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Thread: Making Little Square Plates......... The "Dungeon" Way

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan

    Making Little Square Plates......... The "Dungeon" Way

    OK, this is how I'm making these small square plates.

    I'm not saying this is the right way, or the only way, it is just "My" way. If anyone has any suggestions as to how I could improve my method, PLEASE speak up, as I'm still learning how to do this lathe stuff

    I'm making fairly small plates here, I understand that this method would not be used for larger plates, but for mine, this works just fine.

    The wood is Hard Canadian Maple, and the pieces start out about 7.5 cm (3") square, by about 2.5 cm (1") thick.

    I cannot stress how important it is to get the pieces exactly square, if the piece is NOT square, then you will not be able to get the thicknesses the same on all four sides.

    I drill a 1 1/8" hole about 1/4" deep on one side of the piece, this will be the top. Again, this hole has to be exactly in the center of the piece, take the time to do this right and it will pay off later on.

    Attachment 14726
    Here is the stuff I use; custom built "Jam" chuck, 3" square of wood, masking tape, Nova G3 chuck with the pin jaws.

    Attachment 14727
    Here you can see the hole, that the pin jaws go into.

    I try very hard to get the piece on the pin jaws square and flat too.........

    Attachment 14728
    ....... I bring up the tail stock with out a live center in it, to press against the wood, as I expand the pin jaws to hold the piece.

    Attachment 14729
    once mounted, I use the bowl gouge, a 3/8" with a traditional grind on it, to make my first cuts, these are roughing cuts, so I'm not that concerned about a smooth surface. I then use the parting tool to make my tenon.
    (It is also really important to make sure there is a center dimple in the tenon, as you will need this to remount the piece on the jam chuck)

    Attachment 14730
    Now I've done the cutting on the bottom of the piece, I have a tenon and a center dimple, I try to make a small, maybe 1/8" wide flat spot right next to the tenon, so the jaws of the chuck have a flat surface to reference when I turn the piece around. I'll finish the piece here to the point of putting on the sanding sealer after sanding to #400.

    Attachment 14731
    OK, now I've flipped the piece around, and am mounting it to the pin jaws. Again I bring up the tailstock minus the live center to press the piece (softly) onto the jaws, sometimes as you tighten down on the tenon, the piece moves a bit, which is not good.

    Attachment 14732 Attachment 14733
    Just to show you how I cut, I do it in steps, and I cut only about 1/16" at one time, or you WILL break that small tenon off, and bad words will be said

    OK, now I've got the inside done.........

    Attachment 14734
    ....... I sand and finish it to the sanding sealer point........

    Attachment 14735

    and take it off the pin jaws, flipping it over and putting the jam chuck on the lathe, then I place a piece of paper towel between the piece and the jam chuck just to keep things from getting scratched etc. I bring the tail stock and live center up, and you can see the center dimple is used here to center the piece on the jamb chuck. I apply VERY light pressure to the bottom, one, I do not want a DEEP dimple, and two, if the curve on the piece does not EXACTLY match the curve on the jam chuck, and you push hard on the live center, you can crack the piece......... DAMHIKT

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan

    I then secure the piece on the jam chuck with masking tape........

    Attachment 14737
    I'll cut the marks on the tenon with the tail stock still up supporting the piece, but once that is gone, I can work on the bottom of the piece, but you HAVE TO take really light cuts, with SHARP tools.

    Attachment 14738
    That is most of the cutting done, now just a little sanding.......

    Attachment 14739
    Sanded, now it will get some finish.........

    Attachment 14740

    Here is the piece done.

    I hope this encourages someone else to do a few of these, they are fun and most everyone likes them, might be a good inexpensive piece to have at a craft fair booth?

    The wood for these came from the cut offs I had to make on one piece of the Hard Maple I got, it had cracks into the end about 2", so I cut the piece off at just over 3" from the cracked end. I ended up with a piece 8" wide, and about 3 1/2" by 3", this I cut up into pieces just under 3" square, and 1" thick.

    So a good use of useless wood

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    North West Indiana
    The creative genius is still at it!!!
    Very nice description and tutorial. Thanks for the show Stu!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    San Antonio, Texas
    Cool! Thanks, Stu!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Schenectady, NY


    Very nice job on this project Stu. Your process seems effective and efficient. Tough to improve on that !

    Keep it coming!
    Don Orr

    Woodturners make the World go ROUND

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    Well done Stu! I didn't get my blank square on my first attempt at one of these...didn't know why the sides were out of wack before I learned it from you, Thanks.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    North Ogden, Utah
    That's an excellent idea Stu. I've used a lot of tape on box lids but never thought of using it like that.

  8. #8
    Thanks for the tutorial, Stu. I appreciate your taking the time to show how it's done.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    Thanks Stu.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: That’s when you return from work one day
    and say, “Hi, Honey, I’m home – forever.”

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Glad you guys like it, hope to see some more square bowls from some of you!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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