The OP, @arvanlaar, has two separate threads going about the ring. The other thread is about gluing brass and wood together. The OP asked about finishes here. Other people have recommended a CA finish. Most people use ordinary CA glues as both adhesive and finish. I have done it myself many times.
I want to mention GluBoost Fill 'n' Finish products, which is CA designed to be used as a finish. It is not that special or different than other CAs, but the differences are enough to convince me. I switched to GluBoost CA finish for pens. Read the instructions carefully - they recommend putting the thin over the regular, which is not "standard." I switched to GluBoost because:
* GluBoost claims that their CA finish is flexible. Flexible is better - it is less likely to chip or crack in the future.
* It is easier to smooth out compared with other CAs that I have used. Ripples, waves, and other undesirable defects are less likely.
* The activator does not leave white spots or hazing. It stays clear. I tried to make it haze by performing a "heavy spray" test, but failed. Their claims are valid.
* I think that the GluBoost finish looks more sparkly and clear than other CA finishes. Maybe I am susceptible to their marketing hype, fooling myself just to rationalize the purchase, so take that for what it is worth. It certainly doesn't look worse than other CAs I have used for finish.
Rockler recently added GluBoost to their shelves. I decided to give it a try when I noticed it at my local store.
When arvanlaar is ready to apply a finish, I recommend attaching the ring to a slowly rotating tool to help apply and smooth the finish. He doesn't have a lathe. A drill press running at its slowest speed might work, but I would try to spin the ring in the vertical axis, not horizontal like a drill press. Do you have a benchtop drill press that you can rest on its side? I know someone who made an improvised lathe that way. (His friends and I pitched in and bought him a real lathe.)
An electric hand drill might work at a low speed. My hand drill has a switch for high and low speeds. Maybe a friend can hold the trigger on slow while you apply the finish. Don't even consider using a dremel tool.
Try it out on scrap first. When you are ready to do the real finish, keep in mind that if things go bad, you can always sand it and try again, but that is not best practice. The sanding scratches in the finish will disappear when you apply fresh finish, so don't panic.
Thanks for all your help Tool :)
I am going to test the ring again using the side brain this time and see if that works better :)
Why do you suggest having the ring spin on a vertical access and not a horizontal? I was trying to figure that out and couldn't understand the reason for that.
Also, I see wood turners using some sort of polishing compound as a fine grit final polish on the wood. Am I wrong in that and it is just a finish or is there a product like honing compond that can be used to do a super fine job of getting the wood to its final finish?
I think the suggestion for spinning the ring vertically is because that is how it is done on pen blanks on a lathe. You add layers of CA glue to build it up. To do that on a lathe, I use to have a piece blue paper shop towel that I squirted some CA on it and then applied it to the blank. Squirted some accelerator in it and repeated the process until I had a coating built up. Then I started the sanding and polishing process. Sanded the blank smooth with dry sandpaper then started going through the grits of "Micro-mesh" to work the finish to a smooth glass like shine. Finally, at a high speed on the lathe I polished it with "Hut Ultra Gloss Plastic Polish". There are other brands. It removes the fine scratches and yes I think you could relate it to honing compound that is liquid.... Some use Brasso polish.
I think you could do it in a horizontal position if you can clearly see what you are doing on the what would be the bottom/downard side of the ring blank. Been a long time since I have made a pen,, things may have changed by now and new products introduced.
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