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10+ Unique Men’s Rings: Interview with Wedgewood Rings

Have you ever wondered what process your ring goes through before it gets to you? How do they achieve that ring to perfection appeal? Let’s get our questions answered by an expert in the field. Let us learn from the experiences of a ring maker.

Interview with Steven Wyatt from WedgewoodRings.com

Thank you, Steven Wyatt, for this amazing insight into your company!

When did your love for wood and natural materials start?

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I’ve always been that kid who walks with his head down.  Maybe an observer thought I had some self-confidence issues.  Actually, I was continuously scanning the ground for interesting looking rocks.  Looking back, I can see clearly that this tendency was the cradle in which my obsession with woods grew.  I didn’t just want to collect an interesting rock.  I very specifically wanted to bash the rock open to see what it looked like inside – or tumble it to see what it looked like polished.  It is exactly the same as wood.  Most woods (especially when you consider them as a tree) are unremarkable until they are milled, sanded, and finished.  My work making wood rings is just an extension of my tendency to smash rocks.

When did you decide to make your business out of it?

At first, there was absolutely no intention to make a business out of the woodwork.  I was in academia, very far into my Ph.D. work when I got married.  Like many people, I am sensitive to nickel-alloy metals.  Most precious metal rings, unless specifically made without nickel or very pure are not an option for me.  I opted to purchase a wood and titanium ring from an Etsy seller (who remains a very prominent maker of wooden rings).  I soon found it to be of poor quality and not at all durable.  I simply thought I could do better.

The reader should be thinking “you are working on your Ph.D., surely you do not have time to take up the entire craft of woodworking!”  And the reader would be quite correct!  Because I spent a great deal of time holed up in my woodshop, my dissertation proceeded very slowly.  I decided to list a few rings on Etsy. Not because I wanted to start a business.  Just to fund the purchase of more exotic woods.  Business boomed.  It very quickly became obvious that I would be happier as a woodworker than I would be in academia.

How long does it generally take to create a new ring

Most people don’t consider that the ring business is very seasonal. There is an engagement season (winter, the holidays) and a wedding season (spring, summer). Then in between, you have some orders for promise rings and or couples that want the same style of ring. Because my rings are considered by most to be wedding rings, I am most busy in the spring. During that time, rings take 4-5 weeks to ship.  It actually takes much less hands-on time to make a ring.  However, because I am using natural materials, a certain amount of leeway is necessary in case something goes wrong, or in case the finished product does not meet my standards. Wood can be fickle – a good looking stock might not result in an extraordinary ring. If it isn’t extraordinary, I don’t ship it. I’d rather remake.  But it is important to me to never ship late- hence the long wait times.

What is the process?

There are many steps in the process I won’t discuss in detail.  When it comes to wood rings, the competition is surprisingly fierce!  Durability is the number one issue (or should be, anyway) when it comes to creating these.  There is a continuous game of catching up when it comes to design, production methods, and finishing.  I could go on and on regarding this topic, but I’ll bet it isn’t interesting to most readers.

In general, the process goes:

  1. Wood selection.  This is surprisingly tough.  You want to produce a ring that looks as close to the pictures as possible, of course.  But wood, especially rosewoods and burls, can vary wildly inch by inch.
  2. Depending on the style (wood interior or wood exterior) the wood is drilled to fit the metal sleeve.  It needs to be drilled either too large (wood interior ring) or too small (wood exterior ring) so that once the finish is applied, then it is the right size.  Tricky.
  3. The wood is hand-turned on a lathe to fit the metal.  It is important that they are barely able to accommodate each other, as tension is a key factor keeping the two permanently mated.
  4. The other factor is comically and dangerously powerful epoxy adhesives.  These are not the type that can be found in a local hardware store.  The epoxies I use are specially produced for mating woods as well a woods/metals.  They are mostly used for boat building.  They require very special conditions to cure.
  5. The now assembled ring is shaped and sanded until it is ready for its final protective coat of epoxy resin.
  6. All bumps scratches and swirls that inevitably come up in the process are polished out, leaving a finish with the appearance (and just about the hardness) of glass.

What is your next goal with your business?

It would be great to get my other business (Firefly Rings) going a bit more.  It’s a very straightforward arrangement.  I purchase (custom created) rings at wholesale volume from a jewelry manufacturer, I am able to offer conventional men’s engagement rings at nearly that similar price. It is a very good deal for the buyer. You can have the exact same quality ring as a big box jewelry store for a fraction of the price.

Besides Firefly, I am constantly working on new styles of wooden rings.  Just a few weeks ago, I would have said my goal would be to produce wood interior, metal exterior rings with stone inlays.  But I’ve managed to do that!  Similarly, I have recently developed wood interior rings with channels cut into the metal, such that the wood can be seen from the outside as well. It’s very exciting.

What would be your ultimate Ring to Perfection if you had no limitations?

I love using wood with personal significance. I have made rings out of barn beams, wood from family farms, a beloved skateboard, and many others.  Some of my most popular rings are made using used whiskey barrels.  People contact their favorite distilleries and send me used staves, it’s great!

Along those lines, if I had no limitations, I would love to use some truly historic woods. How about wood from the Resolute Desk (the President’s desk in the Oval Office, for those who haven’t enjoyed the fine cinema of Nicholas Cage in National Treasure). How about an actual moon rock?  Meteors are old-hat (and they rust!)

