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Project Idea: Turning a Bangle Bar

by Ray Bissonette
Snyder, NY

Note: click on any picture to see a larger version.

Editors Note: Other turnings by Ray appeared in our Show Us Your Woodturning column in the June 2013 issue of The Highland Woodturner .

Recently, a neighbor told me of her plans to make a bracelet holder from the core of a paper towel roll.

I wondered if something a bit more interesting could emerge from a lathe. Initially, I envisioned some kind of T shape with a base, spindle, and horizontal bar as the hanger. But her use of the towel core was deliberate: she did not want a hanger but a cylinder of sufficient girth to hold and display her bracelets as they would appear when worn. My horizontal bar, then, would need at least a couple inches of circumference, which would make it bulky and top-heavy. So I began to consider hollowing the cylinder by reverse or inside-out turning. Given the lapse of at least 25 years since I had once experimented with that technique it seemed a bit intimidating, but I thought I'd try using whatever stock I could scavenge in my basement. What I found was a couple pieces of long-ignored mahogany. There was just enough to complete the three components — base, spindle, and cylinder.

Design and dimensions were only rough ideas and remained so as the project evolved. I drew no pictures, plotted no dimensions, but worked entirely free form. The closest thing to a pattern was a mental image of a paper towel roll. What I did plan was a base that would be functional as a receptacle for odd pieces of jewelry and a spindle turned off-center to provide a little interest and satisfy my enjoyment of eccentric turning. It also seemed desirable to make it without glue or fasteners to simplify relocation and placement in a drawer where it would surely spend its later years.

The temperature in Buffalo now persists in the low twenties. My lathe resides in an unheated garage connected by cellar stairs to some basement tools and a workbench. Such is my "shop." I could easily attribute any turning flaws to stiff fingers but what you see would be no better if completed in Cancun.

If you've read this far you may wish to visit my website. The images there as well as those featured in this article were created by my friend, George, whose photographic skill makes my work suitable for viewing: http://www.bevelrider.com .

You can email Ray at rbissone@buffalo.edu . You can also see more of his work at his personal website, bevelrider.com .

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