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Thread: Faceplate Mounting on an Uneven Surface

  1. #1
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    Faceplate Mounting on an Uneven Surface

    There's been some discussion recently in another thread about mounting a faceplate on the bark side of a bowl blank. I've described how I do it a few times, but I finally dug up a few photos...

    One way I do it is to drill a group of holes - all to the same depth - in the blank using a Forstner bit on the drill press. Here's an example:

    It's hard to tell from this shot, but I drilled a starter hole (I'm guessing about 1 1/4" diameter, then nibbled away the edges to enlarge it by drilling other holes around the edge. The depth stop on the drill press ensures the bottoms of holes are all the same depth.



    I think this is a 2 1/2" faceplate, and you can see that the edge of the hole isn't round by any means. It doesn't need to be.



    Another shot...you can see how "accurate" I am when I mark the center of the blank with a lumber crayon. It's all done by eye. No need to get carried away with precision.



    And to give an idea of the size of this blank, here it is mounted on my Powermatic. It's not a small chunk of wood.



    There are other ways to make a relatively flat mounting spot, too. You can use a hammer and chisel:







    Or I've even used a handheld power planer to make a flat spot. (The blades were already pretty beat up. Otherwise I wouldn't have used the planer on bark.) This blank started out with a high spot where there had been a limb. I had to plane that down just to make room for the planer in the middle of the blank.











    So that's three different ways to get a relatively flat spot for mounting a faceplate. Notice I said "relatively". It doesn't have to be perfect, just stable enough that the faceplate can't rock. I've even used wooden wedges in key locations to make up for voids under the faceplate.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  2. #2
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    Yep that is exactly what I do, the drill press is the easiest, but you are limited by the throat of your drill press, if a blank is bigger than that, then the planer comes out. I've also used a carriage and router with a dish bit, that too worked well, but was very messy.

    Cheers!
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  3. #3
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    Ok so you have put the face plat on the bark side. Is that what you do for every turning? Why not face plat the side that has already been sawed flat?
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for all those great photos Vaughn. That makes it all very clear.
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  5. #5
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    Thanks Vaughn, great write up.

    Chuck: Speaking out of turn, but there are two reasons I know of for one side or the other:
    • You get more bowl mounting from the bark side (this is why I've ~mostly done it that way unless it wouldn't work)
    • Or as Vaughn explained on the thread about Jim's bowl; grain orientation/quality sometimes trumps size. I suppose I'd lump cracks and faults into this one as well after thinking about it.

  6. #6
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    Not computing for me Ryan. I maybe thinking backwards but screwing a face plate on to means that is the inside of the bowl. That way I can rough to outside size and turn a tenon for my chuck, flip around and hog out the inside. Now that whole system would be different if I had glued a waster block on.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Thoits View Post
    Not computing for me Ryan. I maybe thinking backwards but screwing a face plate on to means that is the inside of the bowl. That way I can rough to outside size and turn a tenon for my chuck, flip around and hog out the inside. Now that whole system would be different if I had glued a waster block on.
    You're correct, my head is on backwards today. Must be either for grain orientation or he's trying to save the natural edge.

  8. #8
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    I do as Vaughn does. I use a 3 1/4" forstner bit most of the time for my faceplate.
    Bernie W.

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    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

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  9. #9
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    Good write up and photos.
    I use a power hand plane on the flat side if needed.
    For the bark side I finally found a 3-1/8 forstner bit on Amazon for $25. Before that I used a dado blade on my radial arm saw (flat side to the table top); a few of passes and it was done.
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

  10. #10
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    Faceplate Mounting on an Uneven Surface

    Chuck, Ryan's right...I'd mount one this way to make a natural edge bowl.

    What prompted me to post this is the trials and tribulations Jim Bradley went through to mount a blank he got recently. He used a big Forstner bit and had to go to a lot of work to hold the blank on the drill press table, and even then he stalled the drill press. He posted pics in the General Woodworking Q&A area...in the "Brent vs. Jim challenge" thread. What he went through explains why I'd rather use a smaller bit and just nibble the hole bigger.


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    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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