Project Idea: Turning a Bangle Bar
by Ray Bissonette
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
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:
You can email Ray at
. You can also see more of his work at his personal website,