Woodturning A Segmented Bracelet

Woodturning A Segmented Bracelet

Hi, Alan Stratton from As Wood Turns
Today, I’m going to make a segmented bracelet. It has two contrasting colors of wood. A total
of 84 segments. The two outer rings and the center ring are closed segment rings and the
lighter color woods are open segment rings. A total of 84pieces. It’s going to be quite
an interesting project here. I’ll use a variety of tools here. I’ll
use a chop saw – One with a jig setup on it, a very important part of that is the wooden
hold down so that if there is any cut accidental, it is on the wood and not on a finger. I’ll
use a band clamp to clamp the segments together while they’re gluing. I’ll use yellow
glue on the closed segment rings. I’ll use white glue on open segment rings. And, I’ll
use hot melt glue to fasten the bracelet to the chuck. Now the chucks that I’ll use
are wooden chucks that I’ve made out of poplar. I’ll describe these in another video
as I like them. And, I’m also using a home built expansion bracelet chuck for the bracelet.
And, I’ll describe this in a separate video also.
So. Let’s make a bracelet Let’s have some fun.
The first order of business is to cut all the segments. For this bracelet, I needed
three layers of the redish wood. Each layer requires twelve segments for a total of thirty
six segments plus a couple spare plus a few to tune up the saw angle and the segment size.
At this scale, a small difference in the segment length or the segment angle can mean a lot
in the outcome because it is multiplied by twelve.
Once the saw is ready, it is a repetitive process. Position the wood, wedge the wood
in place, hold the segment side of the cut with a wood holder, saw the segment, and retrieve
the cut segment. Rinse and repeat. One difference here is the strip of honey locust as this
wood is left over from a previous project. I’m counting on it be turned away. Usually,
I would need to flip the wood with every cut. However, I needed the honey locust to be all
on the inside. This meant I needed to make an additional cut.
Don’t try this without a jig. Mine is derived from a design by Malcolm Tibbetts. Never try
to hold the segment with your fingers unless you don’t want your fingers anymore. My
wooden segment hold down piece has the scars from misplacement when starting a cut. You
don’t want these scars on your fingers. For these 12 segment rings, the angles are
15 degrees. Next is to cut the segments from the lighter
maple. Two rings at twenty four segments add up to 48 total segments. These are all at
5.5 degrees. Without the extra wood on the side of the maple, I just flipped the board
with every cut to get my trapezoidal piece. Now when it came to gluing the segments together,
I first glued pairs of segments together. I spread yellow glue on the joint, rubbed
them together, positioned them so the honey locust joint lined up, and held them together
for a couple of seconds on parchment paper. After a few minutes, I stood them up so the
bottom could dry also. From here, I probably should have gone for
gluing half rings. However, I did glue pairs of pairs together the same way as I had previously.
Since these are 12 segment rings, a half ring is 6 segments. So for each set of four glued
together, I reserved one pair for the next gluing session.
Finally, I could glue half rings together. Four segments plus a two segment piece get
the same treatment as before. Here I tried to give them a little extra clamping pressure
with rubber bands. Before gluing the full ring together, I did
a little sanding on a disc sander. First, I flattened one side just a little to even
out any glue lines. This did not have to be completely smooth, just enough to allow the
half ring to lie flat on the sanding table. I didn’t want to remove any more wood than
I had to. Then with the one flat side down, I lightly sanded the two ends of the half
ring to remove any accumulated error. Before moving on, I tested each ring to ensure they
mated together without any gap. Then back to the glue table. After applying glue, I
used a band clamp to clamp the two halves together.
With the rings completed, I glued each to a wood faceplate with hot melt glue. The wood
faceplates are nice because I can have as many as I want. For this project I needed
two. I ran a bead of hot melt glue along every other segment around the ring between the
segment and the faceplate but not under. Hot melt glue is sufficient for the light tooling
I needed to do to flatten these outer rings. I made pencil marks on the face of the rings
and sanded until all pencil marks were gone. Now its time to glue the first open segment
ring to the outer rings. I use white glue for all open segment gluing. If it oozes out,
it dries clear. For these open segments, I used a seg-Easy template. This holds all 24
small segments in position while I apply glue. A rubber band helps hold the segments in place
on the template. Then mount the outer ring on its faceplate on the lathe. With the template
on the tail stock, I carefully align the segments then run the tailstock up to the outer ring.
With the segments in place, I run damp pipe cleaners between segments to clean up any
glue squeeze out. After at least 30 minutes depending on shop temperature, I can gently
