Basic Bangle Fun

As most of you know, I made bangles as a part of my American Craft Council Show demonstration, so I thought I might share the technique I am using with you.

I saw a Jimmy Clewes video several months ago that showed how he made bangles, so what I do is somewhat close to his method. I’m doing this from memory, so his process is more than likely better than mine.

The Jig

Step One: First I made a jig to act as a jam chuck out of a thick piece of red oak. The recess is about 3/8″ deep, and the diameter will be the diameter of the bangle. I made two sizes, one is about 1/2″ larger. I made the larger one first and found it shallowed up my wife’s little hands, but it fit on another lady, so I figure multiple sizes could be a good thing.


the Bangle blank

Step Two: Cut out your blank out of the material of your choosing, and round it out to fit snuggly in your jig. If it is too loose, wrap it up in masking tape or blue tape till it fits snuggly. Don’t forget to drop your lathe speed. I am using about 680 RPM. I suggest keeping your face shield on just in case this hockey puck comes loose. Once it is spinning, flatten the face so you can scribe the inner diameter lines.

Laying out the inside diameter

Step Three: The interior diameter of the bangle should be from 2 3/8″ to 2 3/4″. I have found that 2 1/2″ fits most women. I use a pair of dividers set to the desired diameter by touching only the left leg to the spinning blank and look to see that the scoring mark lines up with the other leg. Please don’t hold me responsible for flying divider accidents because you touched both legs to the spinning blank. Safety people. Safety first!

Cutting through

Okay, now that you know the inner diameter, use a sharp parting tool to start hollowing out the material. Before I get too deep into the hollowing, I shape the exposed edge. You have many options with this step, you could just round over the edge, make beads, make the whole thing round etc…. Most of mine are pretty basic.


Cut through and sanded

Step Four: After shaping the outside, go ahead and sand the outside to its final finish. After the outer sanding is done, make sure you leave no tool marks on the inside as you are removing material. I removed some of the center just so I can get sandpaper inside to clean up the inside. You can apply at finish at this time, the choice is yours. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

As the parting tool gets closer to punching through you will hear the pitch of your cutting change, then cut on through, and do any clean up sanding necessary.

I used tape to get a tight fit again

Step five: Pull the bangle out and put the finished side into the jig. The fit might be a bit loose, so pull out the masking tape and wrap the finished side up a couple of times till you get a tight fit again.

Now shape the unfinished side to match the other side, and clean up with sandpaper and apply the finish if you want.


All done! This is like the game of othello, it takes a minute to learn, but a life time to master. Your options for further decoration are endless. If you have made these before, show us a picture of what you did.

Shalom from yaakov


About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
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