Homemade lathe face plate

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Project by footprints posted 12-22-2013 05:11 PM 4757 views 11 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This homemade face plate to hold bowls was made possible by a discovery at Home Depot. While digging around in the specialty hardware section (you know, the weird stuff they have in tiers of drawers) I discovered what they call an expandable nut. This is a 1/4-20 nut molded into a 13/16 long rubber sleeve. When you tighten it down, the rubber bulges out.

I band sawed a rough circle of melamine covered particle board and mounted it to the 4” diameter metal faceplate of my lathe and turned it true. Twelve 1/4” slots were routed through the faceplate and the expandable nuts threaded onto bolts. I bring the tail stock of the lathe up against the center of the bottom of the bowl to hold it in place while the bolts are tightened to hold the bowl. A large hose clamp goes around the circumference of the bolts to apply inward pressure and you are ready to turn the base of the bowl. It works very well.

Here is my first attempt at a segmented bowl from zebra wood and blood wood. I learned a lot, made quite a few mistakes and look forward to trying again soon. These types of really hard woods dull even the best turning tool quickly so I bought some tungsten carbide inserts (available from Harrison Industries and Amazon) and mounted them on some 1/2” steel square bar stock. They last forever and when they get dull you just rotate them to a new edge.

-- Ray, Lakeland, FL

4 comments so far

View rayn's profile


179 posts in 3725 days

#1 posted 12-22-2013 06:12 PM

Great idea for the faceplate and an excellent first attempt on the bowl

-- Ray,Iowa

View Dutchy's profile


3422 posts in 2675 days

#2 posted 12-22-2013 07:34 PM

View poospleasures's profile


833 posts in 2991 days

#3 posted 12-23-2013 01:27 PM

Nice tool—tools I like it when people make things in the way of tools and jigs to help reach such outstanding results as your bowl. I made a holder for bottom finishing very similar but I used rubber stoppers with dry wall screws for the holders and not lost a bowl since. I use carbide tools from Capt. Eddie. Try him for cutters. Good pricing.

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

View footprints's profile


45 posts in 3615 days

#4 posted 12-27-2013 09:07 PM

Great idea, poospleasures! A one hole rubber stopper typically used in high school chemistry class has the truncated cone shape that would really hold the bowl tightly – better than mine I suspect. It would eliminate the need for the hose clamp. I will retrofit mine and let you know how it turns out.

-- Ray, Lakeland, FL

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