Project:Captive Ring Turning

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Captive Ring Baby Rattle

Captive rings 16.jpg
Status: done
Release Date: March 2019
Initiator: Lukas
Materials Used: wood (apple log, self-dried), beeswax
Tools Used: wood lathe,
woodturning tools:
Approx. Cost: next to nothing

Turning "captive rings" is a tricky technique, but tried by many woodturners at some point.

I taught myself how to do it in order to make a one-piece rattle for some awesome babies!


  • hard wood
  • patience
  • shape & sand as much as you can before "freeing" the ring
  • cut the ring at spindle height or it may break at the last moment [1]
  • expect some burn marks

Choosing the Material

You'll need especially even-grained and dense wood for this project or the rings are prone to breaking.

I was very happy with the apple log I had laid aside for this project all along, but the birch and especially fir that I used as first tests behaved pretty badly.

Making the Hook Tool

First of all, I made the special tool needed to undercut the rings. There are commercial "ring" or "hook" tools available but I had seen DIY versions made from hex keys and obviously just had to try that!


Educative Failures

lessons learned: wood too soft, piece too thin

lessons learned: wood still a bit too soft, parting tool much more suitable to define the ring width than spindle gouge, poor bevel on the hook tool, use even less force than usual

The second birch ring turned out a lot better than the first so I decided to get serious!

Baby Rattle