How to make a Bentwood Ring

April 18, 2024 7 min read

How to make a Bentwood Ring

Ring Making Supplies you will Need:

  • Wood Veneer
  • Hot Water
  • CA Glue
  • Wood Lathe or Equivalent
  • Sand paper
  • Painters Tape
  • Kraft Knife or Paper Cutter (to cut veneer with)
  • Isopropyl Alcohol or Denatured Alcohol

Ring Making Equipment that will make it easier

  • Bentwood Ring Makers Kit
  • Slow Speed Ring Turner
    • Mandrels and Chuck for SSRT
  • Carbide Wood Turning Tools

How to Bend Wood Veneer

Cut your wood veneer into half-inch strips. Taper the veneer strip on at least one end. Sandpaper works great; just ensure that the taper is about one inch long and the tip is quite thin. Next, soak the veneer strip in very hot water. After 5-30 minutes, depending on the wood species, remove the veneer strip and begin coiling. If you're using one of our Bentwood Ring Maker Kits, the coiling tool will come in handy here. Place the tapered end into the slot on the tool and carefully begin rolling the veneer over itself. Once you're near completing your first revolution, ensure that the taper is still in the slot and won't interfere as you continue. Once you're past the first revolution, use continuous pressure on the tool and slowly roll it the entire length of the veneer strip.

Bentwood RIng Makers Tool Kit | Bentwood Ring SuppliesBentwood RIng Makers Tool Kit | Bentwood Ring Supplies
Bentwood RIng Makers Tool Kit | Bentwood Ring SuppliesBentwood RIng Makers Tool Kit | Bentwood Ring Supplies

If you don't have our Bentwood Ring Maker Toolkit, many people use a 3/4" socket or something similar.

Once you're done coiling the blank, you need to secure it. Allow the veneer to loosen just a little bit and then secure it with painters tape wrapped around the outside. Hook and Loop is great for this as well, and it's reusable.

Let your blank dry for at least 24 hours before removing the tape.

How to Size Coiled Veneer

Once your veneer is dry and the tape is removed, you should be left with a spring-like piece of veneer. If you are not using a core, all you need to do to size your ring is to wind it up by twisting the inside and outside in opposite directions. This can be a little difficult depending on the type of wood and how small of a ring you're making.

Now, you'll want to get very close to your target size before putting the blank over one of our Bentwood Ring Sizing Forms (or whatever you have on-hand that's close to your target size). Once it's over the form, place the blank on a flat surface and roll the blank + form away from you. Keep rolling it over and over again until the blank has tightened over the form. Once it's as tight as you can get it, you can tape the outside of the blank. A few revolutions of painters tape should do the trick; make sure to leave a bit of the tape overlapping each edge.


How to Size a Core (Celluloid or Wood)

Sizing a core is practically the same process but it may be a different type of material. If you ordered one of our celluloid cores, we sent it to you oversized. You will need to remove material with scissors little by little to get it where you want it. This takes practice. If you are using a wooden core, it's a bit easier. You're basically just making another bentwood ring blank and using less of it.

If you have one of our Bentwood Ring Maker Kits, you can size the cores around one of the forms, mark the overlap, and cut it off.

How to Glue Blanks :: Be Sure to Do This Over a Surface That Can Get Glue

Once your cores and coils are the size you want them, it's time to glue up.

Remember how you taped the blank to hold its size? Now you'll want to use some thin CA glue and carefully apply a small amount of glue onto the edge of the blank. It will spread very quickly and soak into the wood. Do this all around the edge of the coil. Some glue may soak through the bottom of the blank; this is fine. After you've applied your glue, let it cure. Repeat the same process from the other side of the blank. After applying twice and letting the glue cure, your blank should be completely stabilized. Add more until you are satisfied. You can now remove the tape. If at any point you see any wetness or feel any heat coming off of your blank, you will know that it is not fully cured.

How to Prep Blanks After Glue

Pull the tape off as best you can; you can turn or sand the rest off later (if you are shaping your ring on a wood lathe).

Making Your Own Mandrel on a Wood Lathe

I like to take a 1x1 inch (or larger if you don't have one) piece of wood and turn it between centers. Taper it from the left to the right until it's thin enough to place your ring blank over. Place your ring blank over it and then put it back between centers on your lathe. Once you fit the ring blank tightly, you can start shaping it.