pry off the template, remove the faceplate with the glued up segments from the lathe
and set it aside to fully harden. While it hardens, I glued up another open segment ring
to the opposite outer ring in the same fashion on aq second fceplate.
Gluing the two outer assemblies together with the middle solid ring is a bit trickier. Here
we’re applying glue to the faces of 48 small segments. With this much to do, I drafted
my wife to help get all the glue spread quickly. Fortunately, it is winter and the shop is
cool – The glue is not drying quickly. The two outer ring assemblies are both on
faceplates. I have a TMI Reverse Chucking Alignment Adapter that matches my lathe spindle
and the Morse taper of the tail stock. One faceplate is threaded onto the reverse adapter
and mounted in the tailstock. All the open segments are fastened down at
this point, I needed to align the center ring with the two outer rings and clamp it together
on the lathe. Again, I used damp pipe cleaners to clean any glue squeeze out from between
the open segments. Whew – All gluing is finished now. I removed
the faceplate from one side of the bracelet and remounted it on the lathe. The hot melt
glue pops off very easily with a chisel. First I trimmed just a little of the outside with
a bowl gouge. I needed to take very light strokes here. I could not cut clear to the
faceplate because that would remove the hot melt glue that is still the only thing holding
the bracelet to the faceplate. Also, on the open segment, I’m cutting a lot of air as
the open spaces come around. It would be easy to really dig in.
Then on to roughing out the center. I started with a bowl gouge but switched first to a
round carbide tool. Then I replaced the round carbide with a squarish tip. The squarish
tip enabled me to cut a straight inside surface. The surface is complicated by the alternating
open and closed segments. Even with the carbide, I had to take it very easy.
I stopped often to feel the inner surface. I feared that the red sawdust would stain
the white maple when sanding. So, I sealed the bracelet with sanding sealer inside and
out. Finally, I sanded it starting with 180 grit up through 600 grit. Then I sprayed the
inside with lacquer. The inside is finished. Finally, it’s time to finish the outer surface.
For this I used my new home-built bracelet expansion chuck. I’ll describe it more in
a separate video. I held all the slats together with rubber bands and positioned a latex tube
ring and a band clamp loosely on the head stock plug and the tail stock plug. Another
latex tube ring is on the slats on the head stock end. The purpose of the latex rings
is to provide a soft surface around the band clamps in case my hands wander into the danger
zone around the band clamps. With all ready, I slid the bracelet onto the
slats and slid the slats onto the head stock plug and brought up the tail stock with its
plug with only hand pressure. I added a strip of rubber to protect the finished inner surface
of the bracelet. Then I tightened the tail stock until the bracelet was held solidly
on the chuck. Then I tightened the band clamps and retested the setup. When all was ready,
I positioned the latex rings next to the band clamps and covered the rings and band clamp
with duct tape. The latex rings and the duct tape are to hold down the outer end of the
band clamp and to protect my hands from any accidental contact with the band clamp. Don’t
omit the band clamps – Duct tape would not be sufficient to hold the slats safely together
if the bracelet happened to disintegrate. I used the roundish carbide cutter for the
outer surface. Then sand, starting with 180 grit thru 600 grit, and finished the bracelet with spray lacquer.


  1. "This one time, at band clamp…"

    Sorry – couldn't resist. 😉 This is an excellent video of how to do segmented turnings; a buddy of mine is going to love it. Pretty much all the segmented turnings I've seen take WAY too much patience for me; I tend to like the more natural look of regular wood to segmentings in most cases, but these bracelets look great! Fantastic contrast to the woods and great execution.

  2. Once you break it down, it's not that complicated. The hardest part was to get my mind around the jig.
    The segmented work has a lot of detail but it's repetitive.
    Little by little.

  3. Wow Alan, the project and jigs both were impressive. I loved the holder and am looking forward to the video on that. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your secrets.

  4. you did a good and beautiful cool job definatly we like it no need to say like it. Because its insult of your cool project,

  5. Hi what is yellow glue and white glue as in the uk we don't go by colour but name and brand this would be helpful to all non american viewers thanks Alan     

  6. Excellent work!!!! I've been perusing Youtube finding more turners who produce excellent pieces and I'm so glad I happened across your videos. I've had the pleasure to meet, and watch in person, such turners as Glenn Lucas, Cindy Drozda, and David Ellsworth (among others). Your turnings are very well done, beautiful, and your style and tool control is excellent. Thank you for the postings.

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