On the Durability of a Wooden Ring / by Steven Wyatt

The single most common inquiry I receive is regarding the durability of a wooden ring. Will it stand the test of time? Will I have to get it repaired/refinished/replaced within five years?

I say without ego (I hope you believe) that I make the most durable rings with wood components available - made anywhere, by anyone.  I will stand by that without hesitation, based on the effort, care, and testing that has gone into employing the adhesives and finishes for my wooden rings.  These are a combination of epoxies that are advanced well beyond the readily available and easily employed consumer grade ones to be found at a hardware store. More specifically they are proprietary blend used in the construction of hot tubs. They take special techniques and conditions to cure fully.  Once cured they are stronger by far than the wood they used to protect.  There simply aren’t stronger adhesives and finishes out there.

The resulting surface is clear as glass and is similar to that on a boat or car. It can be expected to endure similar conditions.

They are made to withstand daily wear. That said, no ring with a wooden component can withstand outright abuse.  No matter how hard the epoxy finish, it can be damaged mechanically - scraped, cut, chipped etc. When the epoxy finish on the wooden ring is compromised, the wood is vulnerable to warping and other damage relating to moisture, oils, and the various nasty things hands come into daily contact with. Therefore, though all of the wood I use is dried and dimensionally stable and does not have a tendency to warp or change shape, this does not mean you can abuse it indefinitely and expect it to last forever.

Put another way: you don’t need to wear my rings carefully, but you do have to wear them consciously. I recommend taking the wooden ring off during any strenuous activities such as landscaping, moving heavy and rough objects, rock climbing, weight lifting, etc., as it may not be able to withstand such trauma. My rings have been tested and found able to withstand exposure to common solvents such a chlorine and hand sanitizer.  However, I cannot recommend excessive exposure to these, as it is possible that it can wear down the finish of these wooden rings over the very long term.  

Some customers elect to buy a companion ring.  If, for example, they work with their hands for a living and understand that a truck mechanic should probably not wear a wooden ring while elbow deep in things that scrape, bash, and cut, they have a solid cobalt ring they wear to work and a wood-lined version for other times. If you decide that your lifestyle is just not fit for a wooden ring, I do sell solid metal rings:

http://www.fireflyrings.com

To customers who are self-described as hard on their hands who do not want to wear a stand-in for those occasions, I cannot recommend a ring with a wooden component at all.

If you are deciding on a ring with a wooden component, the wood you choose can have a slight effect on the durability of your ring. In general, rosewoods such as Cocobolo and ironwoods such as Arizona Desert Ironwood Burl are much sturdier than woods such as Buckeye Burl and Spalted Tamarind. However, as long as the finish of your wooden ring remains intact, they are all almost equally durable.

If you would like to move forward and ensure that you choose the most durable wooden ring, check out this blog post where I have a comparison of durability of the metals I offer:

http://www.wedgewoodrings.com/blog/2016/1/18/comparing-metals-for-wood-rings