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Homemade faceplate rings

Faceplate rings are useful in bowl making, and also as a quick method of mounting things such as sanding discs in the lathe. They allow you to work on a batch of items over a period without having to remove the fixing. I needed a number of them, and now have a batch of homemade faceplate rings. They are a good alternative to a screwchuck

Making the rings

Instead of the usual steel or light alloy, I made my homemade faceplate rings from good quality birch plywood, free of voids. They are about 100 mm across and 12 mm thick, but other sizes would work. After bandsawing the blanks, I marked the centres and pinned each one against the open jaws of a chuck with the tail centre. This is a quick and easy method of driving small items by friction. I turned the rims true, then gripped the discs by their rims in the chuck. For this I used an engineering chuck, but could have made a jam chuck from scrap wood. I used a small skew chisel to bore a tapered hole right through each one.

Just as when making a chucking recess in a bowl, the holes need to fit the jaws of the chuck that will hold the rings. The diameter should fit the jaws when they are almost closed. The taper should match that of the jaws reasonably closely.

I then mounted each ring in the chuck it was intended for and marked a circle on it. My lathe has an indexing ring, so I used that to divide the circle into thirds for the screw holes. Without that, I could have used a strut under the chuck jaws to locate the holes for the screws. I drilled the holes to suit the fixing screws. They have a countersink on one side for the screw head, and on the other to accommodate swelling in the timber made by the screws when in use.

Durability of homemade faceplate rings

I was slightly concerned that the expanding chuck jaws could cause the ply to de-laminate in use. However, the screws prevent the layers from separating. I put the screw holes fairly close to the recess, where the stress would be greatest. Wooden rings cannot be as strong as steel, but these are holding up well. They should be at least as strong as the chuck recess made in a wooden bowl.

With an offcut of plywood and a little time, I have a number of very useful homemade faceplate rings, saving the significant cost of factory-made ones.

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