GMWoodstock

Meet Glen Woodstock: Maker of bespoke wooden rings

From his Dorset studio, Glen Woodstock designs and creates unique wooden wedding rings with sustainably sourced natural woods. Using the traditional bentwood crafting method, GM Woodstock rings stand the test of time and offer a one-of-a-kind finish that you won’t find anywhere else…

Glen, when and why did you start making bespoke rings?

I first started making rings in 2015, but did not begin selling them until 2018.

After seeing a bentwood style ring online I was inspired to try and make one. I quickly found great enjoyment and satisfaction in the process, results and endless design possibilities a bentwood ring has to offer.

Are you self-taught or do you have a professional background in woodwork?

My background in woodwork is limited, along with engineering I studied wood work for GCSE and A-levels, but beyond that I have no professional background or qualifications in woodwork.

I originally purchased a wood lathe for turning bowls and other objects, teaching myself along the way with the help of information found online. I then began making rings, there was at that time limited information about bentwood rings so a lot of experimentation and practice was the key to learning and perfecting the craft.

Why do you think people find wooden rings so appealing in contract to traditional metal rings?

From my experiences speaking to clients I have found the main appeal of wooden rings to be their link with the natural world. Wood has long been a popular and versatile material, each species offering it’s own patterns and colours and each piece being entirely unique. They also have great appeal to those who want something light weight and those with metal allergies.

GM woodstock wooden rings
GM woodstock wooden rings

Can you tell us a bit about the bentwood crafting process?

A bentwood ring is formed by steam bending long thin strips of wood around in layers, these layers give it a strength that conventional wooden rings (drilled out of a block of wood) do not benefit from. They also have the advantage that the grain pattern runs around the ring increasing strength further and also giving a unique look. The rings can then be inlaid with materials of your choice, stone, metals, fabrics etc. Finally they are coated in a waterproof, durable finish and polished to a high gloss finish.

Where do you source the materials for your rings?

I source materials from various suppliers across the UK and Europe, as well as being sent and given offcuts of wood from larger furniture makers that would otherwise have been scrapped. Often these woods can be exotic or endangered timbers and it gives me great joy that the small pieces that would have been wasted can be turned into a lasting piece of jewellery.

What is your favourite material to work with and why?

My favourite material is obviously wood! The question of which wood is a tricky one as they all come with their own unique differences and challenges. Maple has got to be one of my favourites for workability, it bends beautifully, has great strength and finished to a consistently high standard. I do also have a soft spot for the colour and grain patterns of bubinga wood. It is more challenging to work with but has a unique and beautiful appearance.

GM woodstock wooden rings
GM woodstock wooden rings

Are there any challenging aspect to the crafting process?

Each part of the process presents it’s own challenges. I use over 50 different woods and each responds differently to every stage of the process. Some woods bend easier, some shape and sand easier, some are easier to inlay and finish.

Can clients customise their rings or have them engraved?

Absolutely, any of the designs of my rings are available in your choice of woods. Positioning of inlays, width of ring, mixtures of stones, choice of inlay materials are all down to you. If you have your own idea for a ring, your own woods these can be used as well.

I offer engravings, these are burnt into the wood so are dark in colour and best added to lighter colour woods. If you choose a dark ring I can always line it with a lighter colour wood to enable clearer engravings.

Can you ever alter the size of a wooden ring?

I can alter the size of a bentwood ring by a small amount either way in order to get the perfect fit. The protective coating is the key to doing this, I can polish a little more of the coating out of the centre of the ring to enlarge it or add a few more layers to make the ring smaller.

Where can our readers find out more about your work and purchase your rings?

You can see my work, contact me and purchase my rings at www.gmwoodstock.co.uk. You can also find me on etsy at www.gmwoodstock.etsy.com and on instagram @gmwoodstock.