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Suggestions for 48 or more segments per row

I've done several open segment bowls with 24 and 36 segments per row, but my first attempt at 48 was a disaster (see photo). It's obvious I just didn't have enough glue surface (aka gaps too wide) and it blew apart. What degree or percentage do you use and have success turning? The plan in Segment Pro defaulted to 2° and that was what my wedgie suggested. But I'm thinking I should perhaps use 1.5° or even 1° to get a more stable object for turning. Suggestions?


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I am not experienced enough in open segment bowl turning to give any advice. The link below is to a discussion on breakage and possible solutions.

Hope it helps.
I have several suggestions but since you are already doing 36 segments, you are probably doing these things. Some of them are included in the link that Mike has provided.

First, all of the segments you cut be exactly the exact same thickness and the bowl you are gluing it to must be sanded so that the glue surface is perfectly flat. Glue will not span a gap and even the slightest gap means that that segment is not glued and it doesn’t take too many of these gaps to make the ring non-viable. Use a sanding block on the lathe to make sure the bowl’s glue surface is perfectly flat before gluing.

Next, use fresh, extended time glue. You can either buy it extended or you can pour glue into a plastic dispenser and add water. I talked to a Titebond representative and he said that water would not alter the glue properties but it would slow down the process a bit. He did say that glue does lose its holding ability over time. I buy my glue from sources that lets me buy 12 smaller bottles in a package. If a package hasn’t been opened, it hasn’t started deteriorating.

Next, find ways to speed up the gluing process. Since you’ve done 24 and 36 segments, you may already be using the Stomper. I have my Stomper mounted in the center of a wooden bar stool and that lets me sit in a chair so that the SegEasy surface is at a great working height. I use a glue applicator with a small, curved nozzle and that lets me keep the glue in my right hand suspended over the surface and that hand never changes position while I rotate the plate with my left hand after each segment has been glued. I first do all of the glue on the right edge of each segment and then reposition my right hand for gluing the left edges. I always have the nozzle in contact with the wood so that the glue is spread a bit and therefore, I always start from the outside and push in so that the segment won’t move. This should give you plenty of time to glue 48 segments with extended glue. Here is a link to the applicator I use:

Accordion Style Squeezable Glue Container with Glue Injector Needle and Cap 3 Pack

Next, when you do intermediate turning or even if you turn after each ring, don’t ever touch the last ring you’ve added. Those segments are not locked in place until another ring has been added on top of it.

Next, you have to use a very sharp turning solution that slices the wood fibers as opposed to any solution that uses brute force. I prefer to use a tool with a round carbide disk with a raised edge. Whenever I use that tool, I loosen it and turn it to a new random position. You are only making contact at a tiny fraction of the disk and it is likely that a random location will give a fresh cutting edge. I always turn the inside as I go but I don’t turn the outside until I reach the widest part of the bowl and then I use my tailstock with an MDF disk cut for the proper diameter that gives equal pressure to the turning while I turn the outside. I then start a new turning to do the remainder of the bowl and then join the halves.

It seems to me that the most likely explanation is gaps that may not be seen but affect the viability of the glue joints. You need very little glue to make rings stay together but a few unseen glue gaps is a killer.

If anyone has other suggestions, please add them here.