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Make a Segmented Rolling Pin
Making a segmented rolling pin is a fun project that will challenge your turning skills as well as your flat woodworking skills. Follow along with these steps and pictures to create your very own segmented rolling pin.
1. Starting with the “pin” part of the rolling pin, you'll need some hard maple stock that's been milled to .825” thick. You'll need two boards at least 5” wide x 11-1/2” long. The board I'm using in the picture is a set of three narrow pieces superglued together. I chose to use 1/4-sawn hard maple in order to show off the medullary rays. The blade in the tablesaw is angled at 15 degrees from 90 and is a thin kerf (3/32”) blade and is running in a zero-clearance throat plate. For precise cuts, use a digital angle finder to set the blade angle. Set the fence so that the first cut just barely cuts off enough board width to set the angle on the board.
2. Start the saw and make the cut. The piece of wood on the left is a waste piece.
3. After making the cut, flip the board end over end. Move the fence closer to the blade by 1/2”.
4. Start the saw and make the cut. The piece on the left is now a usable stave.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 at least twelve times. In the picture, my waste pieces are on the left, usable staves in the middle, and waste pieces on the right.
6. Tape three pieces of masking tape, sticky side up, onto your work surface. Place a stave perpendicular to the tapes and press down. I am placing a .032” thick piece of cherry flat stock between each stave to add visual interest and to grow the outside diameter of the blank.
7. After placing twelve staves and twelve flat stripes onto the tapes, cut the left side tapes flush with the first stave. Cut the right side tapes so that about 3” of tape is left. Fold over a short tab of tape onto itself to create a pull tab to make removal easier.
8. Place a piece of wax paper on the work surface. Set the blank on the wax paper. I've also laid out the hose clamps and a drill to tighten them as well as the glue.
9. Apply glue to one side of each stave and stripe. In this case, you'll be laying down 23 lines of glue while the blank is still on the work surface.
10. Roll up the blank into a cylinder so that it is almost shut. Apply the 24th line of glue.
11. Apply hose clamps using a cordless drill to tighten them. Let the blank sit on the wax paper for about 15 minutes, then flip over and let glue drain out the other way.
12. The process for cutting the stock for the handle blanks is the same except that the stock is thinner and the fence movement between cuts is smaller. In this case, I used 3/8” thick 1⁄4-sawn leopardwood and 1⁄4-sawn sycamore.
13. The stripe stock I'm using for this blank is .032” thick pieces left over from cutting the staves. The setup and process is the same for laying up the handle blank as it was for laying up the pin blank, except that for the handle blank I used two stripes between the staves.
14. You now have 36 lines of glue to apply. Cut the tapes and fold the tabs.
15. Lay out everything you'll need to glue and clamp the blank.
16. Apply 36 lines of glue, roll up the blank and clamp it with the cordless drill.
17. Let the blanks sit overnight with the clamps on. Cut the pin blank to 11” and the handle blanks to 3-3/4” long. You'll also need two square blocks of 1⁄4-sawn sycamore .825” thick x 1” x 1”, 2 inline skate bearings, (2) 1⁄4” stainless steel washers, (2) 8mm threaded inserts, and a 12-3/8” section of 8mm stainless steel threaded rod. I do offer kits with all the necessary hard parts.
18. Mount the blank between centers on the lathe. I am using a sacrificial hard maple block with a cone turned on the end to drive the blank and a aluminum cone live center in the tailstock.
19. Turn the blank into a cylinder using a roughing gouge, taking care not to remove too much material. Turn a dovetail tenon on each end of the blank to enable grabbing it with a dovetail chuck jaw.
20. Mount the blank in the chuck using a live center to support the open end of the blank to ensure it runs true when the live center is backed away. Use a 7/8” forstner bit mounted in a Jacobs chuck in the tailstock to bore the bearing recess. Running the lathe at about 500 rpm, bore the hole so that the bearing sits flush with the outer surface of the blank when inserted into the bore recess.
21. I use super glue (CA) to harden up the wood fibers in the bearing bores to provide years of hard dough rolling longevity. Apply the CA and allow to soak in for a minute or so before spraying with accelerator spray to instantly cure the CA. Remount on the lathe and re-bore the bearing recess to true up the bore.
