How to Turn a Wooden Plate with a Wood Lathe

What You'll Need
Thick wooden board (square, at least as wide across as you'd like the plate to be, 2 inches thick)
Geometric compass
Band saw
Screws and screwdriver
Wooden lathe, face plate, and chuck
Sandpaper of various grits
Protective safety equipment

A wooden plate can be a unique gift, a special fixture of your table, or a decoration for the wall or another part of your home. Making your own wooden plate adds to the unique quality of the item and gives it a special sentimental value. If you have a wood lathe in your home studio or garage, you can turn a wooden plate without much experience and with only a few simple tools. Read on for a brief guide on how to turn a wooden plate with a wood lathe in your home.

Step 1 -- Prepare the Board

Begin by drawing the outline of your wooden plate on the square wooden board. One good way to do this is to use a geometric compass to draw a perfect circle on the top of the board. The circle will be the boundary of the plate, so you can design it to be as large or as small as you'd like it to be and the board allows. Draw lightly in pencil so that you can make adjustments as necessary.

Step 2 -- Cut the Edges

Before you can mount the wooden block on the lathe and begin shaping your plate, you'll first need to trim off the sides of the wooden board. This is best done with a band saw. Mount the board on the band saw and wear your safety equipment while you carefully trim around the edge of the circle. Get as close to the circle as possible without going inside the boundaries.

Step 3 -- Mount the Face Plate

Next, mount the top of the plate on the board so that you can easily lathe the wooden piece. Center the top of the plate over the circle and drill 4 holes in the corners of the plate. Mount the plate on the board with screws.

Step 4 -- Shape the Back of the Plate

Mount the plate on the lathe such that the back of the plate is adjacent to the cutting edge. Begin by working on the back of the wooden plate. Make sure that the bottom portion of the plate is flat, but round the sides so that it will contain food well. If you wish, you can sand the back of the plate down while the plate is spinning on the lathe. You can also sand it later.

Step 5 -- Shape the Front of the Plate

Mount the chuck on the lathe and the plate on the chuck. You can now shape out the top of the plate. Be sure to trim out enough wood that you eliminate the screw holes that you made previously, but don't cut all the way through the plate.

Finish by sanding or treating the plate however you'd like in order to achieve the appropriate appearance.