Now before I get started on this little demonstration of how I do it, let me caution you on a couple things. IF you try anything like this, take the plate that your saw blade comes up through and close that hole completely up with a thin piece of wood. Make sure it is even with the top, with no gaps and no lips to catch the pieces. You want it smooth. Then with a “Hollow ground plywood blade” come up from the bottom so you have no gap between the blade and the wood. You may have to do this a couple times so the blade does not rub on the wood. You don’t want to use a blade with any set to the teeth or you will be throwing pieces all over the place.
You will be working close to the blade in some steps so you don’t want a big gap next to the blade. I started off using an old power saw and progressed up to a foot powered table saw. This gives me the advantage that IF I hit my fingers, my feet stop (I never have). You may not have that feature on your particular saw, so if you don’t have common since around power tools, stick to knitting.
Now if you want a closer look at anything in any of these pictures, you can click on the picture, it will take you right to the picture on my Flickr site, then click on the “All Sizes” at the top of the picture, it will make it bigger and bigger, or smaller if you want.
#1 & #2
Take a piece of ½” Baltic Birch Plywood and drew 8 lines clear across it, intersecting in the middle, equally spaced. They will be used to help guide the inner and outer points of the star, to try and keep them on the line. In the picture I have the lines drawn and the first 8 diamonds glued on forming the center of the star.
These next two pictures show the jig I made to make the large diamond .734 across each way. I cut them from a strip of wood .200” thick; I ripped off the edge of a board then narrowed down to .734” wide. The diamonds have to all be uniform or it will through the whole design off, and multiply any error.
This picture shows how I check the size of the pieces. The angle has to be exact too. You don’t want any gaps multiplying either.
Some types of wood like this Philippine Mahogany will leave a fizzy edge when it is cut. This will have to be scrapped off with a knife on each piece.
#7 & #8
Once the pieces are cut and ready I glue them on the plywood, bringing one point at a time out to the tip. After I glue each row on, the glue that squeezes out the bottom of the piece needs to be shaved off using a chisel so the next row can fit up tight against it.
I use hot glue to glue the diamonds and triangles on to the base. I use “Super Amber” Hot glue sticks from Supergrit (or Red Hill Corporation) at;
Before I glue the pieces on each point I lay them out in the order they will be glued on to the point. I always make sure the grain of the wood is going the right way. The grain on points # 1, 2, 5, and 6 all go the same way. The grain on points #3, 4, 7 and 8 are 90 degrees off from the other 4 points of the star. Wood reflects light according to the way the grain runs. Making the star this way will, in some lighting conditions, give the points of the star different colors compared to each other.
#10, 11, 12 & 13
I continue this process one point at a time on around the star to the last two points.
#14, 15 & 16
The last two points I lay out the pieces and glue them on one row at a time, on both points clear out to the tip, in this way completing the star.
#17 & 18
This picture shows the jig I made to make the large triangle. It has to be adjusted to the right angle so four pieces fit and make a square with no gaps. The size has to be adjusted so it fills the space between the tips of the diamonds.
Again the fuzzy edge has to be scrapped off so the pieces will fit close together.
I have found that when the angle is right, the size is right when measuring the points at 1.455 + or – .005.
#21 & 22
After getting the pieces ready I lay them out back to back ready to glue on and then after they are all laid out, glue them on out to this point and stop.
I then scrape off the glue that has squeezed out from under the pieces.
I then lay a triangle in the space and measure out ½” all the way around the star. The short line you see here is the cutoff line. The longer line is the line the pieces will come out to when the top is all laid out.
I have just laid these 5 pieces in position so you can see how they come out over the cutoff line. This is so I can bring another piece up under the piece on the top. It will give the illusion of being bent over the edge
#26, 27 & 28
After I cut it to shape I measure in 3/8” at each end of each side, drill it and counter sink the drill hole all the way around the edge of the lazy susan.
#29 & 30
I now tilt the table on the foot powered table saw and cut the boards, one at a time, that will be glued and screwed around the edge of the lazy susan.
After I get all of the boards glued and screwed on I then drive a finishing nail from the end of one board into the end of the adjoining board to help hold it in place.
