Pair of segmented vessels

segmented vesselsThese two vessels were originally going to be one long vase but then the club’s theme last month was a matching pair of items, so it morphed into these instead. I’ll explain the steps. It’s time-consuming because of waiting for glue to dry, but easier than it looks.

I started with three boards: sapele, tulip wood and white oak, all twice as long as the vase was going to be, so around 50cm long. First step was to put them through the thicknesser to get them all to the same thickness, which turned out to be roughly an inch.IMG_20151221_190401667_HDR

I ripped them on the table saw in strips about 9mm wide, then glued them sort of randomly in three batches of eight strips, including a strip of birch plywood that happened to be about the right dimensions and was lying around.

Next step was to cut them in half on the table saw, then split them along their length on the bandsaw, freehand. Both halves of each batch then went through the thicknesser again, this time down to 9mm to make the strips square.

IMG_20151224_164227823_HDRNow they are ready to glue into a square. Randomness is more difficult than it seems, but I managed to arrange them so there’s hardly any two strips the same next to each other. There were four batches left over, since I only needed eight and had twelve altogether, so that helped.

For a job like this I use Titebond III, because it’s rather important that the thing doesn’t come apart on the lathe.

When the glue was dry I cut the corners off with the table saw set at 45º and punched a spike into the centre at each end, ready for the lathe.


It was suggested after I’d done these that the best way to get a matching pair of items is to do half a dozen and pick the ones closest to each other. That wasn’t feasible in this project, so I started shaping the outsides face to face, as a mirror image of each other. Spigot at each end, for the jaws.

When they were identical enough I parted them and started hollowing them out, first one, then the other to match. There was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing between them, a bit more off here, a bit too much off there, but with the help of calipers they were reasonably matching by the time I had to reverse them and do the base of each one.

Reversing them was a challenge; my button jaws don’t go small enough and the metal jaws are too small, so I usIMG_20160209_154411559ed my homemade plywood jaws, softened with those little rubber spacers you get between panes of glass. I always keep that sort of thing. I stuck them on the plywood with double-sided carpet tape.

This is the only photo I took of the plywood jaws, and I took it to show a dig, which happened to be on the plywood strip unfortunately. I filled it with wood filler, but didn’t get the colour well matched. Never mind, it’s a practice project anyway. Really too much work for firewood now. It doesn’t show half so much when it’s sanded and finished.

As you can see I’ve got the tailstock up against it for extra support, and used the cup attachment to minimise marking. Obviously the centre of the base has to be done without the tailstock in place, so that’s a case of a very gentle touch with a very sharp tool.

And yes, the bases aren’t identical. But only a fellow turner would notice. One hopes.

Finished with friction polish and microcrystalline wax.

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