Segmented Bowl - 1st try

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Blog entry by Woodhacker posted 04-26-2009 02:33 AM 28887 reads 19 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Until recently my lathe experience has been 50 or so pen/pencils, a few miniature goblets, and a couple small 5 inch bowls over the past few years on a Jet mini lathe, enough to want to try other lathe work. This past fall I was fortunate to have the opportunity to acquire a PM 3520B, but due to other work and priorities I’ve not had a lot of time to use it yet…and that’s “killing me”.

So this blog documents what I consider my first significant lathe project. Recently a partially segmented bowl caught my eye that I really liked. It was turned by Harm Hazeu and found in a book called Fabulous Turned-Wood Projects. This bowl is fairly closely patterned after Harm’s bowl. It incorporates segmenting, face grain plugs, and a turning blank:

With not a lot of experience on the lathe, I’d appreciate any advice/criticism some of you LJ turners may have regarding this blog/project…I certainly do not pretend to know what I’m doing around a lathe. As someone with limited experience, it is a sobering thought to have a turning gouge in my hands, realizing how much I don’t know about turning. For this project the segmenting and glue up took more time/work than the actual turning.

The primary wood is very old stock that was given to me and had two previous owner’s. It’s very likely well over 50 years old. From the grain, texture, and smell, I’m nearly certain it’s maple, but am not sure of the variety. I also used eucalyptus, Caribbean rosewood, bubinga, and some birdseye maple left over from another project.

I started by making a sufficient number of face grain plugs using my drill press:


I then drilled a series of holes 1 inch apart in the rosewood, then used a jig to cut these into segments.
Below are a series of pictures showing the jig I made to make the segmented pieces of rosewood on my tablesaw:





In this picture I’m gluing the face grain plugs into the rosewood segments:

Here the maple separating “segment” slices are being cut:

The maple slices were then hand glued to one side of the rosewood segments:

There are 29 segments of rosewood in this turning. Why 29 (you may ask)? I have no idea. The bowl is 8 inches in diameter. The book described the bowl as having 30 segments, yet it advised a 7 degree miter…which didn’t make a lot of sense…it seems 6 degrees (per segment side) should be right unless circles now have more than 360 degrees in them like they did back when I took Trigonometry in high school. Nevertheless, I set up my Incra miter for 7 degrees, but for some reason, after cutting and fitting them, 29 segments worked out nearly perfect with very little sanding adjustment. I guess that was beginner’s luck. Sometime I’ll have to figure out why it turned out this way. I assume it was a small angle error multiplied many times over.

The rosewood segments were glued together using the bowl’s blank stock as a working platform, along with rubber bands and a number of small clamps. Once a number or rubber bands were in place the clamps were removed to let the segmented ring close together:

The photos below show a number of pieces of ecalyptus, walnut, maple, and bubinga to be used for the thin contrasting segments that surround the rosewood segments:


This is a layer of maple being glued together. A number of these were made from eucalyptus, maple and bubinga. They were held together with hand pressure until the glue set:

The maple layers are being glued to the rosewood segmented ring:


Trimming off the excess maple layer:

Smoothing the segmented ring for additional segment layers:



Gluing the additional segmented layers:





Initial turning of the bowl blank began with a faceplate secured to the top of the bowl blank:

Followed by a dovetail recession to receive the chuck for the bottom of the bowl:


Setting the depth of the inside of the bowl using a drill press/forstner bit:

Here I’m parting off a ring that will be re-glued back on once the segmented portion is incorporated:



Here I’m gluing the bowl bottom, as well as the parted off ring to the segmented ring. Notice that I left the bowl blank in the chuck and removed the entire assembly from the lathe for this glue up.

This is a picture of the nearly completed bowl, except for finishing. I did most of the contour turning with scrapers, because I’m not yet comfortable with bowl gouges:
One thing I do know is that I need to re-sharpen my turning tools more often.

I’ll post this finished bowl as an LJ project.
Again any comments/suggestions/criticisms are very welcome.