22. Sand the end of the pin blank to your desired level of sanding. Check the fit of the bearing in the bore. It should sit either flush or just slightly proud of the end of the pin blank.
23. Mount the pin blank between centers. The sacrificial piece of hard maple has been turned down to provide a small cone to fit the bearing bore. The tailstock has a cone-type live center.
24. Turn the pin blank down just enough to get rid of the tenons on the ends. Using a roughing gouge or skew, take care to cut the cylinder as true as possible from left to right. Use a dial caliper to check your progress and adjust as necessary. Sand the pin blank down to 400 grit.
25. With the aid of a cone-type live center in the tailstock to help center the blank, I tightened the long pin jaws to secure the handle blank.
26. Chuck a 13/32” drill bit into a Jacobs chuck and drill a hole through the handle blank. Chuck a 31/64” drill bit and drill 1/4” into the blank. This second hole is oversize for the root diameter of the insert that I used, however, this is necessary to avoid cracking wood and/or glue joints when screwed into the blank. Epoxy will be relied upon to lock everything in place.
27. The little adapter that is in the Jacobs chuck has a 3/8” socket end on it allowing the Allen wrench socket to be placed on it. That little adapter came as a set of 3 (1⁄4, 3/8, and 1⁄2) from Harbor Freight for just a couple bucks. Place a 8mm threaded inset onto the end of the Allen key and thread into the end of the handle blank. This is done by applying pressure on the tailstock, pushing into the blank, while rotating the spindle.
28. Back out the insert and blow away any wood chips inside the bore. Mix up a small amount of 5-minute epoxy and apply a generous amount to the inside walls of the bore hole. Using the same technique as in #27, screw in the threaded insert. Wipe off any epoxy squeeze-out with a paper towel.
29. I have the 8mm threaded rod chucked in the pin jaws. I took a scrap piece of 1/4” maple plywood, drilled a 8mm hole in it and placed it on the threaded rod.
30. Make sure the epoxy has had enough time to cure. Screw the handle blank on the chuck and bring up a cone-type live center for support.
31. Turn your favorite handle shape. Finish sand to whatever grit you normally finish to. I intend to use an oil and wax finish so I sand down to 400 grit and stop. I use a small writing tip in my wood burner to sign and date my work. Repeat steps 25-31 for the second handle blank, then proceed to step 32.
32. Grab one of the 1”x1” sycamore squares in the pin jaws leaving about 5/16” sticking out of the jaws.
33. I'm using a 1/2” Steb live center for support.
34. Using a bedan or parting tool, shape the double tenon on the end of the handle plug blank. The small diameter tenon is 15/32” (.46875”) diameter x about 3/16” long. The larger diameter tenon is 1/2” (.500”) diameter x about 3/32” long.
35. Grab the smaller tenon in the chuck jaws and use a steb live center for support. Most of the square material gets turned away now as it is no longer needed.
36. I used a 1/4” bowl gouge's swept back wing to shear scrape a small dome on the end of the handle blank plug, being very careful not to touch the chuck jaws. Finish sand to 400 grit.
37. Squirt out a small pond of CA adhesive onto a wood scrap. Use a small wooden scrap to apply CA to the inside walls of the bore in the end of the handle blank.
38. Insert the tenon of the handle blank plug into the glued bore of the handle blank.
39. Assemble the rolling pin to make sure all the parts work together.
40. Disassemble the rolling pin so that the handles can be finished. I clamped the 8mm threaded rod to my finish table and then screwed the handles on to make finishing a little easier.
41. Apply your favorite finish. I use a penetrating oil and wax finish on most of my turnings. I apply three coats of Velvitoil and then buff with the Beall buffing system. Apply the oil to the project and let sit for about 10 minutes. Wipe the handles completely dry with a cotton cloth. Let sit 24 hours.
Repeat two more times for a total of three coats. Let the handles sit for a day or two to let the finish fully cure, and then buff the handles to your desired sheen.
42. I chose not to apply any finish to the pin itself. After much research, I concluded that if a finish is applied to the pin, it should be at the discretion of the end user.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook. I am also available for one-on-one instruction, club demos and hands-on classes. Spend some time learning segmented turning in a relaxed classroom with upcoming week-long classes at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN as well as John C. Campbell Folk Art School in Brasstown, NC.Click here to read about the author, Jason Swanson.