Some other Plywood Turnings

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Project by Woodstock posted 07-23-2011 09:59 PM 6295 views 16 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I saw Darell’s posting of his very nice plywood bowl. (I never would of thought to layer diagonally. VERY nice effect. See I’ll have to give it a go.)

So I thought I’d post a couple of shots of some plywood turning that I did back when I first got my Oneway 2436 last year.

First picture is a glue-up of random stacks of plywood blocks. All have the same width, but have a length of some multiple of 1-6 “widths”. Just so the corners will line up. No matter how far I turned I kept finding discolored sections in the Baltic Birch ply. Hazards of turning ply I guess.

Second photo is Baltic Birch ply and a piece of red “rafflewood” that I won at the local club meeting. Just to give it some color. This turning helped me discover the need for a large homemade steady-rest. (Made of plywood of course.) This vessel (I laughingly call it a spittoon) chased me across the shop two different times when I was trying to hollow it out with a hand held gouge. Then I got smart and went on-line to LJ and researched a solution and made the steady-rest.

Third picture is a plywood and walnut bowl. After six months I’m still oscillating between whether or not I like it.

Since I’m still in the “plywood” phase of my turning life I’m been thinking about stacking layers of 3/4” ply vertically with the face out and segmenting say eight wedges together. I’m thinking it might give me scallop layers around the outside of a bowl or vessel. Which would look kinda cool.

All C & C welcome.

“Plywood- It isn’t just for jigs anymore….”


-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

19 comments so far

View adaughhetee's profile


104 posts in 4145 days

#1 posted 07-23-2011 11:30 PM

These projects look outstanding! They are some of the best plywood turnings I have seen. I really like the patterns and mixing it with the walnut.

View peteg's profile


4438 posts in 4285 days

#2 posted 07-23-2011 11:44 PM

Hey Dave, between you & Darell I think you may have started a breakaway group from the segmented boys, these are realy great turns, what a neat idea, I think there is a few miles left in this theme, Well done:)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27710 posts in 4567 days

#3 posted 07-24-2011 12:28 AM

That plywood looks very sweet with the vertical grain! I’ll have to try that! Thanks, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5788 days

#4 posted 07-24-2011 01:19 AM

these designs are really cool Dave. for what it’s worth I like the walnut piece and think you should too!

View shipwright's profile


8816 posts in 4260 days

#5 posted 07-24-2011 02:21 AM

Great Ideas. I like the Shreddies bowl.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View rance's profile


4282 posts in 4622 days

#6 posted 07-24-2011 02:58 AM

Nice variety. I like the vase the best.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View PurpLev's profile


8654 posts in 5110 days

#7 posted 07-24-2011 03:02 AM

thats a beautiful plate. I like the effect the ply gives it

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1939 posts in 5134 days

#8 posted 07-24-2011 04:22 AM

That is very interesting, and very appealing! How did you come up with this idea?

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View Darell's profile


448 posts in 5056 days

#9 posted 07-24-2011 05:47 AM

WOW, Dave, I like all of those, especially the vase. You’re much more creative than I am but you’ve definately given me some ideas for the future. I’ve got a good bit of plywood scrap laying around so I may just play some more with it. I found that it dulled my bowl gouge pretty quick. Wish I had some carbide tools to try on plywood. Thanks for posting.

-- Darell, Norman, Ok.

View murch's profile


1380 posts in 4086 days

#10 posted 07-24-2011 01:40 PM

I like them all. Great use of affordable and plentiful raw material.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View cranesgonewild's profile


344 posts in 4370 days

#11 posted 07-24-2011 03:40 PM

I like the use of the plywood.
I’ve never seen ply used in turning before until I saw Darell’s yesterday.
It’s a great way to use up scrap ply that most of us have lying around.

-- I'm a Fungi --

View marter1229's profile


437 posts in 4972 days

#12 posted 07-24-2011 06:35 PM

They are Beautiful turnings.

-- It's all fun, Terry******N. Idaho

View Woodstock's profile


266 posts in 4750 days

#13 posted 07-24-2011 08:15 PM

Thank you all for the comments. I wasn’t sure how using a non-standard material would be viewed in the turning community after talking to a couple of “purists” in the beginning that encourage me not to try. But I think the results speak for themselves.

There are two things to be aware of turning ply. One is that you need serious dust filtration both in the shop and worn by the turner. With ply you don’t really get much shavings. You get very serious dust. Not good to breath.

Second is that ply dulls you tools very quickly. So you need to keep touching up the tools every few minutes with whatever method you use to resharpen. I’m not trying to discourage anyone. Actually the opposite. It’s just what you need to prepared to do when turning ply. I really hope others will try turning ply. Let me know if you do.

I’ve debated whether or not to consider this “segmented” turning. An argument could be made for both sides. It certainly is not your standard turning made up of 100’s of “wedge” shaped pieces of wood glued up in rings and stacked.

In listening to Malcome Tibbetts and Curt Theobald (who are the “godfathers” of segmented turning) several times now talking about segmented turnings in AAW 2010 and AAW 2011, They are very adamant that one does not ever glue up face grain to end grain due to the different expansion characteristics of wood across the grain as opposed to with the grain. And they do have a point for natural wood. So many glue joints can fail if not properly assembled due to seasonal expansion changes due to humidity.

My argument is that since ply comes with layers already 90 degrees to one another the point is somewhat mute. So far I haven’t seen any delamination of the pieces, and I have taken them from the dry west coast to rainstorms in Utah, to Denver (4 times now) and to St. Paul MN last month, where the humidity was very high. No signs of problems so far.

I have to chuckle about calling it a “Shreddies bowl”. That’s good. I’ll remember that one.

matt garcia-
I have a book called “500 Wood Bowls” published by Lark Books (no authors listed). Some major eye candy in there. I often go there for ideas. All jury winners and gallery quality pieces. The pieces listed are of the quality that it will take me several lifetimes to achieve their level of skill. Almost every page has a “Wow! How’d they do that!?” factor. I highly recommend this book for inspiration. Even has several pieces that contain ply. (GRIN) (Se Stephen Gleason pg 126. And others.)

The ply plate idea was from a piece by Fletcher Cox on page 259. But he used a sprinkling of dark wood squares in the ply mix and a dark wood rim.

I have since bought a set of “Easy Wood Tools” all which have replaceable carbide cutters. I do like them for most turnings. The carbide tips do last quite a while. But ply will dull them up too. But not nearly as fast as the HSS tools go dull.

Any other question, just ask.


-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5862 days

#14 posted 07-24-2011 09:56 PM

Dave: I also like the Shreddies bowl, How about on the ply inserts that you alternate between horizontal and vertical.

-- 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 Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 4586 days

#15 posted 12-20-2011 12:06 AM

Who would’ve thunk – it’s gorgeous!!!!


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