Turning a Square Plate


A Pictorial Article by Bob Hamilton


Note:  In this article I am describing the methods I used to turn a piece of wood that starts out and remains square.  That means that in addition to the normal hazards associated with turning wood there are extra hazards caused by the invisible corners of the spinning blank.  Treat the workpiece with same respect that you would a spinning saw blade.  Always rotate the piece by hand after positioning or re-positioning the tool rest to ensure that its path is clear and then keep everything except the cutting edge of the tool behind the tool rest.  Use your safety equipment and if anything does not feel safe to you, then don’t do it!



            This is the way I turned this square plate.  I am not saying it is the only way or even the right way, just my way.  I started out with a piece of 4/4 white ash that was an offcut from a flat work project.  It happened to be 7 Ό” long and 7 ½” wide.  I set my band saw fence and trimmed it to 7 Ό” square.  Then I used a straight edge corner to corner to find the centre and used an awl to make a starting dimple.


Photo #1:  Starting blank


            I then took the piece to my drill press and bored a 1” hole about 3/8” deep to expand my chuck jaws into for the initial turning.


Photo #2:  Chucking hole


            My initial mounting was on my Talon chuck with the step jaws installed.  The smallest portion of the step jaws will fit into a 7/8” hole, which makes it very handy for making candle holders.  It will get a good grip on this blank.


Photo #3:  Talon with step jaws installed


            I slip the hole over the first step of the jaws and seat the face of the blank against the second step of the jaws, then expand the jaws to grip the hole.


Photo #4:  Initial mounting



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