Shaping Your Bentwood Ring Blank

At this point, I like to cut away the edges and bring the blank closer to its final width. Make sure to re-seat the blank once you cut away material from the left-hand side. Now you'll want to round the blank; there may be a ridge on your blank where the veneer ends. Make sure it's spinning with the ridge facing away from your tool. If you don't and your tool bites the ridge, your blank could suffer. Sharpen your tools, take small cuts, have fun. At this point, it's all up to you. Your blank is ready to shape, sand, inlay, etc. You can do this on your Lathe, by Hand, or whatever your preferred method may be.

Shaping the Inside of Your Bentwood Ring Blank

This can be one of the toughest parts of this process. Luckily, we have some tools available to help. (See: Ring Maker Finger Savers or Ring Making Jaws)

Once the outside of your ring is shaped, you'll want to clean up the inside too. Put your ring inside our ring maker finger saver, ring jaws, or other work holding device and very carefully sand the inside to the profile you desire. Rotate the ring as many times as you need to ensure that the profile is equal on both sides. Try not to remove too much material; too much and you'll have trouble keeping your ring near your target size.

Preparing to Add a Finish to Your Bentwood Ring

Now that you're done shaping your ring (I recommend stopping sanding at around 400 grit so that your finish has plenty of rough surface to adhere to.)

You'll need to apply a finish. The most common finish for this type of ring is a CA finish. Cyanoacrylate or CA Glue is basically just Super Glue. There are several brands out there that work very well for this kind of thing but I prefer to use Mercury Adhesives.

I'll be explaining the finishing process I prefer to use, which involves the use of our Slow Speed Ring Turner.

The SSRT spins at 5rpm or 10rpm depending on the model. The first thing I recommend you do before beginning this process is to clean your bentwood ring. Use Isopropyl Alcohol or Denatured Alcohol and wipe down the blank to remove any oil or dust.

Finally, wrap your ring mandrel that came with the SSRT with PTFE Tape / Plumbers Tape. This is the best way I've found to make sure any accidents with the CA glue don't result in your ring being glued to the mandrel.

Thin CA  - 2oz - MERCURY ADHESIVESBentwood Ring Supplies

Finish Application on the Interior

The first thing I like to do is add a finish to the edges of the bentwood ring. Use a bottle cap or something plastic that is wide enough for a puddle of CA glue and your ring. Put some glue in the cap and then dunk the edges of the ring into it.

Repeat at least twice.

Once both sides are done, you're ready to apply a finish to the inside of your ring. Use the Chuck that came with the SSRT to hold the ring from the outside. Now turn on the unit and very carefully add a few drops of thin CA to the inside of your ring while spinning. You'll see that the CA will fill the space. Let each coat cure and then add more as needed until you have a thick coating. (You'll learn how thick is too thick as you practice)

The coating should have overlapped a bit of the edge glue up that you did first. This is ideal.

TEAL - Slow Speed Ring Turner-10RPM | Bentwood Ring Supplies

Finish Application on the Exterior

Once your mandrel is wrapped, place your ring on it and then put it on the Slow Speed Ring Turner. Start the machine and very carefully apply small drops to the outside of the ring. You're getting the idea here. Add as much as you feel like you need to in thin coats, allowing for each coating to cure before the next one.

Be very careful during application so that you don't spill glue onto the ring mandrel. In a worst-case scenario, you'll glue the ring to the mandrel and that's a difficult situation to get out of.

 TEAL - Slow Speed Ring Turner-10RPM | Bentwood Ring Supplies


Final Shaping

Now that your finish is applied, all you have left to do is sand and shape the ring one last time. Try not to be aggressive; the SSRT should have kept too many lumps or uneven finish from happening. You just need to smooth everything out and double-check the size of the ring often during the process. Work up through the higher grits of sandpaper (I recommend Zona Polishing Paper) and once you're very close to your target size on the interior, it's time for polish.

Time for Polish

Polishing CA glue is something you have to learn how to be good at. If you don't spend enough time on sanding through each grit of sandpaper/polishing paper, you could end up with a less than ideal final polish. So make sure to take your time and try to mesh that up well with your target ring size. This could take some practice.

There are a few different polishes that Ring Makers out there use but one of the most accessible ones is called Meguier's Plastic X. This is a plastic polish primarily used for automotive and it works just great. Put some on a paper towel and polish until it's shiny on the inside and the outside.


With all the steps laid out, you're now equipped to embark on your own bentwood ring-making journey. From bending veneer to perfecting the final polish, you've learned the skills needed to create unique and striking pieces. So, go ahead and dive into the craft, confident in your ability to produce rings that reflect your individual style and craftsmanship. Enjoy the process, and may your creations inspire awe and admiration!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.