During any segmented turning project, clamping a stack of rings together during glue-up is one key step in the process. There are various ways of accomplishing this task. Some craftspeople use a type of press similar to a book binding press (Woodtreks guest artisan, Don Leman, uses a beautiful shop-made press.) Other turners will clamp the glued wood ring-stack assembly directly on their lathe, between the headstock and the tailstock. But toolmaker and woodturner Mark Damron uses another very clever and inexpensive approach.

In this quick video, Marks shows you how to make and use his simple — and cheap — “Rod Clamp”. It might become a real favorite. All you need is a threaded rod, some MDF board, a T-nut, washer, and nut. For less than $10, you can have a first-class clamp that will work for almost any segmented turning or stack ring lamination project. (2 Minute Woodworking Video)

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Toolmaking skill allows woodturner Mark Damron to design projects that otherwise might be impossible to create. Mr. Damron is full of surprises. Meet him on the street and you might never guess what really drives him. A big man who speaks plainly, Mr. Damron is a toolmaker and machinist by trade, but working on the lathe is his passion. His toolmaking skills are broad & deep, and that makes Mark somewhat unusual because he relies on these skills for most turning projects he attempts. This allows him to solve problems by building custom tools that meet his needs. Yet there is more to Mark than technical prowess. Mark is also possessed with a driving creative insight, which he is often too modest to acknowledge.

If you spend any time at all with Mark, you quickly conclude that he has his own unique vision. His desire to break from tradition runs irrepressibly deep within him. Mark’s work is a reflection of all of this — and from my perspective, this sure makes him fun to watch. His large-scale, stack ring laminated vessels are but one example. In turning these pieces, Mark depends on several custom tools designed to hold the tight tolerances that are needed to extrude tall, grain-matched vessels from massive turning blanks of highly figured wood. Thin walls, large pieces, and fragile rings combine for some scary turning. But Mark is sure-footed. And in the end, the results are spectacular. (7 Minute Video)

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Segmented woodturners who use the stack ring lamination technique, must precisely calculate the cutting angles used in the process. The rings, which will eventually be stacked and glued one atop the other, are cut as concentric circles from a flat piece of turning stock. In theory, any thickness and size of stock can be used. The method of cutting can vary, but the calculations involved are always the same.

You don’t need to be a mathematician to determine the correct angle — just some graph paper, a pen, and a ruler. A protractor comes in handy too. In this video segment, woodturner Mark Damron shows how to quickly and easily determine the correct angle for any project. You’ll learn how to balance ring thickness and board thickness with cutting angle options so that you can achieve your desired design. Don’t let the numbers scare you. I can assure you — Mark makes it easy. (6.5 Minute Video)

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