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Flattening rings


PRO Member
I feel sure that this must have been asked before but please forgive me if it has. Being new to segmented turning I am going through the learning curve that I am sure all of the experienced turners have been through. In this case figuring out the best way to consistently flatten rings on both sides and so both side are parallel to each other. There are many fairly easy ways to flatten one side but the other side can be a challenge. I have experimented somewhat both on and off the lathe but can't say that I am particularly happy with anything one appraoch right now. I would be most grateful for experienced suggestions. A drum sander would be perfect but I have neither the space nor the funds for that.


Super Moderator
Staff member
It is more time consuming without a drum sander to flatten rings.

One option is to purchase a cole jaw for your lathe. They are under $100 dollars.
Attach your ring to the jaw and use a sanding block to flatten one side Then mount the ring on your vessel. Using a sanding block sand the ring flat.
I tend to use a pencil to mark the side I am sanding. when all the marks are gone the ring should be flat. I double check with a good straight edge at various spots on the ring to look for gaps.

Second option is to make a large sanding board and hand sand one side flat. Mount the ring on the vessel. Use a sanding block to sand the top side.

If you are building a 10" diameter vessel make a sanding block that is 12" in length.

Doing a simple search of "sanding rings flat segment bowls" will give you some good sites to view on sanding rings.

Ken Sherwin

PRO Member
My sanding block is 24" long so I can brace the end against the the lathe ways with one hand and push it flat against the ring with the other hand. It gives me very good position control of the block. I also flatten both sides of each ring in the cole jaws rather than wait until glue-up time.


I flatten one side of each ring, glue it to the base or the last ring, Flatten it with a gouge and a flat board with coarse paper glued on. then it's ready for the next ring.....easy and quiock.

Dan Cannon

PRO Member
I used the cole jaws for a while which worked fine. Drum sander is nowhere near my budget. But when I started making some larger rings, or thin stock that was too thin to sit proud of the cole jaw pins, I had to get creative. I've since made a large MDF disc mounted to a faceplate. I marked the disc roughly every inch in diameter so I could center the rings onto the disc by eye - no need for perfection here. I use double sided carpet tape to hold the ring to the mdf disc and use a sanding board (sand paper on a piece of plywood) to sand each side flat on the lathe. The carpet tape holds strong, but comes off clean. So far it has worked perfectly, they've all flattened very nicely. Just to be sure, I do true them up as I stack and glue them but have never found one to need much additional sanding at all. Just an alternative - hybrid of the good ideas above.

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PRO Member
I did some digging and discovered that what I am already doing may be OK. 15 years ago I was at a woodworking show and bought a kit from Stockroom Supply (a plug for a good Canadian company) for an 18" V drum sander. It is kind of a poor man's drum sander. It has been sitting in the corner of my shop collecting dust, lots of dust :). I thought it might be good for flattening one side of a ring and gave it a try and it seemed to work OK. After glue up I flatten the other side on the lathe using a 9" sanding disc fastened to a face plate attached to a tail-stock chuck adapter. I move the tail stock until the disc just touches the work piece and run the lathe at 325 rpm. I gradually advance the tail stock very slowly. You need to hang and wear gloves in case the disc takes off on you. I may try at a lower speed for safety. Of course the disc must be perfectly flat on both sides.


PRO Member
I meant to add that I flatten small rings (up to 4" OD) using a sheet of 80 grit sandpaper attached to plate glass with spray adhesive. Plate glass is perfectly flat for woodworking purposes and is not expensive.

Mark Inmon

PRO Member
Can someone tell me what this is that is cutting the ring? I seen a video of this and he squares it to the using a large faceplate in the tail stock.


PRO Member
In the end I raided the piggy bank and bought a Laguna 1632 drum sander. Boy what a difference it has made. I love it. Like many things in life I now realize what I have been missing! The quality of my stock and ring prep has gone to the next level which can only make the overall process quicker and more satisfying. I realize that this is a major investment but it has brought me great satisfaction. I had been thinking how I could use the "scraps" from turning bowls. I came across an article on pen making which I foolishly left lying around. My wife found it, that was my first mistake, and now I am making pens and really enjoying it. I was telling a woodworking friend and he turned up at my home with a whole pile of suitable pieces (offcuts from his work) including some lignum vitae which finishes beautifully. Pens have already gone to our children and grandchildren. For me the two activities seem to go together quite well. Like all aspects of woodworking I am discovering that pen making is a huge subject that could easily consume you, if you let it!