Question on stability on ring handles turned on lathe.

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Project by Richard posted 10-14-2013 06:29 PM 2111 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am wondering if any others have used a solid 6/4 ring handles turned on a lathe for a project. I am wondering if the handle will remain stable or will cracks develop over time which would weaken the wood?

A few years ago I turned some ring handles on my new lathe for practice which I threw them to the dog and she carried them off to the pasture to chew on them. Well three years later I found the wooden rings in the pasture and it was pretty much intact besides some mold and some teeth marks on it. I was surprised that the outdoor weather didnt do more damage to them. I then considered using them in my sea chest designs.

I was using a wide variety of wood species, but now I am only using hickory, walnut, and black locust, with several coats of finish on them. I am wondering if the ring handles will last. What are your thoughts?

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

3 comments so far

View doubleDD's profile


10702 posts in 3286 days

#1 posted 10-14-2013 07:52 PM

As far as the ring handles go , they should be fine as long as the wood was stable and dry at the time you turned it. Of course depending on how much weight it will be picking up can change that a lot.
Get a protective finish on them as the chest. Fine looking chest by the way. I have been looking for a certain hardware for mine but your rings give me a great idea. Thanks for posting.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View JamesVavra's profile


306 posts in 4559 days

#2 posted 10-15-2013 11:57 AM

There is a really small, short-grain section on each side that will be the weak point. I’ve turned much smaller rings (finger sized) and they always split on the short grain. In my case, the shortest fibers were less than 1/8” while in your ring it could be an inch? That’s not a lot of meat to hold a heavy chest. I did have much more success when laminating multiple thin pieces together at different angles, basically making homemade plywood. I used veneer due to the small size, but if you’re doing 6/4 stock, you could glue up three 1/2” thick boards at different angles and dramatically improve your strength.


View DocSavage45's profile


9069 posts in 4085 days

#3 posted 10-27-2013 02:03 PM

I’ve had would be stable for a very long time and then it would start checking and splitting. Your chances improve with tight grain.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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