Whether you have cut your turning blank with a chainsaw or purchased it online, there is a good chance you are working with a square block. There is nothing I hate more, while turning, than those square corners of a large blank picking up speed and jarring me with every rotation into my cutting tool. Fortunately cutting those square turning blanks into rounds couldn’t be much easier, as long as you have a nice band saw and a few minutes to make a jig. In this blog I will demonstrate the process, using a five inch thick 21×21 poplar crotch monster blank.
As you can see all that is needed is a slot cut out for the bandsaw blade, and a row of holes directly perpendicular to the blade. We have attached our jig to the bandsaw fence to the side using two screws and to a miter gauge underneath the jig to ensure everything is held in place while cutting the turning blank.
To use the jig find the center of your piece of wood, measure to the center from two neighboring sides and mark the X where they meet. Now drive a nail into the X. (We cut the butt off of a nail and use about a 5/8” of the pointy end for this) Leave about 1/4” sticking out of your blank.
Next, stick nub of nail that you left protruding from the blank, into the hole on your jig that places the edge of your turning blank touching or just about touching the blade of your band saw. As you spin the turning blank, the nail in the hole will act as a fulcrum.
In the end you will have a nice round turning blank ready to be sealed to prevent checking, or turned right then and there.