Ringmaster allows you to create bowls and hollow vessels without turning.

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Review by cajunpen posted 01-21-2008 12:31 PM 27812 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Ringmaster allows you to create bowls and hollow vessels without turning. Ringmaster allows you to create bowls and hollow vessels without turning. No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

The Ringmaster allows you to create any bowl or hollow vessel that you can create on a lathe – without needing to know how to turn. You can take any flat board between 1/2” and 1” and about 12”x12” and create a bowl, lamp, vase, etc. – from a single piece of wood. You can also combine species to make interesting contrasting projects. Below are a couple of simple projects that I made a couple of years ago. These are simple – there are those out there using the Ringmaster that have completed very complex and interesting pieces.
The rings are individually cut and eventually glued up to complete your project. Individual rings are between 1/4” and 5/16” (I believe) and are all cut at a specific angle, depending on the thickness of the wood. Once the rings are all glued up you can mount it to your Ringmaster or lathe (using a special adapter) and sand to final shape and apply the finish of your choice. Creating a perfect finish can sometimes be a problem, since you are working with both end grain and long grain – in the same ring.
The learning curve for the Ringmaster is fairly shallow. You should be able to complete a successful project within a few hours of setting up the machine (which is very simple). The process begins with selecting a flat piece of stock – the flatter the better – you then mark an exact center location on the piece of wood – in this case we will use a 12”x12” piece. Find the center and using a compass draw the largest circle that you can, then drill a 1/2” hole in the center, cut off the corners. Using the supplied angle guide and directions you set the machine for the suggested angle and load your peice of wood. To load the wood you simply slide the board onto the 1/2” bollt and tighten down the nut to hold it in place. You move the 2 cutters in position on the first circle and cut the outer circle (moving the front cutter halfway in and the rear cutter halfway toward the front to make the cut.
There are some incremental holes on the machine which will determine the thickness of each ring. After determining the thickness that you want – you simply follow that set of holes in. After making the first cut, you move the indexing pin to the next hole (thickness hole) and make the next cut – this will release your first ring. Your bowl is underway – just keep cutting until you are out of rings to cut. The part that remains on your machine will become the base of your bowl.
Now you are ready for glue up. You have a board, mine is a piece of 3/4” plywood about 18”x18” with about an 18” piece 1/2” threaded rod running through it. You take the first ring off the machine (your largest ring) and lay it upside down, then line up your next ring – apply glue and work your way up to the last ring. Once you have that last ring in place you put the bottom on (the piece that was left after your last ring was cut) and glue it in place. Tighten down the nut and washer and let it dry for about an hour. I use Titebond II or III glue.

Once it’s dry, load it back on the machine (or lathe) and begin sanding.

There may be several sources for purchasing the Ringmaster – I have dealt with The Wooden Post Gary Neely is so helpful and friendly that I don’t think that I would go anywhere else to buy one. He also sell pen supplies – for you pen makers. There is also a Yahoo Users Group Forum that may offfer more insight if anyone is interested.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4839 days

11 comments so far

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4647 days

#1 posted 01-21-2008 12:55 PM

Thanks for the review, Caj. I have seen some terrific looking “turnings” from a tool I had never even heard about before. I am guessing it is not inexpensive, right?

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4735 days

#2 posted 01-21-2008 03:55 PM

I have one of these that came with my Shopsmith. It has collected dust for about 18 years now. Maybe I’m waiting for 20. LOL

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View woodgizmo's profile


43 posts in 4676 days

#3 posted 01-21-2008 04:39 PM

What an interesting tool.

Anybody know of any videos of this tool in action???

-- Hard work spotlights the character of people; some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all!

View gizmodyne's profile


1784 posts in 4863 days

#4 posted 01-21-2008 05:17 PM

Interesting tool. Takes some visualization skills.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View mot's profile


4927 posts in 4809 days

#5 posted 01-21-2008 05:56 PM

I picked up one of these used. I retrofitted it as an attachment to my Nova DVR, just this weekend. You’re right, Bill…the flatter the better. There is a video at

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 4551 days

#6 posted 01-22-2008 09:24 AM

I just got one for my Shopsmith, there is a real free 45 minute usage video with start to finish bowls and several downloads needed to do anything really useful with the RingMaster. This tool is about math, it was invented to teach. Also if you really want to do the kind of stuff you see on the various website you need software. Some basic free stuff is at the link above. If you want to do very fast design you need “ProtoShaper” which allows interactive design of most things the tool can do with 4 standard wall thicknesses. Once you make the rings, you glue them up and the part most people don’t realize is you mount the bowl back on a lathe or on the standalone RingMaster and finish turning it. This device is about saving wood and easy hollow turning blanks.

If you use expansive wood to make hollow forms yo could pay for this tool with the savings a just a few bowls.

-- Paul, Beaverton OR,

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