Segmented turning projects are comprised of many, many small pieces cut to exacting angles. It’s all about precision, because each degree of error compounds into a much larger problem down the road that often cannot be fixed. The solution is to make sure that each cut is the exact, pre-calculated angle and length. Award winning segmented woodturner, Don Leman, demonstrates his tried and true method for getting perfect results every time. The secret is using the right equipment and technique. You’ll learn how the use of a micrometer and accurate miter gauge is essential to getting repeatable results again and again. Follow these steps and you can’t fail. (4 Minute Video)

(14) Comments   



nice demos.
would you very kindly tell me what glue you use as no one ever states this. as i am from the uk could you state the type as i may not be able to get the make you state.
thank you for your time in advance


Thanks Steve for the feedback.

Don uses Titebond 1. By the way, TiteBond is a glue that falls within the PVA (Polyvinyl acetates) family of glues. Most of us know these glues as “yellow” glues. So it’s pretty garden variety wood glue that Don uses.

As other viewers here might like to know, can you get that brand of glue in the UK?



thank ou for a quick reply

After viewing Don Leman’s videos I was encouraged to do my first segmented work. It left a lot of room for improvement but I completed the work and am grateful for the direction I received from your site. Keep up the good work. CKH

liam gilmore

Thanks I found your videos fantastic. I have just started to segment work , where can I get his miter table or a plan for me to make my own Thanks, Liam

Keith’s Note: I believe that Don uses an Incra MITER5000 Miter 5000 Table Saw Miter Gauge. While there are certainly many ways of doing this, Don has said to me that this an extremely accurate way to cut the very small segments that are part of his style and work. I’ve seen him do very fine segments, and he can control the cuts very well.


Keith, thanks for this, your wonderful website, and all your exquisite videos. I just wanted to correct one thing that Don stated in this video. He is actually using digital calipers, not a micrometer. A “mic” would be overkill for even the most precise woodworking. Thanks again for producing and making these superb videos available to us all.


I am following this method, but my pieces are coming out too long. I measure the distance between the stop block and the blade with my micrometer, set based on the size I need for my segments. I cut the angle on each end, and yet my segment is about half an inch too long. It does not fit the jaws on the micrometer, the same micrometer I used to set the distance in the first place. Suggestions?

Keith’s Note: I’m perplexed. It should work. Make sure that there isn’t any play in your sliding table.

mike simmons

I like the video. What kind of table saw is it that? What kind of the sliding table is that? I have a BT 300 by Ryobi?

Keith’s Note: Don uses an Incra brand miter gauge with an Incra sliding table. This will run on most any standard contractor or cabinet saw.


Excellent video Keith, but I have some constructive criticism to offer. Having worked in the machining industry for 33 years I feel I should advise you, that (the) caliper (Don is) using is not a micrometer but a vernier caliper. Again, lots of good information and also great video production quality.

Keith’s Note: Thanks for your expert opinion on machinists terms. To further my understanding, I went to Wikipedia for some deeper research. As you have pointed out (and Wiki’s editors confirm), “a caliper (British spelling also calliper) is a device used to measure the distance between two opposing sides of an object”. Calipers can have either slide-based mechanisms or divider/compass style mechanisms. Don’s tool uses a slide-based mechanism. As nomenclature has evolved today, it would seem that Don is actually using a “digital” mechanism and this will alter what we call the tool. A “vernier” caliper is the predecessor to the easier to use and read, “dial” caliper and newer and now common “digital” caliper that is so often seen today. If you “buy” these definitions, then we might say that Don is using a digital caliper.

One more interesting twist. According to Wikipedia’s editors, a “micrometer” is similar to a caliper in that it measures distance between two points, but a “mike” (colloquial term), features a calibrated screw-based mechanism. As we move into the world of digital tools, it would seem that the difference between a micrometer and caliper may become blurred, especially if woodworkers use “mike” and caliper interchangeably.

Now how’s that for confusing? Isn’t anything simple?


