Turning Archive 2004

Segmented Turning - How to make a Zig-Zag

Mark Kauder
>First off – please forgive the crummy/blurry pictures. I was working quickly in a damned cold shop.

Creating a zig-zag segmented ring.

1)Laminate the wood, sandwich style. There is some calculating involved with how high your zig-zag will be based on the height of each lamination and the angle you cut it, but that is another subject. (or buy Lloyd Johnson’s Lamination Pro – www.woodturnerpro.com). This view is of the top. You need to make the lamination slightly thicker than the thickness that you want the ring to be. I generally start about 1Ύ” thick, and after cleaning up glue, etc with a jointer or planner, I want to end up with 1½”. This demonstration was done with a Ύ” thick lamination that I had laying around.

2) Set your miter gauge to the angle that you want, and cut one end to that angle.

3) Clamp a stop block to your fence, and set distance of the cut to be just slightly larger than you want the resulting segment to be (e.g. 15/16” is required for a 10 Ό” ring, so I would cut the strip 1” wide.). I also use a sacrifical fence on my miter gauge to cut down on chip out, but it is not absolutely necessary. The stop block on the fence is set so that after the strip is cut, it is not trapped between the fence and the blade. Cut your strips. Cut extra, you WILL mess up.

4) Here are the resulting parallelagrams. Re-adjust your miter gauge to 90 degrees, and set your fence/stop block and cut off the pointy ends. The results are squares or rectangles.

Safety note: For the next two operations, you will be cutting with the segment trapped between the stop block and the blade (at least with my set up). You need to maintain positive control of the segment – while keeping your fingers intact. You can do this with some sort of clamping arrangement, or as I do, with an Awl that I have bent the tip into a hook. I can hook the segment, pull it back into the fence and the stop block, and keep my hands well away from the blade. I have never had a problem with this method.

5) If you flip one of the strips right to left, you will get a zig-zag. Now, notice that I have marked the top of these strips to show which is top, and which side will be out. Lay out the whole ring worth of segments and extras and mark them.

6) Cutting the segments on a feature ring (for me) is different than normal segments. I attach a stop block on the left side of the blade. Now cut your first segment angle on one side. MAKE SURE that you cut all segments with the mark you made on them UP. If I were really using a segment this high, I would have to use my CMS, but normally my segments are no more than 1-1 ½” high.

7) Now set the stop block so that the next cut will result in a segment the width that you need. Cut all segments with the mark DOWN.

8) Once all segments are done, you can assemble your ring with whatever method you use. If you worked precisely, your zig-zags will line up.

As you can see, this same basic method can be the basis for darts, diamonds, etc. Carried out with precision and imagination you can end up with something as fantastic as this piece by our own Keith Tompkins.

Hope the helps.


© 1998 - 2017 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by
any means without the written permission of the publisher.