Woodturning is said to be the safest form of woodworking, that said it can still be dangerous and care should be taken at all times

The methods and procedures I show here are what I do at the moment and feel safe doing, I am not suggesting that you should do things the same way, that is up to you, if you don’t feel safe doing it one way find another way of doing it.

Above all take care and remember if this is your hobby it is supposed to be fun so enjoy it.

A large number of lathes and chucks either come with an indexing facility or like the Axminster chucks you can buy one as an add on.   The only problem with these is that they usually only give you 24 points, this is fine if you are doing clocks or anything that needs 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12 or 24 holes.   If you do not have this facility or you want a different number of points then you either have to buy one, usually from America, or make one which is the option I chose.

Below is how I went about making one using tools found in most turners workshops, I am not an engineer but the ring I made is accurate enough for my needs, if you are doing segmented turning you have to be very accurate when making it or buy one in.

A word of warning this ring must only be used on the lathe with the lathe turned off, never use it with the lathe spinning.

I started with a square piece of 2mm thick poly carbonate which was small enough to allow it to turn over the bed but large enough to allow me several different numbers of holes.   I used this because I had some but any thin rigid material up to about 4mm can be used.

The first thing to do is find and mark the center.

The next job is to mark the rings, I used a set of double pointed calipers for this.   The diameter of the first ring should be such that it allows you enough space for the arm to move without hitting the chuck or lathe body for my lathe and chuck this was 160mm.

Once the first circle is drawn I then put in further circles at 10mm intervals, it is a good idea to do this now as once the center is drilled out it will be very hard to draw further accurate circles.   I also scribe the circles on both side as this allows me to have a clean surface if I make a mistake when marking out the holes.

The next job is to drill out the center to fit over the lathe spindle register, for this I used a forstner bit that was the exact size for my lathe.   The drilling was easy and resulted in a combination of it partly drilling and partly melting the material.

I then carefully cleaned up the hole using a fine file and tried it for size.

Once you are happy that it is a good fit and will clear the lathe bed we now come to the tricky bit, the math’s.   Providing you have a good calculator and you measure accurately it is fairly easy.

The theory of this is measure the diameter of the ring multiply it by pie then divide by the number of holes you want.

I had drawn a 160mm ring which when I measured it was 160.5mm not a big difference but as I found out on my first attempt it does make a big difference when marking the holes out and for this ring I wanted 20 holes.

So the sums are 160.5 X 3.142 = 504.291 / 20 = 25.214

So I set my digital calipers to 25.21 and a bit, the bit was that it was nearly to changing to 25.22, not easy to do and it took me a couple of minutes to achieve.

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