This is the vessel featured in the Seg-Easy booklet.
The Seg-Easy plate was originally conceived to be a user friendly way for beginners to make open segmented vessels. It did that and more. Master turners such as Dennis Keeling discovered the spot on accuracy of this method and have taken it's use beyond what we expected. I have seen a beginners version of this vessel on a show and tell table along side a master work, both made utilizing the Seg-Easy plate.
The Seg-Easy Plate is a simple solution for the woodturner.
For the required stiffness, attach the SegEasy plate to a 3/4” thick piece of MDF or plywood cut to the same diameter as the plate, using #6 x 3/4” flat-head wood screws.
Drill a 1/8” center hole through the MDF disk. This hole must be absolutely perpendicular or alignment errors can occur when gluing the segments. Use the drill bit as a pin to align the SegEasy Plate with the MDF. Drill the holes for the #6 x 3/4” flat-head screws with a self-centering bit and attach. If you have both plates, you can put one on each side of the MDF or plywood using the same procedure.
Material preparation is one of the most important tasks. Plane material to the desired thickness and rip into the required strip widths. Be sure to add 3 inches or so in length to keep your fingers a safe distance away from the blade when cutting segments (I have already done this in the chart on the left). If your planer is snipe-prone like mine, just exclude that part of the board. Mark the layer number on the end of each strip. I always cut a couple of extra segments and save the remainder of the strip as insurance in case of a bad segment or two.
I use a homemade stop that is calibrated to the saw blade to easily set segment widths. An ordinary table saw miter gauge can be used to cut the segments. To calibrate the miter gauge for the open segments, cut a long segment from a piece of scrap, test it in the SegEasy plate and then adjust the miter angle as necessary for a snug fit. Doing it this way, you do not have to worry about the degrees. But if you must know, the angle for the 24-4 plate is 5 1/2 degrees, and 8 degrees for the 18-4 plate. The gap in both plates is 4 degrees. Luckily, the segments do not have to be perfect like they do in a closed-segment layer.
As the segments are cut, put them in numbered bags. Remember to cut a few extra.
This vessel has a closed- segmented base and top layer so let’s get those out of the way first. Put the segments on a piece of tape, sticky side up that is held down with more tape on the ends. Using a straight-edge as a guide, place the segments on the tape. Apply glue to the surfaces and roll up. You can use several layers of plastic tape stretched tight for clamping.
I have since learned it is better to have a solid block as a base. A segmented base such as this one over time will separate at the glue joints from expansion and contraction. The best solution is a floating base.
I like using a faceplate rather than a chuck because you can remove the vessel from the lathe and put it back on and not have to worry about alignment.
Turn the face of the base layer flat.
Put the next layer of segments into the plate snuggly. They will stay in place with normal handling.
Larger segments may require a rubber band.
Position plate on tailstock pin and locate segments forward against the base layer.
Mark glue line. This is a good time to make sure each segment is flat against the previous layer. They will be if the thickness is correct. You did cut extras … Right?
Apply glue up to the glue line with a small brush. I use regular Titebond glue which sets rather quickly. A slower setting glue will slow down the process.
Place plate back on the lathe and tighten just enough to set the glue.
For quick, easy glue cleanup between segments, use damp pipe cleaners. If they are too wet, the glue will be washed out of the bond area. You can remove most of the water by running it through your fingers. I use one for every two gaps, then return it to the water and get another.
Let the layer dry for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, remove the plate by gently prying it free.
If a segment comes loose, simply replace it by eye and allow a little more drying time on subsequent layers. The release time is dependent upon the setting time of the glue.
Add subsequent layers the same way. Alignment is easy by placing the gap in the center of the previous layer.
On this vessel, my segments were accurate enough and I did not have to sand them flat. This is not always the case.
If it is necessary, let the layer dry for an hour or so and sand with sandpaper glued to a piece of MDF. If the segments for a layer are all the same thickness, usually sanding will not be necessary. The SegEasy Plate will assemble the layer flat.
It is necessary however, to sand the glue side of the last layer prior to gluing, as it is a closed-segment layer.
We are now ready to turn.
First, turn the inside and outside just enough to eliminate the ridges. As this stage, the vessel is rough and vulnerable to catches, do not be aggressive.
Then, close to the desired thickness at a slow speed as you would any other vessel. I used a fingernail gouge for the outside and a well-sharpened scraper for the inside. I now have a boring bar which makes it a lot easier.
When roughing in, work from the top down, a little at a time. This allows the lower layers to maintain their strength while the most stress is being applied.
Sand and finish your vessel. Do not be tempted to hand-sand the inside of an open-segmented vessel under power lest those
little holes grab the sandpaper and your fingers too!
You might want to make parting it off a team effort.
Continue using the same process with the remaining layers.