#32 & 33
The lazy susan then looks like this.
I then finish gluing the pieces on to the top to bring the design on out to the edge.
I turn it over and take off the excess glue. Notice the top pieces over hanging the sides.
The top will look like this at this point.
#37, 38 & 39
I again tilt the table to a 22 ½ degree angle and bevel one edge of the triangle so it will fit tight together as it fits together at the corners. I have an untested theory on this close cutting process that if I hit my fingers my feet will stop.
The pieces should fit tight together as is shown in this picture.
#41 & 42
I then glue the Hackberry pieces that I beveled onto the corner, at the same time gluing them to the overhanging top piece also. I fill in between the corners with Walnut triangles glued to the top pieces and the sides.
I then scrap off the excess glue that has squeezed out from these pieces.
The next thing to do is to fill in to the bottom of the side pieces.
#45 & 46
The last two pieces by each corner has to be cut to fit with each other on the foot powered table saw. I tilt the saw; hold the lazy susan in my lap while peddling the saw, and mark and cut the two pieces so they will fit together when put into place.
After getting the last two pieces glued on each corner, and the glue trimmed off it is ready to be sanded down even.
This picture shows the unevenness of the pieces and the squared edges
This picture shows how the initial sanding will even the pieces and how I start to round all the edges by sanding a 45 onto each corner. A rounded object has a much more pleasing feel in your hand than a square cornered object, and is not so easily damaged. I figure this is why GOD made women kind of rounded, with no sharp corners.
In sanding the projects I use a belt sander with an 80 grit belt, and then go with a 120 grit belt.
#50, 51 & 52
After it is sanded even I scribble all over it with a pencil, I do this because I am going to mix fine sawdust and glue together and force it down into the cracks you can see in the close up if you look good at it. Then when I final sand the lazy susan so it is real smooth I will be sure and get below the glue by sanding off the pencil marks. Otherwise the glue will show up when you put the finish on, and you will have a real problem then. (I used to use the white glue but then in humid weather the glue joint would rise. I now use powdered resin, mix it with water, then that with the saw dust. It will stay smooth then and you won’t be having the glue joint rising on you.)
#53 & 54
When the Lazy Susan is finished it will be setting on a piece of 5/8” Baltic Birch plywood with rubber bumpers on the bottom of that. After filling the cracks I take the bottom blank I have prepared beforehand and cut it to shape, and rough sand the edges. When it is done the bottom will be as rounded and smooth as the top. I don’t care for fuzzy wood.
After the glue dries, I finish sanding it with 80 grit, 120 grit and sometimes 220 grit on a random orbit sander.
This picture is of the edge of the Lazy Susan after it has been sanded down to 120 grit sandpaper. When you compare it to #48 you con see the difference between the sharp corners and the rounded corners of this. To me it is much more pleasing to look at as well as in handling it.
When you apply the finish, then is when you truly see the beauty of the wood. You can see the difference between the top and the bottom of the Lazy Susan where I have left the top unfinished and have the finish on the bottom part, point to point on the star.
Here the whole Lazy Susan has the first coat of finish on and you can already start to see how some of the wood has a shine to it depending on what direction the grain is going. I still have 4 or 5 coats of finish to get onto it. I use Varathane Floor Finish; I thin the first coat about 20%, the other coats closer to 40 or 50%. I use a little cloth to wipe it on, wait a bit then using my hand I rub it in until it is tacky and let it dry.
When the Lazy Susan has the finish on and is dried I screw the rubber bumpers on the bottom of the base and the lazy susan movement on to the top.
Then I lay the top down upside down and using the holes in the base screw it to the top.
#60 & 61
I laid a package of rubber bumpers on the Lazy Susan, took a picture and then turned it 90 degrees and took another picture so you can see how the pieces reflect light depending how the grain is going.
#62 & 63
These next two pictures are of the finished Lazy Susan out in the sunlight from two different angles.
Now this video again was made by Tara (weirdwolf) from Etsy.com. She can take the credit for the good picture quality of this video.
Thank you for looking,
Robin Tucker, the maker of Wood Mosaics
-- It’s not so much what we know that causes the trouble, it’s what we know that’s not so.