Segmented bowls and vessels are made up of dozens or hundreds of small wooden blocks. Segmented woodturners glue these often very tiny pieces into rings which become part of a stack. The process is exacting and critical. But it’s not hard to get good results if you follow the proper steps. In this quick video tutorial, guest artisan, Don Leman will show you first, how to properly prepare and sand the cut segments and then, how to apply the glue for maximum strength in the joints. You’ll also learn how to maintain perfectly flat glue-ups on each ring and on the entire ring stack. Mr. Leman guides you step-by-step through the process. (10.5 Minute Video)

(12) Comments   


Thanks for the video. I wouldn’t have thought that such minimal sanding would have been adequate enough, but it seems like its true. I’m glad he used the ruler to show as a guide to gauge for yourself if its perfectly flat or not.

Keith’s Note: Don is all about precision. Because he completes the glue-up so accurately, there isn’t much to correct (sand) once the assembly dries. He makes it look simple, but it’s only simple if you methodically move through the stages that he recommends. Don’s a great guy, so I’m glad you are enjoying this series.

Steve Stewart

I’m a new woodworker. These videos are wonderful. I get to see real experts work.

I don’t think that I am ready to try turning yet. I have a lot to learn first. But Don makes it so interesting that I’m looking forward to the day I can buy a lathe and start.

I have always truely appreciated a craftsman who takes the time to make sure the detail and accuracy are perfect. It makes such a difference in the pleasure of the work and the quality of the final product.

Many thanks Don,

Steve Stewart


Thank(s to Don) for taking the time to show us (his) way of doing this. Richard

Vaughn Bradley

Thanks for the hints, very valuable for someone with a new interest in segmented turning.

John Paulling

Thanks Keith. I love all you videos, but this one especially. Watching Don go through that painstaking process is like watching Bill Ross paint trees. I’m sure your time with him was a delight.


Thanks for this excellent video and for sharing with us (Don’s) knowledge.


It looks like Don glued the waste block to the first segmented ring with hot melt glue. Is this so?

Keith’s Note: Normally he doesn’t do that. Don prefers to use Titebond II. He puts a little dab on the wasteblock and then twirls the bottom of the first layer against the wasteblock to spread the glue. Then he pulls them apart to see if the glue is evenly spread on the entirety of both surfaces. You don’t need a ton of glue squeezing out – just enough to get a nice thin layer. Using this method, when done turning, you will have to cut off the waste-block. To do this he uses a parting tool and then a hack saw to cut off the last inch or two of diameter. Then he flips it, remounts it and finishes the bottom.

Don also says that you can use hotmelt, but don’t put the hotmelt completely between the two pieces, just use a little bit between the edges around the parimeter of the larger piece of wasteblock. Just go around the edges with a few little dobs. He cautions that if you don’t use care here, you’ll end up with a mess later when you separate the pieces. Frankly, Don says he doesn’t really like this approach for the way he works.

He did mention one other possibility as an alternative. Use a bit of glossy newspaper between the wasteblock and the first layer. Then when you are ready to separate them, use a chisel to carefully force a wedge between the two pieces and give a sharp tap to break them apart. Don doesn’t really trust this approach as much as the Titebond method because he worries about the piece detaching while turning, but on smaller pieces it might be a suitable method. Don cautions to use extreme caution using the paper method with a big piece especially one with more length. These larger turnings can cause more stress and pressure on the set-up.

According to Don, the safest way is to use Tightbond II, because there no risk that the piece will come off while your turning.


I just came in from a frustrating time trying to make one of these bowls. Learned a few things I was doing wrong. Thanks


Just getting started with segmented turning, and was very enlightened by Don’s patience in demonstrating his technique.

Thanks for a very helpful video.


Please inform me how you calculate the length of the second ring and along with the other rings.

Keith’s Note: Don has written some instructions that might be of some assistance. Here is a link to his handout, which you can download from his website.


I started making segmented bowls about 9 months ago. I used Titebond 3 because it was in my opinion the best wood glue since Titebond 2. I like its lower viscosity, longer set-up time and great strength. I have been using it ever since it came out about 10 years ago and have had no complaints. Another woodworker told me that Titebond 3 was not recommended for bowl segments but could not tell me why. I looked at all the bowls I had on hand (some 8 months old) and could not see or feel anything wrong with the joints. I have searched the internet for up to date information but could not find any specific data. Could someone comment on this situation? I would appreciate your input.

Keith’s Note: Titebond III is a great product. I’ve used it myself for many projects. Its longer open time can be useful in some applications. It is also stronger. Every craftsperson develops their own process. Titebond III might fit your method well. I believe that the main reason some or most segmenters would use Titebond I or II is the faster set time. Our featured artisan in this video is Don Leman. Don uses no clamps, so faster set times speed up his work. (Please contact him directly for his take on your question at,) I’d say if Titebond III works for you, use it.


I saw a video of a woodworker bonding several vertical pieces., some boards some round logs. He filled in the open spaces with some dark brown material. Have you seen this done or did I dream it?

Keith’s Note: I’m not aware of this technique.