Grain Direction For Ring Making

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Besides changing the species of wood used in a laminated ring, you can also play with the grain direction. Two rings that are made from the same exact lamination can have very different looks if the grain direction is done well. There are a few ways to do this, and each of them creates a nice look.

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Grain Direction Methods:

  • Perpendicular Grain
  • Hiding the Grain
  • Mirror Grain

grain directionOne of my favorite techniques for using the grain to my advantage in ring making is to create a perpendicular grain pattern.

In this ring, the Cocobolo in the middle has the grain running perpendicular to the Bocote on the faces. This makes for a much more interesting look than if the grain was running in the same direction.

Look for a piece of wood that has a nice even grain pattern, and use it for the center of your lamination. Face it with a couple pieces where the grain is more flat, and it will frame in the vertical grain very well. This combination of Bocote and Cocobolo is one of my all time favorites in a laminated ring.

Using grain direction to your advantage increases your ability to produce great looking rings. Instead of needing more wood, you can make the wood you already have do more.

grain directionNext, you can hide the grain. This technique involves selecting and preparing the blank to make it look like one piece. It does take time to select and place the pieces, but the payoff is worth it.

On this ring, the Mahogany looks like one piece that has been inlaid with two fine lines. In reality, it’s three pieces of Mahogany with two layers of Birch veneer. Arranging the grain so that it looks like one piece creates a nice illusion when looking at the ring.

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This can be done with almost any species of wood that has some variation on color and grain. Simply cut several pieces for the blank, and play around with them. Once you create a stack that hides the grain, you are ready to glue the whole pile together and make a ring.

Be careful as you stack the pieces again with glue. It can be easy to forget the order. If you take care to apply glue and transfer them correctly, you will preserve the look.

Arrange the Wood for a Specific Look

grain direction

Lastly, you can arrange the wood so that the grain shows a mirror pattern on the faces. This adds interest to the ring, and is a better looking lamination.

On this ring, the Wenge is mirror matched around the Bubinga. Both pieces have angled grain, so they appear to be running into the center Bubinga area.

Before gluing the pieces together, simply look for opportunities like this, and your laminated rings will come out looking much nicer. A simple flip of one Wenge face made all the difference.

If you would like step by step direction for making wooden rings, my book can help. I wrote Wooden Rings: How To Make Wooden Rings By Hand

for the beginning woodworker, and explain the process using very few tools. There are over 50 example rings, and instructions that are easy to follow.

If you have any questions on Grain Direction When Making Wooden Rings, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please Subscribe so that you don’t miss anything new on the site. Happy building.

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  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
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