Finding Center Woodturning Blog

Finding Center Woodturning Blog

Templates Aid in Cutting Big Bowl Blanks

comments (5) September 11th, 2013 in blogs, videos

JoeLarese joe larese, Contributor
thumbs up 29 users recommend

Video Length: 1:46
Produced by: Joe Larese

I used to eyeball chainsaw cuts to take the corners off a large half log, but the resulting bowl blanks were usually way out of balance. I use a bandsaw and circular cutting templates for smaller blanks, but as the diameter of the log approaches 15 inches, it's not practical or safe to use a bandsaw. I decided to make a number of different sized hexagon shaped templates that help guide the chainsaw.

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Making the Hexagon Templates 

Using a large compass, I draw the desired diameter circle on stiff cardboard or thin plywood. Keeping the radius of the compass unchanged, I place the point on the circumference and mark the other point, and work around the circumference to mark 6 points. Connect the points with a ruler to form a hexagon and cut to the lines.


Position the Template

I remove opposing "points" of the hexagon, and that helps me center the template to the log. I use one awl at the center point and another to fix the template on the flat sawn part of the log. I usually align the "flats" of the hexagon with the ends of the log. To prevent the log from rocking, I support it on a board with cleats that acts as a "V" block, but wedges would work as well.


Cutting the Blank

Align the chainsaw to each portion of the hexagon and cut around the blank. After removing the template, I use the center point left by the awl to position a faceplate and use plenty of screws to secure it to the blank.

posted in: blogs, videos, turning, woodturning, Jigs, template, log

Comments (5)

ballinagree ballinagree writes: Shorts are for the beach not for the woods, get yourself a pair of chainsaw trousers and wear them. Other than that nice work, keep it up.
Posted: 7:03 pm on November 9th

JoeLarese JoeLarese writes: Thanks for the comments. I take being safe very seriously and always tell people to work within their own level of security. Scotty, I take it you are from the Scottish Highlands, I live in the Hudson Valley region of New York and we refer to these parts at the North Highlands. I hope to see the original Highlands some day!
Posted: 7:58 pm on September 14th

Heilander Heilander writes: Good solution,I use a transparent disc of poly carbonate with a cetre hole and additional holes in a line in concentric circles to fit chalk through
Don't you get a bit fed up with "safety police "nagging you?
Must be a yank thing eh? Lol ;(
Posted: 6:03 pm on September 14th

daltxguy daltxguy writes: Those are kevlar shorts, right?

I am one with OneWithWood. All that care taken to keep the log from rocking on your 'v-block', to make sure it ends up balanced on the lathe and then no care taken whatsoever to protect your legs when using a chainsaw. You got the head part right, now get the leg part right, because that's the most likely place that chainsaw is going to go.
Posted: 5:37 pm on September 14th

OneWithWood OneWithWood writes: The templates are a great idea and will come in handy. I would suggest that when making a video using a chainsaw that all the PPE be used. In this case using a chain saw wearing shorts without protective chaps sends the wrong message.
Posted: 3:37 am on September 14th

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