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Gaps Between Segmented Rings

Richard Hnatyk

PRO Member
Hello Everyone.

I'm in the process of creating my first segmented bowl using the Segment PRO software and Stomper. I didn't have any problems gluing up the segments to make a ring (i.e. no gaps), but when I assembled the rings I got a couple of rings with small gaps. I ran the rings through my drum sander on both sides to get a consistent height. I verified that the sander is indeed level by measuring the rings at several different locations with a caliper.

So the only thing I can guess is that there's not enough pressure (weight) on the rings during glue-up. I'm using a 10 lb weight.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Richard Hnatyk
Hi Richard.
My experience is 10 lbs is enough. Ray Allen years ago said something like, if it doesn't fit correctly before gluing, it will not fit correctly after gluing.
A drum sander is good for getting rings close to level throughout. There are lots of reason why they may not come out perfect when using a drum sander. To that end, I would suggest the following.

- Use a sanding board after running rings through a drum sander to make sure one side is perfectly flat.
To check that the ring side is flat I use a good metal straight edge against the ring and hold it up to a light. I check various spots along the ring. If you see light, the ring is not flat.
- Mount the ring onto the base. (mounted to the face plate). After it has dried, mount the vessel onto the lathe. Using a sanding block flatten the ring top. I sometimes will mark the ring with pencil marks. When the marks are removed I know the ring is flat.
- Flatten the one side of the next ring. Check it for flatness.
- Glue the ring to the project.
- Back to the lathe for sanding of the top of the ring.
- Rinse and repeat.
Bottom line building a segmented vessel is not a hurry up process.
Thanks for the advice. I'll give your technique a try. I wasn't going to the lathe after each ring glue up. Rather, when the glue set on one ring (15 minutes or so), I added another until I got to 6 or 7 rings. Then I let it set overnight and took it to the lathe to "rough turn" and flatten the face. Then back to the stomper to glue up the remaining 6 or 7 rings. Perhaps, as you say, I just need to slow down and do one at a time.

But really, is it going to take 13 days to glue up one bowl?
- Richard
You may not need to do every ring on the lathe to flatten. You can use the sanding board . Use the straight edge to check for flatness.
As I do not have a drum sander I will mount a ring in my Jumbo Jaws (Coles Jaws) and flatten it with a sanding board. Sometimes I will even take just a small cut with my 1" round nose scraper if there is any unevenness. Like Mike said put some pencil lines on the ring and ensure that they are gone after sanding. I still take a straight edge and check it for flatness in a few spots. I then mount my bowl on the tailstock and bring them together to do the glue up. I add marks on one side of the segments for the centre of the segment edge length to aid in alignment. I will turn and flatten that new ring about 2 hours after I glue it up. I can still get 3 or 4 rings per day added.
My drum sander would leave little divots as the hardness of the wood changed. I guess it just wasn't stiff enough. This would leave small gaps between rings that annoyed me, even though I was the only one who could see them. What is now working for me is to put a dried ring in my cole jaw chuck and turn the face flat. Of course it isn't really flat so I scribble a pencil line across the face then sand it flat with some 80 grit velcroed to some 3/4" plywood. When all the lines vanish, it's flat. Turn the ring over and repeat. When I dry fit two rings together now, there is no gap so I can glue them up.
I don't use the rubber jaws though. I just use flathead screws as the jaws and let the sharp edges bite into the raw edges of the ring. That holds the ring very solidly.
Flat head screws are a great idea,thanks Ken
Are "cole jaws the same as Jumbo jaws?
Yes, Cole Jaws and Jumbo Jaws are the same just a different vendor.

I also just use a screw and not the rubber bumpers. It will hold rings down to about 1/4 inch thick and still be below the surface.
Just a thought, would a indicator for metal lathe turning be helpful or a overkill, I also watched a video that what was being used was a piece of threaded rod and nuts ,sort of like a apple press.
I don't understand. Are you talking about turning rings on a metal lathe or rigging a saddle and cross slide on a wood lathe?
Just a thought, would a indicator for metal lathe turning be helpful or a overkill, I also watched a video that what was being used was a piece of threaded rod and nuts ,sort of like a apple press.

imo using a indicator would be an overkill. As suggested you can put pencil lines on the face to be flattened. Then sand away till the pencil lines are gone. I also have put a good flat edge on the ring and hold the ring up to a light source. if you can't see light between the ruler and the ring at various positions , the ring is flat.