One thing we are committed to at OneUpped Magazine is the concept of constant improvement and innovation. Sometimes that means going against the grain. Rustic and Main Rings challenge you to think outside the style box and step up your game in a new, yet very old, way.

The Man

Rustic And Main was founded by Mike Yarbrough in Charlotte, North Carolina. In his words, “Everything has a story, and it is through these stories that we connect and find meaning. In a world moving forward so quickly, many stores are in danger of being lost. I endeavor to create lasting tokens of personal significance, tethering your story to the grand tale of mankind. If you’re looking for handmade quality and distinctiveness of old, along with a modern style and refinement, you will find it at the corner of Rustic and Main.”

The Process

Like most artisans, Mike Yarbrough made his first ring for himself. And then the idea took off. He uses a bentwood technique of using a thin strip of flexible wood and wrapping it around a dowel near the intended ring size. As the wood is being wrapped, a fast drying epoxy is used to bond layer to layer. The result is an extremely strong, beautiful wood ring.

Once the rings are bent and shaped, he uses a lathe to spin the wood and a system to secure the rings. He sands them down and polishes them to smooth the wood to a seamless finish. A coat of boiled linseed oil brings out the character of the wood grain before he applies the final six coats of epoxy finish. He then sands everything to a gloss and inspects for size and imperfections. True craftsmanship.

The Rings

I landed on the Limited Edition Teak Wood ring made from the deck of the USS North Carolina with copper inlay and Maker’s Mark Whiskey lining. Let me repeat that. The ring is made of the decking of one of the most famous and feared Naval Ships in history.

The USS North Carolina was built in 1940 and was commissioned for service in April of 1941. She was the newest and fastest battleship the US had ever created and would go on to lead every major naval offensive in WW2, earning 15 battle stars. After the ship was decommissioned in 1947 the teak wood of the original decks were made available to the public in limited supply. Wearing a ring like this is like wearing a piece of history.

The lining of the ring is made of the wood from whiskey barrels. The wood he uses comes from your choice of Jack Daniel’s, Buffalo Trace, Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey, or Jim Beam. The wood contains traces of the charred oak and adds distinct flecks of color to the oak. The optional copper band brings an extra dimension of detail to the ring and reminds us of the old brass works on ships. Because of the limited availability of the historic wood each ring is numbered so that you know you have a unique piece of history.

The second ring I settled on was made of Weathered Black Cherry with 1950’s Coffee Inlay. The black cherry wood used in this ring comes from a 35 foot tall black cherry tree that fell in a nearby orchard. It was cut in lengths of 6 feet and the ends sealed with wax while it cured for over a year.

The inlay from this ring is made from vintage coffee. Mike found an unopened and sealed can of Hills Bros Coffee from 1952 in his friend’s coffee shop. So naturally they opened it up and drank some. And it was still fresh. Using this particular coffee is a reminder that during WW2 coffee was rationed. Families could only get one pound every five weeks, a rationing that didn’t end until 1946. The very concept is an homage to the frugality and self-sacrifice of that entire generation. Yarbrough is happy to use your favorite coffee for this ring if you’d prefer.

Recently Yarbrough has begun crafting Elk Antler and Bloodwood rings, Elk Antler and Natural Turquoise rings and Elk Antler and Weathered Whiskey Barrel rings ($165). Check out more at RusticAndMain.com to step up your ring style.