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Segmented Wood Turning – Fruit Bowl…part 1

Segmented Wood Turning



Setting the blade angle on the 10 inch compound miter saw blade - Segmented Wood Turning on a wood lathe

Segmented wood turning is an interesting and unique facet of the woodworking craft as you will see in part 1 of this woodworking video tutorial. We are back in the woodworking shop creating a custom wood project. Here, we learn how to woodturn a segmented fruit bowl. The wood we are using in this segmented wood turning is light walnut for the staves, dark walnut for the vertical spacers, and ribboned mahogany for the base. The segmented wood turning technique we are using for this wood project involves the use of 12 wood staves that we will cut on the 10 inch compound miter saw and also the 12 vertical spacers we will cut with a small fine toothed dovetail saw. In this woodworking tutorial we will focus on the accurate set-up of the of the compound miter saw using a Wixey digital angle gauge and a digital protractor. Once the saw is correctly set we will cut the wood staves. From there we will concentrate on fitting and gluing all segments together by using yellow glue and masking tape.

“A rule of thumb for a warrior is that he makes his decisions so carefully that nothing that may happen as a result of them can surprise him, much less drain his power.”
Carlos Castaneda…Peruvian born American anthropologist and author. (1925-1998)

Note: To ensure precision cutting of the stave segments a 10 inch Forrest Chopmaster saw blade was used on the compound miter saw.

A Staved segment for segmented wood turning on a wood lathe

Precision cutting of the wood staves is made possible by accurately adjusting the miter saw blade with a digital angle gauge. Accuracy is a must for segmented wood turning and shop accessories such as the angle gauge and a digital protractor are essential.

This episode is part of the Let’s Build Series

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The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Segmented Woodturning – a Fascinating Woodturning Process

Bowl of walnut maple bandsaw technique - Segmented woodturning.

Segmented Woodturning

A few years back while reading a book on wood turning  a style of segmented woodturning caught my eye. Fascinated by the pattern, I was equally if not more intrigued by the technique used to create bowls like the one pictured above. So, I read on and began studying the process which struck me as actually quite creative.

Believe it or not, this segmented woodworking technique starts out with a flat board (planed & parallel) comprised of laminated strips of maple and walnut. The next step requires some layout work and drawing of concentric circles on the board followed by a trip to the band saw. Then the table of the band saw is tilted (in this case…45 degrees) and the layout circles are then carefully cut.

Here’s where is gets interesting. When the cutting of the circles is completed they are now ready to be stacked. There’s an order to the process. Small circles on the bottom followed by the progression of larger circles on top. Of course, these segmented rings need to be glued and aligned as they are stacked. As a result, they take on the shape of the bowl that you see in the segmented woodturning pictured above. From here it’s just a matter of heading to the wood lathe and turning the bowls. Then it’s on to sanding and finishing the segmented woodturning.

Watch Woodturning Videos:

Let’s Turn Salt and Pepper Mills – How to Woodturn

Segmented Wood Turning – Fruit Bowl…part 1

Segmented Woodturning – Fruit Bowl – part 2


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Segmented Woodturning – Vase of Mahogany, Maple, Cherry, & Walnut

Segmented Woodturning – a Vase

Segmented woodturning - Segmented woodturning Vases

This segmented woodturning is a polychromatic vase that has 18 rings and 432 segments. In this case, the selected woods are mahogany, maple, cherry, and walnut. As you can see in the photo, the vase bottom is secured by means of a tightened lathe chuck while the tailstock holds a live center that is inserted into the mouth of the vase. Notice how the vertically aligned spacers of each segmented ring offer an eye catching effect to the overall design of the vase. Also, take a look at how the choice of wood tones contrast one another to highlight and accentuate the piece.

Segmented Woodturning - a Vase with a polychromatic wood design

The segmented woodturning pictured to the left looks pretty rough. When we start out in segmented woodturning and we see the wood project in this rough stage, we have to scratch our heads a bit and ask “Is this worth it?” However, once the turning tools are applied to the spinning vase, the beauty of the wood design starts to reveal itself to the woodturner. This when our previous question is answered with a “Yes.”

A well chosen wood lathe and a few lathe tools go a long way for the enjoyment of wood turning. Segmented woodturning offers a great way of utilizing scrap wood left over in the woodworking workshop while creating wonderful designs in this woodcraft. The wood chosen for my woodworking projects are all hardwoods and the wood finish chosen is often of a satin finish or a soft natural finish.

Watch these Woodturning Videos:

Let’s Turn Salt and Pepper Mills – How to Woodturn

Segmented Wood Turning – Fruit Bowl…part 1

Segmented Woodturning – Fruit Bowl – part 2

Segmented Woodturning – 9″ x 12″ Vase


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

The Process of Segmented Woodturning

Segmented Woodturning – The Process

Segmented woodturning is an interesting wood craft in its own right. It is one of those wood projects that requires more than just a wood lathe and some lathe tools. It helps to have woodworking equipment such as a table saw, a planer, a jointer, a mitersaw, an open stand drum sander, and a disc sander.  Also when starting out you’ll need to design for your segmented woodturning project . First, decide if you want to turn a bowl, a vase, salt and peppermills, or even a lamp. Next, you’ll need to draw out the design on paper or perhaps you’ll choose to layout your project design with segmented woodturning software. You may even find it helpful to sketch out your ideas on paper to come up with a basic plan and then finalize the design on paper or software. This is an important time for creativity and brainstorming. One thing to remember is that all of your work from this point on will be followed on the plan that you are creating.

