The Leady Ring Cutter

The Ring Cutter

Turning an item from a solid block of wood usually involves a lot of wastage in the form of shavings. A number of methods and devices have been developed to reduce this wastage, but the Ring Cutter is quite a different approach in that it allows bowls, vases and similar items to be turned from thin board stock, such as the off-cuts from joinery shops or building sites.

Items made using the Ring Cutter

To make the bowl as shown below, start with a piece of wood approximately 19mm thick and large enough for a 250-300mm diameter disc. If necessary edge joint two or more offcuts together to achieve a board of sufficient size.

When the glue has fully cured, cut the board to a disc shape and mount on the lathe. Using conventional woodturning tools, turn the outer edge of the disc to a 55 degree angle (as shown below), with the help of the angle guide provided with the Ring Cutter.

Set up the Ring Cutter with the cutting blades 12mm in from the edge and using slow speed, cut steadily from the right side and then from the left until the ring of wood is cut through and ejected to the right. Switch the lathe off when the tool is almost through.

Cut three more rings, 12mm wide in identical fashion. Drill or turn a recess in the centre of the base (the remaining centre disc) to suit the chuck you are using.

Sand each ring on both sides, either on a disc sander or a flat sheet of abrasive paper, to ensure that they are flat and true.

Glue the rings together. assembling them back to front so that they form the bowl shape . Take care to apply the adhesive evenly to the whole contact area so that the finished shape won't come apart on the lathe. Alternate the grain direction at 90 degrees to the previous layer for added strength and stability.

A simple press (shown below) ensures a good bond between the layers, but a heavy weight can work just as well. When the adhesive has fully cured, mount the bowl on a lathe for the final shaping.

Turn the outside first, preferably using a bowl gouge to take a light slicing cut, and then proceed to turn the inside before sanding and finishing.

More complex shapes are also possible with the Ring Cutter. This 500mm high vase above was turned in three sections.

The inside of each section was finished and sealed separately, then the three sections were glued together and the outer surface turned on a lathe (a plug being used to hold the open end against the tailstock). The offcuts shown on the right hand side of the photograph were later used to make a smaller vase.

The outside of the vase can then be finished.

For further information regarding the Ring Cutter, contact

Bruce Leadbeatter
59 Turton Avenue
Clempton Park
NSW 2206

Telephone: (61 2) 9718 5395