Top it off with a blank sandwich

I love it when you get a flash of inspiration. I needed to make a top for a hollow vessel, and to get the top the desired thickness, I needed to glue two pieces of Walnut together. No biggie. The potential problem was that if I wanted to turn the top between the centers, I needed to make the blank even thicker to allow for the spurs pressing into the wood. (Yes, I know I could have used a faceplate with CA glue)

I glued up the two pieces of walnut with Titebond III after planning the mating surfaces smooth, and clamped them up to my workbench and let it dry overnight.  So the next day, I crammed on my “thinking cap” (just like my Mom told me to do at school each day. Little did she know that I lost it on the playground in the 2nd grade. I didn’t have the heart to tell her. You would have thought after seeing my report cards she would have figured that out.  Thankfully, I found another one in College.) Anyhoo, I sat there a’thankin’ and it hit me. I can sandwich the blank between two other pieces of scrap wood using CA glue. The scraps get the indention from the spurs, so I all have to do is part them off, and viola! Virtually no cleanup, and no little tell-tale signs. How cool is that!

Blank sandwich








Sure enough, I glued on the scrap pieces, let it dry for a couple of minutes, then spun it up. The idea worked great!

Look Maw! No spur marks!








I am sure someone out there in the turning world has figured this out before, but I swear that I have never seen or read about anyone doing this.  Perhaps this is such an obvious technique that everyone knows about it, or it is in a manual that I just don’t have. I seem to be missing a bunch of those. I have not found the handbook that came with my first child. I must have left it at the hospital. But come to think of it, I don’t have the manual for the three others either. Hummmmm.

Guess what this is! I'll give you a hint. People are dying to get into it.

He's ready to start working in the shop!






Okay, I want a show of hands. How many of you turners out there knew about this technique? If you didn’t know about it, then give it try!




About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
This entry was posted in In Yaakov's Workshop and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Top it off with a blank sandwich

  1. bongotastic says:

    I often joke that I’ll get in the funeral urn business to make a dent into my shop dreamlist. Your boy reminds me a lot of my daughter sanding scraps, and finishing them with wipe-on Tried & True foodsafe oil.

  2. Ellis Hein says:

    I can’t say whether or not your technique is common knowledge. But this is the stuff of creativity; ideas that jump out at us to solve a particular problem. Sounds like your sandwich was a particularly good tasting one! I will keep the idea on my menu.


  3. I like the solution. Another similar one that I’ve heard of is to place a single sheet of paper between the two blanks and to join them using PVA. Obviously, the open time of PVA is much greater than CA but, apparently, you get the same effect. Though, I do wonder whether PVA would be more likely to seep in to and ‘stain’ the timber, prior to finishing…

  4. Andy Coates says:

    Sadly I do know of it, and use it often Yaakov, as I’m sure may others do. But…in innocence the the idea seems to be your own, so enjoy the moment.

    I use sacrificial blocks a lot – all those stub ends left after parting off vessels – and find them quicker, cleaner, and easier than the expensive shop-bought alternatives.

    The old guys knew a good thing and who am i to argue with them.

  5. Do you have a Facebook page or Twitter? Would love to follow you there, I’m on my iPhone and love reading your stuff!

  6. Susan Shane says:

    It’s always nice to see when someone finds a solution to a problem, especially when the solution is a technique already out there, however, they hadn’t seen it prior. It’s the sign of an innovative mind which I know you have, Yaakov. You are truly an inspiration. Thanks!
    Happy Turnings!

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