The segmented woodturning design you create will determine how many segment rings your project will have along with how many segments will be included within each ring. Your project design will also include your choice of wood species and the placement of these woods within your design. As you know,  the various wood colors become part of the overall design.

Once you have the design worked out it is time for determining the cutting list for the segments of each ring. This too can be done on paper, however the software for segmented woodturning becomes very convenient at this time. The software will provide a cutlist for you with all the necessary information to get started. Then it’s just a matter of working off the cutlist until you have all of your segments cut and then organized so they can be glued into rings.

Segmented woodturning on a wood latheNow it’s a matter of gluing the rings. Take your time as it is a time for patience. Typically, I’ll use Titebond2 yellow glue  and put the segments together on a flat surface of plastic laminate. I’ll place the glue on the side of the segment and rub it with the adjoining segment while aligning the joint. Once I’m satisfied with the joint I’ll wrap a rubber band around both segments and the rubberband will serve as a clamp until the glue sets up. I’ll then continue this process with other segments of the ring as well. Once the glue is set up within the pairs of segments then the pairs can be glued together. At this time create two half circles for each ring. This way you can see how the end joints are going to come together to form a complete ring. You may have to lightly sand the outside ends each half ring until you get two good fitting  joints. Once the joints of the half rings are satisfactory you can apply glue to the joints and place a rubberband around the circumference of the ring. Allow the glue to set overnight.

The Wood Craft of Segmented WoodturningNote…the above step can be time consuming and tedious. Often times I will simply glue all the segments of a ring at one time and then tighten a hose clamp around the ring. I only do it this way if I know that my mitre saw is set up very accurately and a test ring has been cut and fit with good tight joints all the way around.

I use a Wixey digital protractor to ensure the angle of the mitre and also use a Wixey digital angle guage to provide the necessary blade tilt. These two set-up tools are invaluable for segmented woodturning as they allow for very accurate results. It’s better to be dead on accurate rather than just close!

The saw blade I like to use for my mitresaw for segmented woodturning is a 10-inch 80 tooth Forrest Chopmaster.

Once the glue of the segmented rings is dry it is time to remove the hoseclamps. At this time all rings need to be sanded flat on one side. I use the open stand drum sander for this operation. After the rings are sanded flat it is time to sand the opposite side of the rings and of course all the rings need to be of equal thickness. The open stand sander is great for this this segmented woodturning operation.

The next step is to glue the rings together. Begin by making sure all the rings are numbered in their correct order and then pair the rings together. For example 1 goes with 2, 3 with 4, and so on. When gluing a pair make sure that you have proper alignment with the joints in a brick-like fashion. In other words the joint of one ring should be staggered with joints of another adjoining ring. This not only provides strength for your segmented turning, but it provides for a pattern in the overall design. Once the glue of the rings are setting up add a weight or clamp the rings together for a good tight fit.

Segmented Woodturning on a Wood LatheNote…It’s really important to accurately align the joints of the rings. It will make all the difference in the world for the finished project. Pay close attention to this detail.

Once all of the rings are stacked, glued, and the glue has dried it’s time for turning, then sanding, and finally finishing. (Typically, the time spent turning is much less than the time spent preparing and building the project.)

Sometimes I think of segmented woodturning as high risk, high reward. It requires patience, time, and focus. Also, like anything there is a learning curve to it. It can be a great challenge and also quite satisfying.


Watch more Woodturning Videos:

Let’s Turn Salt and Pepper Mills – How to Woodturn

Segmented Wood Turning – Fruit Bowl…part 1

Segmented Woodturning – Fruit Bowl – part 2

Segmented Woodturning – 9″ x 12″ Vase

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Segmented Woodturning Mortising the Base

Segmented Woodturning – Mortising the Base

Segmented woodturning:

This segmented woodturning video tutorial focuses on mortising the base on the wood lathe. Eventually, this section will be reversed and the mortise being made will provide a dovetail-like opening that the jaws of the lathe chuck will grip. In the woodworking video you will notice how a dial caliper is used for measuring the accuracy of the desired depth of cut for the mortise.

Segmented Woodturning - 3 sections of a wooden vaseThere are three sections of the segmented vase. Ultimately, all 3 sections of the segmented woodturning will be glued together to form a vase that will be 9″ x 12″ when finished. There are 18 rings and 24 segments in each ring.  (432 total segments in this segmented woodturning.)


Watch more Woodturning Videos:

Let’s Turn Salt and Pepper Mills – How to Woodturn

Segmented Wood Turning – Fruit Bowl…part 1

Segmented Woodturning – Fruit Bowl – part 2

Segmented Woodturning – 9″ x 12″ Vase

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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