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9 1/2″ x 12″ Vase…Segmented Woodturning

Segmented Woodturning a Tall Vase

Segmented woodturning on a wood lathe evokes a curiosity in woodworkers. Generally speaking, when a woodworker first views a segmented bowl or a tall decorative vase he or she will ask the question, “How did they do that?” Often times segmented pieces have various patterns that are simply beautiful to look at and yet puzzling to figure out as to how they were constructed. While it is apparent that woodturning tools and a wood lathe were used to shape the woodturnings, what is not entirely clear is how the segments and rings are glued and fitted together to form this wood art. How can all these pieces be accurately organized and well joined? That is the beauty of this wood craft!
Vase of Segmented Woodturning
The woodworking techniques used for segmented woodturning are essentially basic and yet evolved. To begin with a segmented woodturner will need a design to follow. Thankfully, today there is very good woodturning software available that makes the design factor a relatively simple procedure. Keep in mind tho that complex designs can also be performed with the software. Once you have created a design you can print it out along with a cutting list. The list will show you the angles and dimensions for the segments as well as the number of segments needed to complete each ring. In essence, the math part is taken care of for you.

From this point it is a matter of dimension the woods, cutting, gluing and assembling, and then turning your piece. The actual woodturning may actually be about 10% of the process.

So, if you are looking for some good woodworking ideas why not give segmented woodturning a try. Consider starting with a basic platter or perhaps a bowl. Get a feel for it and before long you will be advancing your skill level and in time people just may ask you, “How did you do that?”

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Segmented Woodturning – Salad Bowl set of maple & walnut…part 1

Cutting a maple segment on a coumpound miter saw for a segmented woodturning

Segmented Woodturning

As you can see the first maple segment is cut for this segmented woodturning project. The dimensioning of the material  has been taken care of and the 80 tooth sawblade of the compound miter saw has the necessary angle. A Wixey digital gauge is used to ensure the accuracy of the sawblades’s angle. The stop-block on the right is clamped into place to maintain a consistent width for the segment.  (Note: Use a scrap piece to test the accuracy of the segment’s angles. This is accomplished by cutting 1/2 the amount of bowl segments and taping the outside perimeter with the joints perfectly aligned. If the miter angles are correct then the two outside angles will be completely flat on a solid surface such as a table saw as is pictured below.)

Ensuring the accuracy of miter angles of a segmented woodturning

Now it is a matter of taking the time to allow for each segment to be cut. There are 12 maple segments for each small dinner salad bowl and a total of six small bowls.  While the compound miter saw set in this position we’ll make all 72 maple segments for the smaller bowls.  Just to be safe we’ll also make a few extra  segments. One large tossing bowl will  be made later as well however, the widths of the segments will be greater and will require an adjustment of the stop block.
Ripping a walnut spacer for segmented woodturningThe walnut spacer is just under an 1/8″ and it is sanded flat, smooth, and parallel. It’s now ready to be ripped. The width is determined by measuring across the maple segment’s angle. For example if the thickness of the maple segment is 3/4″ then the measurement across this angle will be somewhat greater then the 3/4″ thickness. We’ll set the tablesaw’s fence to this dimension and rip away.
Cutting the spacers for a segmented woodturningOnce the spacers for the segmented woodturning are ripped it’s time to cut them to length. It easy enough to do by hand and sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the power tools.
Preparing the wood segments for gluingMasking tape is quite useful in this operation. It’s on the opposite side of the segments pictured to the left. The tape is holding the alignment of the segments so that the walnut spacers can be sandwiched between the maple segments. So now, it’s time to add glue. We are using Titebond 2 for this segmented woodturning operation. We want to make sure we apply enough glue in the joints! It’s a one-time shot.

Masking tape and rubber bands serve as clamps for the segmented woodturning

Pictured at the right are glued segments that form two halves of a  bowl . For the moment masking tape and rubber bands apply enough force to allow for a bit of glue to set. This also gives us time to grab an adjustable metal hose clamp to secure the segmented woodturning.
Tightening the segmented woodturning with hose clampsTo the left is an example of the segments being tightened with the use of the large adjustable hose clamps. We use a socket driver on the cordless drill to take up most of the slack and then we finalize it with the hand driver. You’ll notice a few shims under the circle of segments. Sometimes an adjustment is needed to maintain uniformity in the alignment of the segments. So now it’s just a matter of tapping here and there with the hammer. (The larger tossing bowl is pictured to the left.)

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

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