-- Martin, Kansas

16 comments so far

View Broda's profile


313 posts in 4802 days

#1 posted 04-26-2009 03:01 AM

very nice,

i’m with you, i am not yet completely confident using the bowl gouge and have to resort to scrapers sometimes

-- BRODY. NSW AUSTRALIA -arguments with turnings are rarely productive-

View Karson's profile


35279 posts in 5683 days

#2 posted 04-26-2009 03:03 AM

Great turorial/construction details. Nice job on the bowl.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5382 days

#3 posted 04-26-2009 03:16 AM

Great entry with the photos. I don’t turn and it was interesting to me to see how that is done.

Someday – a lathe.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5335 days

#4 posted 04-26-2009 03:23 AM


I figured there was alot of work to get it that way… but, I had no idea of how extensive it really was!

Thank you for the blow by blow procedure! Very informative!

Awesome work!

Thanks again!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4841 days

#5 posted 04-26-2009 03:25 AM

Great job. I need to get back to turning some bowls soon. Todd you don’t know what you are missing. Turning is relaxing and fun.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 5050 days

#6 posted 04-26-2009 03:55 AM

Martin, I appreciate your patience and skills required for this segmented piece. Great documentary too. Thanks for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5105 days

#7 posted 04-26-2009 04:27 AM

Martin, this was a nice tutorial. You documented the process well and, even though like Todd I am a non-turner, I could follow the steps that you took to complete this bowl.

Nice job.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View toyguy's profile


1769 posts in 5120 days

#8 posted 04-26-2009 09:46 PM

A little different approach to segmented turning than what I have read….... But I see a lot of merit in this approach….. One thing for sure, you have ended up with a very nice looking bowl.

I have yet to try this segmented turning, but I do have full intentions of doing just that. Maybe next fall after golf season…. LOL .

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View johnpoolesc's profile


246 posts in 4643 days

#9 posted 04-26-2009 10:04 PM

your 1st segmented? i hate to think your going to improve.. great post and at great finished piece.. the big thing i see between my older turnings and the ones i turn now is the thickness.. bowls that weigh just a few ounces with walls 1/4 and below are special..

a bowl gouge takes time to get use to.. very sharp and just use the one side.. you can get long ribbions from end grain, you can’t tell from the finished piece which tool you used.. the gouge is just a lot quicker.. after turning for 40 years if i had one piece of advice it would be to over sand.. once you feel a bowl sanded to 4000+ grit you will agree.. and i never use poly..

-- It's not a sickness, i can stop buying tools anytime.

View a1Jim's profile


118296 posts in 4860 days

#10 posted 04-26-2009 11:35 PM

Looks wonderful and well demonstrated and photographed.


View RonR's profile


71 posts in 5291 days

#11 posted 11-02-2009 05:50 PM

Very impressive for a first attempt! I haven’t tried segmented turning yet but I am studying and planning to try soon. It does require lots of patience and precise work. I would be a bit concerned about wood movement in the base of your bowl causing problems down the road. Did you consider that in the design and did you account for it in some way?

-- RonR, Massachusetts

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 3765 days

#12 posted 08-14-2011 06:43 AM

One of the best first turnings I have ever seen. Terrific lines and shape

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View nerdkraft's profile


57 posts in 4301 days

#13 posted 10-18-2011 06:10 AM

Gorgeous bowl! Thank you for the wonderful write up!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5335 days

#14 posted 10-19-2011 02:53 AM

That’s still a very COOL bowl!

I love the way it was constructed…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View dStar's profile


8 posts in 3642 days

#15 posted 12-30-2011 04:20 PM

This is a beautiful piece. I picked up a lathe a few weeks ago and have been dying to try something like this., So far all I’ve turned is the exterior of a bowl from a piece of cedar firewood. I didn’t think it through and don’t have a proper chuck to hold it from the exterior to finish the interior, but I suppose it’s my fault for being too eager to turn something before actually having a plan. ;)
Either way, I saw the finished piece in your projects and it looks great!

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