52 Create, my weekly creative project for 2011. While I spent a lot of time on various projects this past week, I really don’t have much to show for it. I had many issues with the projects that pushed back their finish timeline by days, weeks, or even ever in some cases. So with all the bad luck (or lack of planning), I was quite happy for this little project to turn out so well.
In the picture you can see my latest creation, a man’s ring out of Baltic Birch plywood. Why plywood? Well I honestly didn’t have much for wood in the shop this past week, and due to issues with grain in making wooden rings, plywood is actually a pretty good choice. I picked the wood mainly because I had many scraps of it lying around, but I was very impressed with the way it turned out.
Wood has grain that runs in one direction, and that means that on a ring, parts of it would be very weak if you only used one solid piece of wood. The solution to this would be to laminate two pieces together, keeping the grain at right angles. I meant to do this, but in one of my many screw-ups, I managed to glue them with the grain parallel, which doesn’t really help with the strength much… I then realized that Baltic Birch plywood is basically many thin layers of Birch that is laminated at right angles to each other, making a very strong piece of wood for a ring. The only issue is that the layers are so thin that the outer ones have a tendency to chip off if you aren’t careful.
How did I make it? well I took a scrap of wood, drilled out a hole with a forstner bit (3/4″ fit my finger), then I went to the bandsaw and cut a circle around the hole. Then I took the beginnings of a ring back to the drill press, put a bit of masking tape on the forstner bit to widen it a little, and then forced the ring onto the bit. Turned the drill press on and proceeded to sand it round. I made the bevel with an old round file I had. I then sanded it up to 600 grit, although I had a large gap between 220 and 600… but you work with what you’ve got, and new sandpaper wasn’t in the budget this week.
I’ve never been a ring kind of guy, but I really like this ring and the way it feels. I’ve been wearing it almost daily, and it’s incredibly light and comfortable. It’s amazing how thin it is and yet is still strong (it’s less than 2mm at it’s thickest). When you hold it up to sunlight you can actually see light through the wood. I haven’t finished it yet, so I’ve been very careful not to soak it. I’ve read that Cyanoacrylate is the way to go for a durable waterproof finish. While this was only meant to be a trial run with scrap wood, I’m extremely pleased with how it went, and will try a few more out of Baltic Birch. I do now have a small piece of walnut and maple that I’ve laminated together, so I might post another version of the ring for next week, we’ll see.
My other 52 Create Projects