Wooden rings for men seem to be showing up everywhere these days. Chances are you know or work with someone who sports one. (If you don’t, maybe you should be the first?)
Wooden rings make incredible wedding bands for men. But how did we get here?
The History and Popularity of Wooden Rings for Men
- For the early Egyptians, rings symbolized eternity since they make an endless circle, and the space in the center represented a portal to the afterlife.
- After the Greeks conquered Egypt, they adopted the wearing of rings and began giving them to their Greecian soul mates as a token of love.
- Later, when Rome conquered Greece (whole lot of conquering back then), the Romans continued the practice and started using them in their own marriage ceremonies.
Fast forward to Medieval England, where it became mod to have one ring for the engagement and another for the wedding. In fact, it was during this time that we got the word “wedding.” When ye olde English folks entered into a marriage agreement, the man would offer the woman a token called a “wed” which was usually a ring.
The ceremony became—drumroll, please—a wedding ceremony! (And now you can impress your friends with what you’ve learned today.)
Guys didn’t start wearing wedding bands until World War I and World War II. Mainly, they wanted to have some kind of memento to remind them of their young brides back home. Since carrying anything else was a challenge (and it would probably have just gotten lost), many men made simple wooden rings to wear.
It really wasn’t until sometime after the Korean War in the mid-1950s that regular guys outside of the military started wearing wedding rings. Gold became the traditional material for the gents, but wooden wedding bands have continued to this day—and have actually seen a considerable surge in popularity over the past several years.
There are several reasons: they’re durable, affordable, lightweight, and eco-friendly. But we think guys are turning to wood rings more because they’re just cool and different.
How to Make Wooden Wedding Bands
Carving hardwood by hand is by far the most common way to create a wooden ring. It involves a small disk of wood being spun on a lathe while a craftsman carefully shapes it by shaving and sanding away the wood a little at a time, much like they would make a piece of art or fine furniture.
Or a narrow sliver of wood, called an “inlay” is fitted into a metal ring of some sort. A lot of people prefer this because they get the best of both worlds…the tradition and extra stability of a metal like Tungsten or titanium along with the uniqueness of the wood accent.
We custom make all of our wooden rings and inlays this way. WikiHow has a great page on “How to Make Wooden Rings” complete with illustrations that are pretty close to how we make them for you.
Types of Wood Used in Wooden Wedding Bands
Wood wedding bands can be made out of pretty much any kind of tree. Some are more durable than others, though. Generally speaking, a ring from a hardwood tree will last longer than one from a softwood.
Some popular hardwoods used to make wooden rings include:
But the ring material itself isn’t the only thing you can choose from when designing a one-of-a-kind band. As we mentioned earlier, if your base ring is metal, you have many options for inlays. Here are a few we regularly work with:
- Oak Barrel Wood – There’s nothing like part of your ring having a previous life as an actual oak whiskey barrel.
- Koa Wood – A beautiful and exotic wood native to Hawaii; “aloha, conversation starter!”
- Second Inlays – Pair a gorgeous wood inlay with one of these, and you’ve got something special!
- Deer antler rings
- Opal Inlay
- Guitar string ring
- Dinosaur bone
Risks With Wedding Rings Made Out of Wood
As you can imagine, wood rings aren’t indestructible. They do require some special care from time to time, and there are several things you’ll want to keep in mind as you consider wearing a wooden wedding band.
1. They’re tough, but don’t overdo it.
Wooden rings have come a long way from the days of World Wars. We start with durable hardwoods that are naturally strong. Then we finish with a good coating of beeswax to protect it.
With everyday wear, you shouldn’t ever have any problems. But because we know life can be tough sometimes, we also include a free silicone band for you to slip on when you don’t want to risk damaging your custom wooden one.
2. They can get chipped but can usually be repaired.
Like anything else made of wood, they can get chipped or dinged if they get hit hard enough. Most of the time, we can fix any issues. But (see #1) it’s best to keep your ring out of harm’s way whenever you are a mechanic or bodybuilder, for example.
Don’t worry; if the worst should happen, all of our rings have a lifetime warranty!
3. They are difficult to resize.
Wood doesn’t bend or stretch the way metal does. So if the size is wrong, it’s almost impossible to adjust it very much. You can’t add more wood to make it larger very well, and if you take away too much to make it smaller, you risk the ring being too thin and breaking.
That’s why we go to great lengths to get it right the first time with our “Find My Ring Size” steps. We’re confident your wooden ring won’t need resizing if you follow those steps.
4. Chemicals can damage them.
Many solvents and cleaning agents can gradually eat away at the glue used to hold inlays or multiple types of wood together. Under general use, you shouldn’t have any problems, but it is something that needs to be on your radar.
By regularly rubbing your ring with a fresh coat of beeswax, linseed oil, or tung oil, you’ll keep it safe from anything it casually comes in contact with. (Back to #1, if you’re going to have your hands in acid or something like that for any length of time, at least wear the silicone band instead.)
Finding the Best Wooden Wedding Rings
At Gentlemen’s Bands, we’ve been handcrafting some of the finest men’s wedding bands right here in the U.S. for years. We love getting to be a small part of your big day. If you think a wooden ring is in your future, we’d love to work with you!