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A Simple Jig For Cutting Cylindrical Bowl Blanks on the Band Saw

Before turning a bowl blank on the lathe, it is necessary to round it off. After all, you don't want to spend all day whacking corners off a square object with your chisels on the lathe. To solve this, one would normally cut the circle free hand on the band saw. This jig makes it easy to cut near-perfect cylindrical blanks on your bandsaw. The jig is constructed from thin Baltic birch plywood and a few fasteners, and can be constructed in an hour or so.

The two main parts of the jig -- the sliding platform that follows the bandsaw's miter slot (left), and the adjustable table (right) that can be moved left to right to accommodate different sizes of blanks to be cut. The adjustable table mounts atop the sliding platform and is set in place to hold a particular blank.

The pivot screw in the adjustable table. The pivot screw engages the center of the blank, allowing the blank to be rotated about its center into the saw. I have since replaced this screw with a small roll pin, but the function remains the same and no threading into the blank is required.

Underside view of the sliding platform.

Jig with the adjustable table attached to the sliding platform.

Wingnut for setting position of the adjustable table. A yellow scale is used to approximate the radius of cut.

View of the cleat that holds the adjustable table in place.

Holes drilled in the tail of the miter slot stock piece. A small machine bolt is place in a hole to act as a "stop," keeping the blank in proper radial alignment with the leading edge of the saw blade. The different holes allow the jig to be set for different bandsaw blade widths.

A bowl blank marked, with the center pivot hole drilled. The blank is set atop the adjustable table, such that the protruding pivot pin inserts into the pivot hole in the blank. The blank is slowly rotated clockwise into the band saw blade.

The bowl blank mounted on the jig.

The jig set in place on the band saw table.

The stop bolt setting the jig in its proper forward position on the band saw table.

A bowl blank being cut. To make the cut, the jig with blank is slid forward into place, with the blank's left edge set parallel and adjacent to the saw blade. The saw is started and the blank is rotated by hand clockwise into the saw.

View of a cut blank.

The blank mounted on the faceplate of the lathe, ready to be turned.

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