To the poster who asked about the miter gauge and sliding table:
It is an Incra unit, and they now offer the sliding table in kit form, which is by far cheaper then their other sliding table options.
This “system” is called the “Build-It System”, and it is very nice, high quality stuff. The only real difference is they use MDF for the tables instead of the phenolic coated plywood.

I myself use a Build-It system sled with off-fall table and an Incra V120 miter gauge. It is a very accurate system and less than half the cost of Don’s system which is over $500.
I have also added a fence to my miter gauge that is similar to what Don’s unit has, though mine is made of maple with T-Track recessed into it. It’s still very straight and does the same thing.

I really recommend going to the Incra site and checking out their offerings. Their stuff is top of the line and super accurate, and it’s all very easy to achieve proper angles, unlike most factory miter gauges. Even my V120, which is a lower end model, has 120 angle stops, far better than the 3 most standard gauges come with and are more accurate too.

Thanks for your video. If I had a helper with a camera, I would do one too. I have been doing segmented turning for about 5 years. I am a civil engineer and I love the trigonometry involved.

I use a table saw with a thin kerf blade, an Incra 1000 miter gage (with sandpaper on the face – like you do), a General Tool Co. DIGITAL FRACTIONAL CALIPER to measure segment lengths and a straight stop block clamped to the saw fence to set the length of each segment. [Your stop block would be more repeatably accurate if the face were parallel to the blade.]

Before clamping the fence I cut test pieces out of scrap until I get the segment length exact to the 1,000th inch. Incidentally, the length of the segment is the distance from the blade to the stop block divided by the cosine of the cutting angle. After each cut, I flip the board and run it up against the stop block for the next cut (unless I want to preserve a grain pattern on one side.) This is a very fast procedure. After cutting all segments for a ring, I line them up to assure they are all the same length and angle. Then I lightly sand each piece to assure a tight fit for gluing.

When I glue, I do not use clamps or rubber bands to hold segments tight. I simply rub each pair of segments together to force out excess glue (this creates a vacuum) and hold them hand tight for 10 seconds to let the glue set. After about 10 minutes, I glue pairs together and so forth until I get a half circle. If you try to force a ring of segments together with a clamp, you will only set up residual stresses in the wood that may later break open the joints. There is no substitute for getting the angles right.

When the half-rings are well set, I hold them tightly together vertically and rub the ends on 60 grit sandpaper (on my belt sander) to perfect the fit of the two halves for final gluing of the ring. When the ring is done, I run it through my drum sander to assure smooth, parallel surfaces.

The only problem I have not solved is the inaccuracy of the angle cuts. Unfortunately the angle errors in the segments are additive. An error of only 0.1 degree in each cut would add up to a total error of 2.4 degrees in a 12-segment circle and require so much sanding of the half-circle ends that you end up with an oval instead of a circle. This is very important if you are trying to match patterns layer-to-layer. Do you have any insights into this problem?

You can see some of my work at http://NUZZO.US. Click on the Woodturning link. If you like, I would be glad to send you some useful EXCEL tables I have developed for segmented turning and photos of my shop setup.

Bill Nuzzo

Bill Wells

Wow, what an excellent website, and Don Leman is excellent!
In response to Jeremy’s post where he said: “I am following this method, but my pieces are coming out too long.”
I believe Don’s method is to just touch the point of the workpiece to the stop block. If Jeremy is touching the flat end of the workpiece to the stop block, that could account to a 1/2″ too long segment. That much difference could not be caused by play in the table.

Bill Wells

Richard Murphy

Excellent video. I am trying to build a 3d cutting board and accuracy in cutting the pieces will be key to the success of my finished board.


There are many ways to prepare segments. I use my Milwaukee mitre saw with a digital readout and its the best so far. Many segmenters advise using a disc dander but I don’t find it accurate enough – possibly because I have a velcro attachment method.
I gave up using yellow glue as it creates a tiny but definite gap in the joints and now use an instant bond CA glue – much better. All you want to do is make the ring strong enough to sand it flat and the CA glue has enough strength for that.