“Rings are thin. Will my wooden ring break?”
“What happens if I get my ring wet?”
Those are two of the most common questions people ask about my wooden rings. They are really important questions too. If you are going to spend good money on a ring you want to know that it will last. That is doubly true if the ring is for a special occasion, like an engagement, wedding or 5th anniversary.
The strength of wood is in the long fibres that run vertically along the trunk. Rings made by simply cutting a ring shape out of a piece of wood will always have at least two weak spots where the end grain is exposed. A ring made in that way will be liable to snap under pressure. Sure, it can be strengthened by setting it in resin, but by that point you are starting to get away from the ‘natural’ vibe that probably drew you to a wooden ring in the first place.
My rings are made from thin slivers of wood, known as veneer, that I soften in steam or hot water before rolling them up tightly and glueing them in place. The steam softens the lignin (the hard part of the wood) so it can be rolled. Once it has cooled the lignin will be ‘set’ in the new shape. In practice this produces a wooden ring where the strength runs around the ring with no weak spots. For good measure I then stabilise the ring with a natural oil and resin mix.
At that point the ring is already quite waterproof. I then work on the decoration for the ring, before giving it a final protective coat of either wax or a type of super glue. The wax gives a ring a natural look while the super glue adds a glossy shine.
To test how waterproof my rings are I made four identical rings. I left one in just the initial stabilised state. To a second I added a polish, the third got a penetrating wax coating and the final one got a full super glue coating.
I put the rings in a glass of warm water for 24 hours and here are the results.
After a day soaking the first two rings looked like this:
Both have kept the integrity of their shape and not unravelled, thanks to the special treatment of penetrating natural oil and resin. However, the ring on the left, with no other protective coating, has developed a white coating. I can sand that off but it doesn’t look good. With a little protective polish the ring on the right has fared much better but still shows signs of water damage. Remember, this is after a whole day in water, which I hope is way more time than you will ever accidentally immerse your ring!
The final two rings did much better. Here is how they looked after a day soaking in the glass…
The waxed one on the left did show some signs of whitening, but much more superficial than the earlier two rings. The super glue ring came out just as it had gone in: shiny and ready for action!
So, to sum up. One of my rings, made with care, will last you a long, long time if you look after it. A little polish or wax now and then, and a common sense approach to water should be all you need to keep it looking great. And if, after a while, it looks a little tired, (or if you accidentally leave it in a glass of water overnight!) you can always send it back to me for a refurb.