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Contemporary Wall Hanging

Monday 9 July 2018

The concept for this article was given to me by the editor. Unfortunately, it has been somewhat more difficult to create than I imagined at the outset.

The piece requires reasonable accuracy in preparation for the boards before they are mounted on the lathe. Cutting and machining wood square is not something I enjoy, which made this project even more challenging for me. I found it interesting that when cut, a simple 300mm (11 1/2in) square turned with concentric circles can be repositioned, adding fluidity and movement to the finished piece.

Creating a repositionable assembly system allows the piece to be assembled in various ways, thus giving you flexibility for display. The colour scheme of black and white gives the piece a contemporary look. However, if you wish, you can use natural timber.

Tools used: 10mm (3/8in) Ashley Iles beading tool, 10mm (3/8in) point tool, 25mm (1in) round-nosed scraper, 12mm (1/2in) flat skew and 6mm (§/4in) square-grind bowl gouge

Wood preparation

Step 1

To create this project you will need to make four identical pieces of wood, which will be machined with one finished face. If you are unable to create this project at full-scale, you will need to reduce the board sizes, but you also need to remember to change the coves and flats. Plane and sand the board before cutting into 300mm (11 1/2in) squares

Step 2

Plane the side grain edges, but ensure to pay careful attention to accuracy; everything needs to be kept square

Step 3

Next, use the large disc sander to sand the end grain

Mounting the sycamore blank on the lathe

Step 4

The next step it to take a bradawl, and use it to accurately mark the centre

Step 5

To help achieve maximum accuracy you can make a centring aid to fit into the reverse of your faceplate

Step 6

The next step within this project is to mount your faceplate

Step 7

With the faceplate/blank mounted on the lathe, you now need to hand finish all four edges and sand the face with the grain


Step 8

Seal the surface of the wood with acrylic sanding sealer

Step 9

When dry, cut back with '0000' wire wool working with the grain – two or three coats will be required here. This will prevent colour penetration and will give clear definition between the black and white when this is turned through

Step 10

Spray with acrylic matt black paint; two coats should give an even coverage. Only two of the squares require the edges to be black

Step 11

If necessary, at this stage you can cut back using Nyweb or very fine abrasive

Marking out and turning

Step 12

Within the next stages, it is extremely important to keep your hands and all fingers on the safe side of the toolrest. Failure to do so will result in injury. With the piece painted black it is difficult to see the edges of the blank as it rotates. When marking out where repeats are required, dividers can be used, but attention needs to be paid to keep a constant check on their settings. For marking out use a combination of dividers – set at 20mm (3/4in) 0 and a 10mm (3/8in) beading tool. These will score two lines and show you how to lay out the turning. Mark the centre with the long point of a skew chisel. Starting at the centre, use the dividers set to 20mm (3/4in) – this will create a 40mm (1 5/8in) bowl – then use the 10mm (3/8in) beading tool to mark the two lines. Then, you will need to use the same dividers to mark 20mm (3/4in)

Step 13

Continue to the very outside edge of the piece – the final lines must be made using the 10mm (3/8in) beading tool. You now need to further define the outermost line using a 10mm (3/8in) point tool. This will become a cut guide at a later stage

Step 14

Use a 6mm (1/4in) bowl gouge to turn the centre bowl. Turn to a depth of 10mm (3/8in) until the white line just disappears from view

Step 15

Using a 25mm (1in) round-nosed scraper, turn the coves, again working to the previously marked lines

Step 16

Next, you need to measure the depth of all the coves, making sure they are all identical – 5mm (3/16in)

Sanding and finishing

Step 17

When sanding a piece like this it is a good idea to remove the toolrest and keep your hands in a safe position at all times. Sand the coves, but take care to avoid rounding over the corners. Work through all the grades from 80-400. If the end grain proves difficult then raise it using a small amount of water applied selectively to the coves. You can then leave the piece to dry, then sand again

Step 18

You now need to take a soft brush and use it to remove all the dust

Step 19

With sanding completed, initially apply acrylic sanding sealer to the coves. Once dry, apply a second coat to the entire face, then cut back using '0000' wire wool. Cut back the coves only – if you try to cut back the face then you will damage the finished surface

Cutting and final assembly

Step 20

Cutting the various pieces does require a degree of accuracy to ensure the repeated cuts are all the same, so it is vital to take your time at this stage. All cuts are made using a bandsaw. To avoid misunderstanding where each cut is being made, please refer to the drawings to clarify the position of the cuts. The cuts made in this section create visual movement. Removing the corners from some elements of this project will also allow the pieces to interconnect. As I worked I discovered there were some inaccuracies – these needed to be overcome – and I introduced the dam to disguise these issues. Carefully measure and cut two of the squares along the centreline, remembering to allow for the width of the cut. These are the two squares without black edges

Step 21

These four pieces require further cutting, so begin by removing the centre bowl, then, use the point tool line as a guide for removing the square corners

Step 22

With this step completed, you now need to sand all the cut edges

Step 23

Take the remaining two squares and cut a straight line on each to the very centre, as shown in the drawing. Use the 10mm (3/8in) bar and place this against the cut centreline. Now place a half circle piece up against this bar. Lift the piece and place masking tape on the face of the square to allow you to draw the outside of the semi-circle. This will create the cut line that bridges the coves

Step 24

Take great care to accurately mark and cut the line that has been marked on the masking tape

Step 25

Now remove the two corners using the point tool line as a guide. Refer to the drawing for this step

Step 26

Carefully hand sand and paint all the uncoloured edges using liquid acrylic black. Accurately machine a flat bar measuring 10 x 35 x 635mm (3/8 x 1 3/8 x 25in). You will need to fix the various pieces to this bar. Now sand the piece and paint black. You also need to create short bars to give you variation when assembling the piece. With the piece fully assembled, spray two coats of satin lacquer to seal the piece

Step 27

Now for the fun part. You must make sure that all meeting faces are smooth and the pieces join together well, as you will eventually be using screws and glue to lock them in place. The strip of wood previously mentioned is to be the connector and visual break between the joining pieces. Once this has been made, it is case of arranging the pieces to find out what you like. You can see this is a shortened version that requires only three pieces to be turned, and as with the main image on page four, it can be hung horizontally or vertically

Step 28

This arrangement does away with the squarish end pieces completely. In fact, if you make up all four blocks and then create two central black joining strips you can create both arrangements (27 and 28) from the blocks. The design can be modified, and as long as you end up with a continuous flow of lines you can create large or small versions