How to Turn a Laminated Plate
We are flying the flag for Britain with this Union Flag inspired laminated plate.
Lamination is a process of layering and gluing wood together to create durable surfaces, and can be used to create large surfaces such as table tops. It is a simple technique that requires precision cutting, glue and a lot of clamps!
In this project we have used these techniques to create a decorative platter, gluing different timbers together to create a Union Flag which has then been turned into platter. The most intricate part of this project, is replicating the unique flag stripe design.
In this project we have chosen a variety of contrasting timbers, but you could use any timber and use stains or paints.
Watch our Woodworking Wisdom video with award winning woodturner Nathanael Griffiths, or follow our guide below.
Nathanael is a young, award winning woodturner from Chester. At only 19 years old, Nathanael was awarded the British Young Woodturner of the Year award in 2019 and specialises in segmented turning. Nathanael also works at the Axminster Tools Warrington Store.
Prepare your timber
First, work out the measurements you require for each of your coloured segments. These will be layered diagonally in square sections to make up the striped parts of each corner of the flag design. You can use any timber you like, either contrasting colours to provide the flag design, or use stains to achieve the finished look.
We are using maple, walnut and padauk.
Start by ripping down the walnut on the bandsaw. These are cut to just over 40mm wide strips. Then do the same with the maple cutting it down to widths of 10mm, 20mm and 30mm wide for the different parts, this time using a table saw.
Finally cut the padauk to size, a 60mm and a strip that is 20mm.
Once cut to size, run them through a planer thicknesser to get them all to the right thickness.
Next, measure and crosscut your long lengths into shorter sections. These will be layered and glued. Top tip: Cutting them at an angle will help with minimising waste.
Once cut, loosely arrange your timber in the correct order to form one corner of the flag. Ensure the face edge is facing up. This will be the final edge that will be visible. Once you are happy with the order of the design, layout the other three sections in the same way.
Glue up the sections
Next, apply the glue. Starting with one corner section, begin by rotating each piece 45 degrees left. The edges now visible will be the surface to which you will apply the glue.
Starting from the furthest left, apply a thin layer of glue across these pieces (except the last piece, move this one to one side for the time being).
Then rotate each piece back 45 degrees to its original position, gluing each piece to the one adjacent to it. Be sure to include the final piece, that was set to one side.
Apply a parallel clamp and wipe away the excess glue and set aside to dry.
Repeat this process for each of the final three sections.
Cut to size
Once the flag sections are fully dry, remove the clamps.
Next, you need to trim and tidy the edges of your flag sections, and cut them to size. The main 'red' stripe needs to be at a 30.9 degree angle. Draw a line on the outside edge from that angle and use this straight edge as a reference point for all cuts.
Then, square up the blanks using a shooting board. Next, glue a piece of maple onto one of the trued-up sides. Once the glue has dried, clean up the previously glued section to fit flush with the rest of the blank using the shooting board.
Once trimmed, you can assemble the laminated plate.
Assemble the laminated plate
After all the components have been cut, lay out the finished sections into the flag design. It is imperative at this stage that all joints have a tight fit.
Apply the glue over all surfaces ensuring that they are fully coated in glue.
Add clamps, double checking that everything is aligned properly. Give the blank plenty of time to fully dry before moving on to the next stage.
Turn the platter
Next, you will need to cut your blank to size. Mark out a circular shape ensuring the centre of the flag is centre to your circle, and cut to shape on the bandsaw so there is less material to remove on the lathe.
Mount the blank to your chuck using a face plate.
Start by truing the outer edge using a half inch bowl gouge with a push cut. Throughout this process it is important to keep in mind that you will be turning multiple species of wood and that the grain direction is unpredictable and could result in tear out if not turned carefully with a sharp tool.
After marking the size of the recess with a set of callipers, remove the bulk of the material with the bowl gouge. Once the majority of the material has been removed, use a skew chisel with light pressure to create an undercut dovetail.
The blank can then be flipped over and gripped using the recess on the chuck. Then, true up the face using the bowl gouge with a scraping cut. This will be the base, so begin to bring it round into the shape of the platter, still using the scraping cut. Then make a recess in the base of the platter.
Next, finalise the shape with a scraping cut.
Finish this side by starting off with a low grit sandpaper (80), remove any minor tear out left from the chisel. Then sand up through the grits to 240. Then use a food safe finish, which will bring out the natural colour of the wood and allow it to be used for food.
Next, flip the platter to turn the inside. Using the bowl gouge with a scraping cut, I can start to form the inside of the bowl. Finish by using a push cut for a final pass to reduce tear out.
Use the same sanding and finishing procedure as before.