This is how to protect your rings from blowout. When you drill the ring, the entrance is not that big of a concern, it’s the exit. As the bit exits the ring blank, it can blast off wood fibers from the back side. To prevent this, all you need is a little scrap.
Drilling Rings for Finger Openings
Most of the time, wooden ring makers drill their rings on the drill press. Sometimes they drill by hand, but most of the time it’s on the press.
Due to the nature of the finger openings, the drills that are used are fairly large.
When you have a drill like this exiting a piece of wood, it brings a lot of force with it. Especially is you are driving it with some force yourself. When the drill suddenly loses all resistance, it can blow out the fibers on the back side.
When this happens, you might be able to salvage the ring. However, you may not, and that’s a waste of time. Here is what you do instead…
Using a Scrap When Drilling Your Wooden Rings
The big difference between blowing out the back of the ring and making clean exit is having a scrap under the ring blank. Make sure to cover the entire bottom of the blank, and clamp the pieces to the drill press table firmly.
Part of the success of this technique is making the drill think the two pieces are actually one piece of wood. This is done by pressure, and when the blank and the scrap are held together really tightly, the drill behaves differently.
A drill in this situation will exit the blank cleanly, and enter the scrap cleanly. This means less blow outs, and more usable ring blanks. Drill until you can see the color from the scrap wood come out of the top of your blank, and you know you are deep enough.
Reduce Your Pressure Slightly
Another thing that you can to do help prevent blow outs as you drill your rings is to reduce your pressure as you exit the blank. The power of a drill press is significant, and sometimes you tend to press to hard when you drill.
I think this just happens, because we are used to the drill just eating through the material. If you maintain a high pressure the entire time you are drilling, you can cause the blank and the scrap to come apart slightly as the drill passes through the boundary, and that can cause blow outs.
Instead, as you think you are coming close to the border between the pieces, reduce your pressure a little. Allow the drill to do the work, and raise it up a little every so often to clear the chips. This will let you sneak up on the boundary between the pieces without causing any problems.
Your homework is to try drilling with a scrap under your blank. It’s easy, and you can use just about any scrap you have in the shop. I recommend using a scrap that is a different color than your ring, this way you can stop when you see the chips.
Make sure that when you are drilling several holes in the same blank that the scrap under it has full coverage around here the hole will be. If you use the same scrap all the time, it can develop low spots, and if the back of the blank is not fully covered, it can still blow out.
Clamp the pieces together really well when you drill, and the drill bit will think that the pieces are the same board. The exit from the blank and the entrance into the scrap will be seamless, and you will end up with more usable ring blanks.
See Also: 35 Important Tips on How to Make a Ring
How to Protect Your Rings From Blowout Wrap-Up
Drilling the finger opening on a wooden ring involves a large bit, and the chance for blowing out the rear of the blank is very high. When the bit exits the piece, it can break off large pieces of the blank, and cause damage.
When this happens, it can cause the ring blank to be unusable. All the time and effort spend making the blank, selecting the pieces, and making a good joint are gone. In a blink, the ring becomes trash, and you have to start again.
Instead, place a scrap below you ring blank on the drill press, and clamp them together tightly to the table top. Now, drill the ring as normal, and when you come to the junction between the pieces, lay off the pressure a little to break through.
Using this method, you will have far less blow outs and far more usable rings.
Additional Information About Westfarthing Woodworks
You can see them on my Available Books Page, and they cover several different woodworking disciplines.
My Wooden Ring Making Book shows you the step by step process for making several styles of wooden ring, and it’s a great place to start if you don’t have a lot of tools.
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