Best Wood Lathe Captive Ring Tool | Technique How to Use It | DIY

Wood Lathe Captive Ring Tool

General Description

Have you ever thought about adding a ring to your wood work? Or creating a baby rattle? Also rings look cool on goblets and bottle stoppers. If so, then you know that to create a ring is not a simple task. Spindle gouge, forming tool, skew chisel are good tools but it takes a lot of efforts to create rings with these tools. To solve this problem, you need the captive ring tool. It has the small double-sided half-circled cutting tip on the flat shank. The cutting tip can be either one piece or fixed by the screw. The using of the screw means that cutting tips are interchangeable. The common sizes are 3/16” (5mm), 1/4mm” (6mm), 3/8” (10mm) and 1/2” (13mm). You can buy a captive ring tool here.

Purposes of the Captive Ring Tool and How to Use It to Fulfil These Purposes

The captive ring tool actually serves only one purpose–to create captive rings. Below you’ll find the description of how to turn one.

Sharpening the Tool

First of all, you need to sharpen the tool. Use a honing stone or a diamond file to sharpen both the top and bottom face of the cutter.

Turning a Captive Ring

Creating a Bead

As you might have guessed you can’t just present the captive ring tool to the spindle and make a ring. First, you need to create a bead. For this purpose, you will need some other tools. You can either use a specific one like a beading tool, or use a parting tool. If you are going to use a parting tool, it is recommended to make shoulders to both sides of the bead, so you could insert the captive ring tool to finish the job. The shoulder width from the bead is supposed to be twice that of the width of the bead. As you gain experience you can narrow the gaps.

Use the pencil to mark places where the parting tool will be applied. That means that between these marks your captive ring is produced. Then present the parting tool and make two deep and wide gaps, the deeper you go the more freely the ring will flip around stem. This way you get plenty of room to work on the ring.

Now it is time to use the spindle gouge and round the edges of the bead. You need to be careful and make edges even because after you separate the bead from the spindle it will be almost impossible to fix the form of the bead. You might use a sand paper to get the perfect bead.

Separating the Bead from the Spindle

Finally, you can put your captive ring tool to work. Present the tool to the spindle and start to undercut with the scraping motion. Then do it on the other side. Repeat it several times. When you switch to the other side do not just quickly pull away the cutting tip but instead slowly move it away against the shoulder. Slowly present, slowly turn away, that’s the rule. This will save your ring from breaking. When you’re nearly through you can sand the inner side of the bead before you separate it from the spindle. All in all, finish and sand the bead before separating it from the spindle.

By the way, if you’re a novice in making captive rings, it is recommended to use the tool with bigger radius to avoid grooves at the top of the bead and catches in general.

Slowly continue with undercutting and constantly check whether the bead comes off or not to avoid breaking it. When the sound pitch changes you hit the spot. The bead is starting to come off. Gently finish the work and separate the bead from the spindle. Now your ring is free. All you need to do is to sand the inside of the ring. The only way to do it is to attach the sand paper on the shaft under the ring, launch the lathe on very slow speed, and slowly move the ring from left to right.

And that’s how you make a captive ring.

Useful Videos

How to Turn a Captive Ring


See more about wood lathe tools here:  Wood gouge technique,  parting tools,  texturing tools,  hollowing toolsforming toolsbeading tools, chatter toolsspiralling toolsskew chisels & scraper tools.

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