Introduction: Segmented Woodturned Bowl Without Table Saw

When I looked to make a segmented bowl for the first time, I couldn't find any methods that didn't use a table saw so I made one myself!

This instructables brings you through a step by step process of making a segmented bowl from start to finish. Keep in mind that this is not the only way to make segmented bowls, but it is a method that has proven to work well for me. If you do not have the same tools that I do I have tried to offer as many alternatives as possible throughout the steps.



The materials that you will need are as follows:

- 2 strips of 1.5 inch wide pieces of wood (use two different colors for a two colored bowl)

- 1 additional piece of wood to be used for a 3 inch diameter circle

- Wood glue

- Masking tape

- Hose clamps (zip ties can also work)

- Templates for cutting segments (mine are 3D printed but cutting them accurately out of paper would also work)

(Template PDF file is attached)

- A pencil to mark your segments

- Saw (preferably jigsaw or bandsaw to make cutting faster)

- Lathe and sanding attachment

- 6 inch Jointer (OPTIONAL)

Step 1: Marking the Segments

1. Mark the segments on the 1.5 inch strips of wood. Use the templates to alternate the orientation as shown in the second picture. Make sure to leave about 1/4 inch or more spacing in-between the marked segments.

2. In total you will need 8 large segments of each strip (16 total), 4 medium segments of each strip (8 total) and 4 small segmetns of each strip (8 total). (This number of segments can be changed for the number of rings, but keep in mind you need 8 segments to make one ring)

3. Make sure your markings are well defined as you will be using them to get precise surfaces on the sander later.

Step 2: Cutting and Shaping Segments

1. Cut you segments out. It doesn't really matter what is used to cut these out as they are just rough cuts. A jigsaw worked well for me and didn't take as long as hand sanding.

*** Being accurate for this step is important as small errors will add up quickly ***

2. Use a sander to sand up to the line as accurately as you can. This can be done with hand sanding as well, but the important part is to keep the surface at 90 degrees. I made this disk sander attachment for my lathe which sped up the process a lot.

3. In the end you should have all your segments layed out like in the last picure all nicely sanded.

Step 3: Gluing Segments Together

1. In order to glue the segments together, it is important to remove any burrs from the segments. This keeps the burs from getting in the glue joints and causing cracks.

2. Choose out the segments to glue up, and place them in a circle alternating up and down in case your surfaces were not perfectly square.

3. Using the hose clamp or just by carefully holding the circle up to the light, look for cracks and sand the surfaces to match up if things don't line up first try.

4. Once your segments all fit well, lay them out in a straight line while keeping orientation. Place a length of masking tape down that is a little longer than all your segments. Place all the segments on the masking tape, lining up the edges.

5. Put glue on all the faces that will touch (both faces for each joint). Be somewhat liberal here since any small cracks will get filled with bits of glue.

6. Roll up the tape and segments into a disk and place the hose clamp or zip ties around the segments to create your first ring. As the glue is setting line up the top and bottom faces as well as you can.

7. Repeat this for all the segments. You should end up with 1 small ring, 1 medium ring, and 2 larger rings.

Step 4: Gluing Rings Together

1. After all the rings have dried, use either a sander or a jointer to flatten the faces of all the rings. This can also be done with a carefully placed piece of sand paper on a flat surface. The goal here is to make the faces fit together as best as possible for gluing the rings together.

2. For the smallest ring, drill a 3/4 inch hole in the center for the middle segment.

3. Turn a 3/4 inch dowel on the lathe using a scrap or excess piece of the 1.5 inch strip.

4. Get the fit as close as possible and glue the dowel into the segments.

5. Now glue the medium-sized ring to the small ring. Use the segment lines to center the two rings together. Again use a lot of glue to fill in any imperfections you may have. Use as many clamps as possible here to try and eliminate any cracks.

6. Do step 5 for all the rings twisting them into a desired pattern. I offset mine by half a segment each time to create a spiral. (Note the dowel is only needed for the smallest ring.)

Step 5: Cutting Bottom Mount

In order to mount this pile of wood and glue onto the lathe safely, we need a sacrificial piece of wood to screw into.

1. Mark out a circle using a faceplate for the lathe and cut it out.

2. Sand the circle round up to the line.

3. Using lots of glue to prevent cracks, glue the peice to the bottom of the ring stack (make sure to flatten the bottom if the dowel is sticking out).

Step 6: Mounting the Blank

1. Using an awl, mark where the holes should be for the screws of the faceplate.

2. Use either a depth stop on a drill press or a piece of tape on a drill bit to drill holes into the bottom just long enough for the screws. This keeps from having any little holes in the bottom of your final piece.

3. Mount the blank to the lathe.

Step 7: Turning the Outside of the Bowl

The following steps are more of a guideline, this is the order I follow to make my bowls. If you have some other method that works best for you, then follow what you are comfortable with.

1. Create a mortise for a chuck to mount the bowl the other way on the lathe. I use a gouge to get this fairly quickly but scrapers can also be used.

2. Turn away the material to get a smooth transition between all the rings.

3. Turn away the bottom until the screw holes have disappeared. Then create another mortise/foot for the bowl to get mounted on the other side.

4. Do final shaping on the outside and sand up to as high a grit as you want. In general you will get a better shine off of any finish if the piece is sanded to a very high grit.

5. Finish the outside using your finish of choice. I use Tried and True finish which is mostly wax and linseed oil which is food safe. Other decorative finishes like shellac can be used for better shine.

Step 8: Turning the Inside of the Bowl

1. Turn the bowl around and mount it to the chuck

2. Turn away the inside to get an even wall thickness and smooth transition between bottom and walls.

3. Sand up to the same grit as you did on the outside for consistency

4. Finish the inside of the bowl

5. Admire your hard work! Good Job!

I'll reiterate that this is not the only way to make a segmented bowl, but it is a process that I have used for many bowls and vases that works well for me. If you have any suggestions on how to improve the process further let me know. Happy turning.