large table base

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Forum topic by ChrisRand posted 09-17-2013 05:01 PM 2384 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ChrisRand's profile


3 posts in 1677 days

09-17-2013 05:01 PM

I’ve turned for a few years, but have never turned a large piece before. I want to make a large table base, which will be about 30” high and will be hourglass shaped with 14” diameter top and bottom.

My question is – how do I make a spindle blank that large? I haven’t seen any single pieces of wood that large at Woodcraft. If I simply used a portion of a log, it would almost certainly crack.

Any advice would be appreciated. By the way, I want to make it out of either walnut or maple.

10 replies so far

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2250 days

#1 posted 09-17-2013 05:22 PM

I’m not a turner, but every large diameter pedestal I have access to is a laminated glue-up. The 12 inch one under my dining table appears to be a glue-up of pieces about an inch and a quarter thick (maybe an inch…. didn’t measure, but definitely thicker than 3/4). If I take off the table top (you’re welcome… heheheh), I can see from looking at the end that it’s not hollow.

If you laid this out on paper, you could see how many boards you’ll need at different thicknesses.
Draw a center line, strike a circle using a set of compasses set to a 7 inch radius, then draw lines an inch from your center line and parallel to it (if your boards are an inch thick….. wider apart if thicker obviously).

This would be like an end grain view and would tell you how wide each board would have to be as well as what kind of bevel you could put on the edge prior to glue-up to get it closer to round.

Like I said, I’m not a turner. Maybe you just make a glued up block 14 inches across and start spinnin’ it :) Not sure how beveling before a glue up to be turned works out.

View Wildwood's profile


2298 posts in 2099 days

#2 posted 09-17-2013 09:21 PM

Hard to find a seasoned log size you need, even after several years of drying will end up with split in cracks. Like Charlie said will have to glue up some dimensional lumber.

If want exactly 14” diameter will need to glue up ends wider than 14” square to achieve 14” diameter top & bottom. If start ou at 14” square will not have 14” round diameter. I use a homemade compass for drawing large circles.

-- Bill

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2933 days

#3 posted 09-17-2013 09:47 PM

‘Round these parts, a glue up as above is referred to as ‘swastika’. I have done this for two pods on a table in walnut and the results were good, maybe a little bit more work, but no concerns about wood movement and glue lines blended in with the grain.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5092 posts in 1685 days

#4 posted 09-17-2013 10:03 PM

I’ve wanted to turn something a little larger too, found a spalted maple log about 7” in diameter with very few splits in it. Cut it to the max length my little lathe will handle, I think 36” and mounted it up between centers to just try turning a cylindrical pedestal more for practice than anything else. I quickly found that not only was it way off balance, but my lathe will need to be able to spin much slower before trying that again. Though I know it will probably crack when I’m able to get it to work, I still think that look could be made to work, possibly if the voids are filled? I don’t know, I’m gonna take this one step at a time.

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4177 posts in 2525 days

#5 posted 09-18-2013 01:56 AM


Most stuff that size are always glued up from several timbers. I have done so before and made sure the glue surface is very flat and I use my 16/32 sander or planer. Make sure you have the nice grain you wish to see on the outside and them start turning away.

Make sure you have some outside calipers to make sure of the diamiter.


-- Please help me help other Vets click..> is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Woodknack's profile


11479 posts in 2344 days

#6 posted 09-18-2013 02:42 AM

And keep in mind it should be hollow. A solid pedestal that size would be very heavy and would require heavy duty connections to the table top.

-- Rick M,

View Wildwood's profile


2298 posts in 2099 days

#7 posted 09-18-2013 01:37 PM

Renners, really like your board glue up arrangement.

Rick M, takes a lot of thought to make a wood hour glass table bases hollow. Easiest way to that is cut disk different diameters, drill hole through the middles, glue and stack them together. Whether leave them that way or turn on lathe to refine shape going to have lots of glue lines. Not bad if every glue line is perfect or paint when finished.

-- Bill

View Woodknack's profile


11479 posts in 2344 days

#8 posted 09-19-2013 02:44 AM

I was thinking more of gluing up a cylinder and turning it to shape. You’d use thicker material like 12/4 or just glue extra material inside for the waist. Although a pedestal made of smaller segments would look pretty cool.

-- Rick M,

View hairy's profile


2655 posts in 3496 days

#9 posted 09-19-2013 11:50 AM

Maybe you can get some ideas from this.

-- My reality check bounced...

View Wildwood's profile


2298 posts in 2099 days

#10 posted 09-19-2013 07:48 PM

I initially thought of stave construction for the base before posting, went to Google images. If going for this design not sure stave construction would work well enough to look like this

Hairy, staving might work well if he reduces size of center hole or does not want such a wide sweep as shown in picture.

Would be so much easier to build one like this,_Inc/Virgo_White%20-DM1.jpg

Stacking disk & drilling centers about the easiest to build but I like first picture design. Stack disk look too busy, so would mount on lathe to re-fine it more. Then your into glue lines, and hope for perfect joints.

With Renner’s, block glue up makes turning an hourglass so much simpler.

-- Bill

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