Turning Archive 2005

Maybe There's a Better Way...
Response To:
Glue Block Ratio ()

Wally Dickerman
>Yes, you do need a smaller faceplate. The 3 inch size is the one you'll most of the time.

I use glue blocks for most of my bowl and vessel turning. However, I think there's a better way for platters. I've made lots of platters, and I've tried various methods of fastening the blank to the lathe. 4-jaw chuck, glue block, jam-fit chuck, hot-melt glue, but the best in my opinion is double faced tape. (I did a demo on just that at our club last Saturday)

There are several things that you must do to successfully use tape. You must use the correct tape. Carpet tape is unreliable, and so is any kind of paper tape. The best I've found is Permacel, a cloth tape, as sold by Craft Supplies, Packard and others.

My method is to first mount the blank, using a screw chuck. A faceplate, or the screw center that comes with most 4-jaw chucks will work. I turn the base to prepare it for the tape. In fact, I turn the whole underside of the platter at this time. The area for the tape must be true and flat, just as if you were making a glue joint. I sand that area down to 600 and turn a small design on it. The faceplate I'd use for a 12 inch platter would be a 3 inch one. (The size formula that I use for the foot of a platter is 2/5th to 1/2 the diameter of the platter). I got that from Ray Key, who has made and sold many hundreds of platters. The tape is applied to the faceplate, which is then centered and mounted on the blank. You must clamp it securely for a minute or two. I use a large wooden parallel clamp. After reversing the piece and completing the turning, I remove the piece by inserting a 1/2-inch thick turned plug into the opening on the faceplate, remounting the piece, As you slowly thread the faceplate on the spindle the plug easily pushes the finished platter off the faceplate. (I got $75 from Wood Magazine for that tip) It was later published in the American Woodturner. If you've done this properly, you can trust the tape to hold. In fact, you can't pull it off if you try.

I've turned platters up to 22 inches using a 6 inch faceplate and tape.

Double faced tape won't work with wet wood.


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