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10.  Diamond Inlay Black Zirconium Wood Ring Lined with Ancient Russian Bog Oa

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USS North Carolina Deck Teak and Cobalt Wood Ring – Price: $345 – Get it via Etsy

This ring is a play on a theme – process and change.  The wood used in this ring is over 5,000 years old.  The wood fell into a bog all those years ago and sunk.  In the absence of oxygen, the wood did not rot but mineralized.  It’s the very beginning of fossilization. However, after a process involving very high temperatures and time, an oxide layer is produced, which is nearly black.  The diamond, of course, is produced by compression, heat, and time.  I’m not usually this pretentious, I swear.

9. USS North Carolina Deck Teak and Cobalt Wood Ring

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USS North Carolina Deck Teak and Cobalt Wood Ring – Price: $345 – Get it via Etsy

The wood used in this ring, despite being fairly plain in appearance, has such an interesting history.  It is the original deck teak from the USS North Carolina, the most highly decorated ship in WWII.  When it was decommissioned and converted into a museum, the deck was replaced.  Local wood shops bought up most of the material, which is how I came upon it.

8. Handmade Twisted Damascus Steel and California Redwood Burl Wooden Ring

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Damascus Steel and Wood Ring – California Redwood Burl Wood Ring Damascus Steel Ring – Price: $475 – Get it via Etsy

This is one of two varieties of handmade Damascus steel I offer. These are made in small batches and shaped specifically for my use.  The wood is one of my most popular choices – Redwood Burl from Northern California.

7. Kingwood and Cobalt Ring

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Kingwood and Cobalt Ring – Price: $415 – Get it via Etsy

This ring is an unbelievable pain to make. It pretty much required every skill I have in my repertoire to produce.  But it was always a goal to make a ring with a wood interior and exterior.  Kingwood is a true rosewood, mostly from Mexico.  It is a fantastic material to work with.

6. Black Ceramic Wood Ring with Exhibition Grade Hawaiian Koa

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Black Ceramic Ring with Exhibition Grade Hawaiian Koa – Price: $345 – Get it via Etsy

This black ceramic is a pretty interesting material.  It is utterly scratch proof and solid black all the way through. It is also surprisingly heavy and more metallic in its various properties. The wood is the star here, though.  Koa is probably the most common type of wood ring out there.   But I only use high altitude, old-growth (80+ year) material that displays the most “curl.”  That is, it has the shimmer of a gem. This is why it is “Exhibition Grade,” the best of the best.

5. Damascus Titanium Mokume-Ti Ring

Steel Wood Engagement Wedding Ring For Men
Damascus Titanium Mokume-Ti Ring – Price: $315.00 – Get it via Etsy

This ring is paired with a very special kind of Damascus steel, which is made in small (far too small, in my opinion) batches and handmade just for me by an artisan in Colorado.  Because of the work-intensity of making this ring, I am limited to only a few per month.

4. Cobalt Mokume-gane Whiskey Barrel Oak Wooden Ring

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Cobalt Mokume-gane Whiskey Barrel Oak Wooden Ring – Price: $345 – Get it via Etsy

This is a recent addition to my shop.  Mokume-gane (the central portion of the ring) isn’t well suited for wooden rings in general. It took a visit to my jeweler to work out how to make it durable enough to be the exterior of one of my rings.  Wrap it in cobalt!

This ring is very expensive to produce, so I haven’t yet had the opportunity to make this ring with anything other than whiskey barrel oak.  The ring pictured is made from The Yamazaki (a Japanese whiskey) wood.

3. Black Zirconium and Amboyna Burl (heartwood/sapwood) Wood Ring

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Black Zirconium Wood Ring Lined with Amboyna Burl Heartwood and Sapwood – Price: $345 – Get it via Etsy

Amboyna burl is one of those ultra-luxurious items – the wood equivalent of caviar or foie gras (No geese are harmed in the production of my rings).  It is the rarest burl in the world.  This ring is designed to feature both the red heartwood and the pale sapwood.  It tickles me that the exterior is so stark and the interior is so warm and dynamic.

2. Cobalt and Arizona Desert Ironwood Burl Wooden Ring

Popular Mens Wedding Bands And Rings
Cobalt Wooden Ring Lined with Arizona Desert Ironwood Burl – Price: $345 – Get it via Etsy

Arizona Desert Ironwood Burl is my favorite wood, and Cobalt is my favorite ring material.  The wood is extremely dynamic, colorful, heavy, and durable. It’s pretty much the ideal material.  It is also rare, expensive and limited on the world market!  The cobalt alloy used in my rings is specifically made to have the appearance of white gold with many times the durability.

1. Hawaiian Koa Gold and Wood Ring

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Hawaiian Koa Gold and Wood Ring – Price: $900.00+ – Get it via Etsy

I simply have to make this number 1. It isn’t the most flashy, but I love working with used materials.  It is one of my most popular styles.  So popular, in fact, that customers will contact their favorite distillery and have wood sent for my use. I am also a whiskey fan, so that doesn’t hurt either and it is a truly unique gift for a wedding.

Thank you, Steven Wyatt, for this amazing insight into your company! For more of his beautiful rings follow him on Instagram or check out our other post on unique Men’s Wedding Bands with a lot of Wedgewood’s products! Which one is your favorite?

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