How to Carve Wooden Finger Rings

Written by ian brown
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How to Carve Wooden Finger Rings
Wooden rings can be made into all shapes and sizes (artesanía en madera anillos image by Yolanda Santiago from

A carved finger ring can not only be a beautiful piece of jewellery but can also serve as a topic of conversation. A wooden ring can be strong, durable and last for many years. However, selection of timber is of utmost importance as only a few timbers have the strength to be worked this way. Even then, grain structure and imperfections have to be taken into consideration. Desired width and thickness of the ring also affect selection of blank. Ebony, rosewood, purpleheart and Lignum vitae are ideal wood varieties to use for ring construction.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Drill and drill bits
  • Small carving chisels
  • Abrasive papers
  • Abrasive block
  • Needle files
  • Varnish or polish
  • Wood blank
  • Vice
  • Dowel rod
  • Coping saw

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  1. 1

    Secure the timber blank horizontally in the vice. Mark and drill a pilot hole through the centre of the blank using a drill and drill bit before drilling a finger-sized hole through the blank. Smooth the internal surface of the ring by wrapping abrasive paper around dowel rod and rotating the rod around the hole.

  2. 2

    Re-position the wood vertically in the vice with the wood grain running vertically. Carefully cut off excess waste wood using a coping saw, resisting excessive pressure across the wood, to create a rough outside edge to the ring. Remove from vice.

  3. 3

    Level the two edges of the ring. Hold the ring between thumb and forefinger and rub the ring backwards and forwards across the abrasive block to create two flat surfaces. Round off the two corners between internal surface and ring edges with abrasive paper to create a smooth transition from inside to outside of ring.

  1. 1

    Pare off any unnecessary corners on the external surface of the ring using a chisel, to produce a more accurate shape. Smooth to the required shape using coarse grade abrasive paper.

  2. 2

    Secure the ring vertically in the vice, protecting the edges with scrap wood or thick card. Do not over tighten. Holding the carving chisel in both hands carve the design on the ring, rotating the ring in the vice if necessary. Apply light pressure along the ring surface avoiding pressure across it when carving.

  3. 3

    Remove from vice. Add more intricate design by hand-holding the ring and shaping it using needle files.

  4. 4

    Smooth off using fine grade abrasive papers. Hang ring by cotton thread to apply polish or varnish to protect the ring.

Tips and warnings

  • Use very sharp tools to reduce possibility of breaking the ring while working it.
  • Additional coats of varnish will add strength to your ring and protect it from liquids..
  • Breaking the ring is a possible consequence during shaping; be aware of its weakest grain structure and avoid pressure across that weakness.
  • Do not immerse ring in water.

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