Wood Lathe Upgrades. Pt 3, Friction Plate.




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Project: make a friction plate to allow bowls etc. to be remounted on the lathe once the inside has been turned without the need to clamp the fragile edges of the bowl.

Allows the work piece to be held securely between the friction plate and the revolving center of the tail stock. this is useful to turn down the tenons on stuff that had been mounted in a chuck.  This stuff is very grippy and does not need you to add sandpaper between the back plate and you nicely finished work piece.

The work piece in the video and pics is white thorn a very slow growing tight grained wood, this piece was turned quite green and once turned to shape was lightly sanded and sealed with bee's wax and left in a drying box for several months  to allow it to slowly dry out with less chance of cracking.

Material used

3/4" plywood
spray glue
foam carpet underlay.

Thanks for looking.

Step 1: Making the Friction Plate.

Screw a piece of plywood to your back plate and turn to size.

Apply a good layer of spray glue and once tacky apply to your sheet of underlay.

Once cured trim the foam to size, once attached back on the lathe I used a chisel to create a slight bevel on the edge of the foam on the disk.



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    8 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice idea!
    I am making my own lathe with a 0.5 HP electric motor (I hope it will be enough power) and a speed variator using two bicycle hubs and a chain.
    I plan on making a big clamp for holding pieces, but I am surely going to apply your method as well, on a wooden disc that I will clamp on the shaft, so I won't need to change the hub connector.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I like the idea, I'm just not sure how safe it is. You've got a hunk of wood, possibly weighing ten pounds, rotating at 500rpm and this thing slips? I wouldn't want to be standing around it, that's for sure.

    I'm glad you've managed not to hurt yourself with it and make a couple very nice looking projects but I think I'll stick to my chuck.

    4 replies
    Dr Quifrazeeg

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Its very safe,

    Most professional wood turners use a hard friction plate with a sheet of sandpaper between the plate and the work piece, this is the dangerous method.

    The rubber carpet underlay gives a much better grip than sandpaper ever could.

    The friction plate is only used for finishing workpieces that cant be fitted back in the chuck.  ie if you have turned a plate and want to remove the tenon that was held in the chuck and polish the back of the plate without the risk of getting caught in the jaws of the chuck.

    PS I made this friction plate after I injured myself when my knuckles caught the jaws of the chuck at 2000 rpm when I was polishing a work piece.  That was over  6 months ago and I still have some pain in the fingers and I recon that the knuckle joints are showing some signs of arthritis.

    frazeegDr Qui

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I guess I'm not as up on my lathe knowledge as you are - I have never seen a friction plate used in any of the wood turning literature I've read.

    Theoretically I suppose the flat plate would help to keep your piece square when you turn it as opposed to the squishy carpet which might hold your piece skewed because of variances in the foam material. I do agree that it's safer though.

    That's too bad about your hand. Hopefully it's not arthritis (or nerve damage)!

    Dr Quifrazeeg

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I never read books, literate people who write books often know less then the un-educated men in sheds who know way more tricks and tips on how to do things. you will learn more from watching someone else than years of reading books.

    This is my own twist on something I saw on You-tube ( cant find the video link )

    The friction plate is best used on wide things like plates and bowls, it allows you to turn the inside of the bowl or plate in the chuck and sand and seal the piece, then you can use the friction plate to turn down the tenon  and shape and sand the back of the bowl.

    The guy i got the idea from was using just a sheet of sand paper to hold a 3 foot wide bowl on a friction plate, i just thought that the nonslip foam backing would be much much safer.

    You can see a slight wobble in the video  but this is due to the wood warping slightly in the drying process as it was turned green.

    The foam is very low density stuff and compresses very easily, it is made out of the same stuff as no slip matting and has seriously strong hold when the work piece is compressed into it yet does not leave any marks on the lip of the work piece like sand paper will.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Interesting, I will make one of these. Thanks for sharing. I am learning woodturning , so I spend 4 hours or more to do a piece you can make in less 1 hour.

    1 reply
    Dr Quirimar2000

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I only started wood turning last year and i'm still learning, I did have the advantage of being a metal lathe operator (fitter) for my first job.

    Check out my Ible for a sanding table attachment for my lathe, If you dont have a sander table and your lathe is big enough to make one for do that as I cant underestimate how useful the sanding table is, I use the sanding table more than I use the lathe.

    I am not very fast at wood turning, slow is safe, to fast is dangerous and leads to accidents.

    Good luck with the wood turning, I hope all the pieces of wood allow you to make what you wanted :-)