Re: recess vs tenon *PIC*
Response To:
Re: recess vs tenon ()

John K Jordan
I like a recess over a tenon on some pieces for several reasons.

I break the law of "woodturners who claim to be in charge of all design" by leaving the tenon in the final piece. I decorate around it and it looks fine to me, in fact, I get a lot of positive comments by both non-woodturners and woodturners. I typically sand and even finish the base before I reverse and turn the top/inside. This eliminates the need to reverse the piece and clean up the bottom, especially on pieces that are difficult to hold without a vacuum chuck or special methods.

I start with the blank on a screw chuck and turn and finish the base, then reverse and hold by the recess to do the top/inside. Once the top and rim are smoothed and finished the piece is done.

I find a recess of 1/8" or less plenty strong enough to hold even large pieces, such as this ~20" platter, as long as the wood is good. The recess here comprises just the radiused inside edges of the three kind-of-triangular decorative elements. (Someone prone to massive catches may prefer to do something different.)

I always use recess in these, partially because I leave the base thick and heavy for looks and balance, and partially because it eliminates the final reversing and cleanup step. Note that I almost always turn dry wood.

Some other decorated recesses, a 15" platter:


The recess also makes a useful place to write things, giving a bit of shadow-box effect.

I know several woodturners who told me this method was wrong, wrong, wrong who have since gone over to the dark side and now use this method in some of their own pieces.


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