Edmonton mechanic creates finger-saving wedding band
'If I have a hand injury or this thing gets caught, it's taking my finger with it'
Ken Rice knows a wedding band can cost you your finger.
When thrusting his grease-covered hands under the hoods of trucks and cars, the Edmonton mechanic has to be careful not to snag his titanium ring on any moving parts.
He's had many close calls in his shop, and has heard horror stories of the injuries that jewelry can cause.
Now he's trying his hand at a new business which aims to provide a solution.
He's created wedding bands made of medical grade silicone which, unlike traditional rings of gold and titanium, will give way under extreme pressure.
"I have a titanium wedding band and if I have a hand injury or this thing gets caught, it's taking my finger with it," said Rice, the owner and founder of the Original Man Band.
"If there is swelling involved, you can't cut it, but this you can simply just cut off with a pair of scissors if you need to.
"It takes to about 12 to 15 pounds of pulling strength to actually snap it. You're not going to lose it on the daily but when required, it's going to come off."
Although there are already companies in the United States fabricating the silicone rings, Rice said he's the only one making them in Alberta. After coming across the idea last year, he started working on his own designs, and finally launched his online store last month.
"It's not a new product but there's not really anyone in Canada … doing it so we thought it was a good opportunity to save some fingers and save some people some money too."
'We're almost out and we've got more coming'
The rings, which retail for $25, are resistant to grease and dirt.
They are designed for people in the trades. In many industries, jewelry is not allowed in the workplace because of the risk of injury. In the worst-case scenario, sudden pulling on a ring can result in a finger injury known as ring avulsion.
It can occur when a ring gets caught up on a piece of equipment. The bones and tendons of the finger can become fully detached from the hand.
Because of the hazards, many tradespeople often opt to leave their wedding bands at home.
Though the silicone rings were initially designed with Alberta tradespeople in mind, Rice said he's realized there is demand for his product outside the workplace.
"Some people don't want to travel with their fancy, expensive diamonds, especially if they're going to the beach," he said.
"If you work out and you do CrossFit, and you're doing pushups and using barbells, a ring can be damaged and damage your finger."
Though the rings are marketed as a manly accessory for the "hard-working, ring-wearing, beard-honouring man," Rice will soon be launching a women's line.
Demand for the rings has been overwhelming.
"We're almost out and we've got more coming," he said. "Ultimately, it's a safety thing, but no one wants to sit through a safety lecture so we're trying to have some fun with it."
With files from Elizabeth Hames