The term “bentwood” refers to a traditional method in woodworking to form wood into curved shapes. A piece of wood is first steamed to the point it is pliable. It is then quickly bent and clamped into the desired shape using a form or template while it is allowed to dry and cool. Once it has dried, the wood will retain the shape of the form. This technique has been used for decades to create furniture and other wooden works of art. Another technique used to bend wood is called bent lamination. The process begins by cutting a piece of wood into multiple thin strips. Glue is then applied between each layer, creating a multiple layer “wood and glue sandwich”. While the glue is still wet, the “wood sandwich” is clamped into a curved form. Once the glue has dried and the piece is removed from the form, it will retain the desired curve. Both of these methods create extremely strong and elegant curves from an otherwise straight piece of wood.
Our Bentwood Rings are handcrafted using a combination of both of these traditional woodworking techniques. We start by steaming a thin piece of wood until it bends easily. The amount of steaming required will vary between wood species due to the differing characteristics of each species. Once the strip of wood is pliable, we quickly bend it around a form and clamp it in place. After it has dried and cooled, we are left with a loose spiral of wood that is ready to be formed into a ring. Next, we begin to slowly wrap the strip around another form. As we wrap around, overlapping it on itself, a strong adhesive is applied between each layer. This adhesive not only bonds the layers together, but it also soaks into the pores of the wood, adding even more strength as it hardens. The number of overlapping wraps will vary depending on the natural strength of each species of wood as well as the thickness of the strip. We typically try to keep the thickness of our rings to a minimum, as we find they wear more comfortably that way, while still maintaining the structural integrity of the ring.
Once the basic shape of the ring is crafted, we begin a meticulous sanding and shaping process which includes smoothing over the edges and bringing the ring to the desired width. At this point, if an inlay is to be applied, we hand cut the channel(s) around the circumference of the ring. The inlay is then set by hand into the channel(s). A final, multi-step smoothing process is then complete in preparation for the finish.
The finish we use is a hard, durable and waterproof acrylic finish. We apply between 10-15 thin layers of this finish to each ring, inside and out. These multiple thin layers allow us to create an extremely smooth finish, while enhancing and adding depth to the grain of the wood. After polishing your ring to a high gloss shine, the final step is to apply a natural buffing wax to add another layer of protection.
Even though our rings are made primarily out of wood, they are extremely strong. Three main factors play into the durability of Bentwood Rings. First, the way the grain of the wood wraps around the circumference of the ring. Orienting the wood in this fashion takes advantage of the natural strength of the wood, leaving no weak spots around the ring. A ring that was cut out, or drilled out of a block of wood, would have weak spots on opposite ends due to the grain of the wood flowing through the ring instead of around it. A ring made in this manner could easily be crushed just by squeezing it in your hands. You will need a vice or hammer to crush one of our Bentwood Rings. Second, the overlapping layers of the wood being bonded together add to the overall strength of the wood. Third, the adhesive used to bond the layer together. This adhesive soaks into the wood pores making each individual layer stronger. Unlike regular wood glues, this adhesive does not shrink as it dries, so when it soaks into the wood, it stays there. So the ring itself is extremely durable, but what about the finish? The finish is applied in multiple thin layers, to not only build up a protective layer over the ring, but also to bring out the beauty of the wood and add visual depth. The finish is also completely waterproof.
A little care will go a long way in preserving the beauty of your new Bentwood Ring. Although you are safe to expose your ring to water through washing your hands, showering, swimming, etc., removing your ring during these activities will help prolong the life of the finish. As with any finish, it will wear over time. Do NOT use hand sanitizer or other alcohol based product while wearing your ring. You should also removing your ring during any activities that may cause dings and scratches (using hand tools, weight lifting, juggling rocks, etc.). We can repair scratches in your ring, but we will not be able to complete repair heavy dings or dents. To help protect your ring and prolong the life of the finish, a container of natural buffing wax is included. The wax will act like a first line of defense for your new ring. Every few weeks or so, just apply a thin coat of wax, let it sit for 20-30 minutes, then buff with a clean cotton cloth.
If the finish on your ring does become worn, or has picked up some scratches along the way, we will happily refinish and polish it at no charge for the life of your ring. You will only be responsible for any applicable shipping charges.
I want you to be 100% happy with your bentwood ring. If you are not completely satisfied with your Heartwood Ring Designs purchase, you can return your ring in its original condition and with all packaging materials within 30 days of receipt for a full refund. You will only be responsible for return shipping charges. Our Bentwood Rings are extremely strong and durable due to the unique handcrafted method used in making them. If at any time your ring is damaged during normal use, I will either repair or replace it at no charge. You will only be responsible for shipping charges.
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