Back story: In the fall of 2005, my church, Grace Avenue United Methodist Church in Frisco TX, was opening its first sanctuary on Christmas Eve. A church friend who manufactured doors approached me about turning bowls for the church to use for collections. He would supply the wood in the form of 10 laminated African mahogany blanks: 9 ¾ x 4 ½. At this point, I had only been turning about 5 months and had turned all of 4 small bowls on my Jet Mini lathe which has a maximum swing of 10”. But I took on the project anyway and turned the outside profile of 3 on my Jet mini (barely). Out of frustration, I went and bought a Jet 1442 to finish the rest. I delivered 6 bowls for the Christmas Eve service and they continue to be used today. However, I was never satisfied with them, Here's what these looked like from 2005.
On January 25, 2013, GAUMC was opening a new sanctuary but they had never ordered any new collection plates for the new sanctuary. With almost 7 years of turning experience, I was confident I could do a much better job. So I approached the church in late November 2012 to make some new ones having lucked out on 4 figured maple blanks 14” wide at Rockler. However, the church’s request was for 8 plates. Yikes. Unfortunately, I could not find any more figured maple blanks to match. So I contacted Clay Johnson at Choice Woods (www.choice-woods.com) and he made me a deal for 6 maple blanks (14”x14”x3”). The picture shows the 6 square and 4 round curly blanks. The prototype bowl designed in 2008 sit atop the blanks. The blanks arrived and weighed a ton. In my haste, I had forgotten to ask if they were wet or dry. Yep, they were wet…>22% moisture using my 2 prong moisture meter and most certainly wetter in the center. Delivery was 7 weeks away at this point. So now I had to include roughing and drying time.
The first step is to make them un-square so I knocked off the corners on my mitre saw to create octagonal shapes for approx 13” blanks using a circle gauge. I could have used my band saw to cut them round but I've already had a bandsaw accident so I took the safer route. The corners were taken to my woodturning club meeting for folks that like to make bottlestoppers.
For roughing out, I used a worm screw in 2 Nova chucks (1 SuperNova2, 1 G3) with 100mm jaws. With the chuck mounted on the lathe, I screwed the blank onto the worm screw in a pre-drilled whole until the blank was snug against the 100mm jaws. I also used Oneway revolving centers in the tailstock with different sized cones to provide additional support. For these blanks, I roughed them out between 600-700 rpm. It was a beating but no ER visit was required.
Once mounted on the lathe, my plan was to: turn it round then turn the largest tenon the 100mm jaws would hold. This isn’t the proper way to size a tenon; smaller is better. But these are wet wood blanks so I was anticipating having to re-turn the tenons once the drying/warping occurred.Plus I was designing/planning for a wide foot for each platter.