Fortunately, soon after my purchase of the Dremel came the weekend. We went to see the in-laws, and I grabbed the Dremel to show it off to my father-in-law. He was duly excited, and we spent some quality time engraving cheese cutting boards and polishing old rusty tools. When I mentioned my lack of materials to work with, he had a quick solution – a small piece of wood, around 5cm wide x 20cm long x 1cm thick. Not much, but it was a start.
After getting home, I once again wondered what to make. The answer was at hand or, rather, on hand. When we were in Quebec, my girlfriend had picked up two African wooden rings: one for her, one for me. I quickly traced mine onto the wood, and then started planning my strategy.
The Dremel 4000 kit that I got (1/45, available in Europe but not North America) came with disappointingly few tools for working on wood. And there was nothing at all that would allow me to simply cut the finger hole. So, the solution, which I have used many times since, was to drill a bunch of holes around the inner circumference, the closer to each other the better. Then, I used the 191 high speed cutter to remove the remaining material between the holes. One thing that I still remembered from my high school shop classes was that drill bits are not meant to be used sideways. Their tips are their only cutting surfaces, while the grooves along the sides are only designed to transport the removed material out of the hole. Any lateral pressure on a drill bit is likely to snap it.
Once the middle part of the ring was cut out, it was easy to finish it with a sanding drum and 60 grit sanding band.
All of the above was done while the future ring remained a part of the larger piece of wood, but now it was time to cut it out. Again, I needed to improvise as the kit did not include any wood-cutting accessories. For these cuts, I ended up using the EZ456 EZ Lock cut-off wheels, which are designed to work on metal. Once again, I found that drilling a bunch of holes along the line of the intended cut made my life easier. I’ve done these cuts – EZ456 cut-off wheels on wood – many times since, and they remain my least-favourite part of any project. These wheels, attached directly to the Dremel 4000, just don’t work well for this.
Once the ring was detached, it was back to the 60 grit sanding band for rough shaping, followed by the 120 grit. One thing that I had picked up from playing with different sanding accessories was that the soft pine wood gets worn away unevenly by the relatively flexible sand paper discs or sanding bands. The harder “veins” of the wood remain, while the softer material between them is removed more quickly, leaving a wavy surface. One solution for getting a smoother finish is to use a harder sanding/polishing accessory, such as the 932 grinding stone that came with my kit. The stone won’t remove a lot of material, so the rough shaping must still be done with the more aggressive 60 grit sandpaper. The stone works well for the finishing touches, though, including smoothing down of any remaining sharp edges.