Article: Frank Penta Demonstrates For CMW On August 19, 2017.

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August 21, 2017 16:34, submitted by Tina Collison (author: Ross Lynch, Photos by Tina Collison)

Frank Penta, from Chapel Hill, NC demonstrated for CMW on August 19, 2017.

Frank Penta last demonstrated for the CMW in 2011. He has been a woodturner for over 20 years and uses his teaching background to give a lively informative demonstration. He willingly shares his knowledge and you can find many project ideas and “how-to” information on his web site at Frank Penta Woodturner at

Frank brought more than 75 finished and templated examples of his laminated work as shown in the photos below:

In the morning session Frank spent time showing how he uses all species of wood and veneers to glue up blanks for plates, platters, wine stoppers. kitchen items, candle holders, goblets, boxes and golf tees in a way that makes patterns such as stripes, checkerboards, abstracts, and quilts. He is enthusiastic about color. He became interested in the laminates about 4 years ago when a plastic striped square plate caught his attention.

He buys all species of kiln dried wood at World Timber in Hubert, NC by the 20 board feet. He cuts this wood into 37-inch pieces and planes it. He then cuts it into 18.5-inch pieces which can then be cut to 9,6, or 3-inch pieces to glue up into blanks. The thickness is one or two inches and are cut into various thickness to be glued into different type of blanks.

They can be vertical, horizontal, or even with cores. The veneers are added to add color. They can be cut, turned, angle cut and re-glued to give an infinite number of patterns. Frank used Tight Bond III glue because he gets a 10-minute working time. He puts glue on both sides of the strips of wood and used Bessy clamps (his preference-any clamp can do) to hold the wood until dry.

When turning plates and platters Frank takes his laminated blank and drills an expansion chuck site and turns the bottom first. The bottom will also have and expansion chuck site (with lots of texturing) so that once the bottom is done he can turn it over to do the top as a once off piece.

At this point Frank demonstrated turning a candle stick from a laminated blank. He drills a 7/8” hole in the top and a larger hole in the bottom. In the top, he will (when finished) have a metal grommet for the candle and in the bottom, will plan to put bird-shot for added weight. His favorite tool for this spindle turning is a 30mm continental spindle gauge. It is shallower than a spindle roughing gauge and in his hands more versatile.

He emphasized light cuts and not pushing the tool into the wood. Also “riding the bevel” was emphasized to avoid catches. Another favorite tool is a 3/8” detail gauge on a 7” handle. He can get close to the work and showed how to use finger control to do fine detail and avoid catches. He finished his projects with Sam Maloff finish with is available from Rockler or can be made at home-1/3 mineral spirits, 1/3 pure Tung oil, and 1/3 polyurethane.

He next demonstrated making an ice cream scoop handle. He uses a 6”x1.5”x1.25” laminated blank and has a shape that he routinely uses. This is facilitated with a home-made template.

In the afternoon session Frank demonstrated multi-axial turning.

He used a four-jaw chuck and does tilting in the jaw to change the axis. He admonished that all four jaws need to hold wood! He marks the wood #1 thru #4 corresponding to the jaw blades so as to maintain orientation. If he changes axis 1 thru 4 in order it gives a spiral effect. If 1 to 3 it gives side to side off-set. Faster speed on the lathe gives better finishes but also more dramatic catches. He emphasized a very light touch when doing this kind of turning.

He then demonstrated a candle stick and a wine stopper. The top and the bottom are turned on the straight axis and in between the angle axis. The in-between cuts are essentially V cuts but can be rounded. He showed us a homemade wine stopper jig he uses for this purpose.

With this the demonstration ended and Frank had hand-outs for us to take with project details. Many thanks to Frank Penta for visiting CMW and sharing all that he has learned, so far, about color and lamination.

Submitted by Ross Lynch

Frank Penta has provided the following handouts for his August 2017 demonstration:

Multi Axis turning with a Four Jaw Chuck including projects:

and Designing and Turning Laminated Handles for Utensils:

Read about Frank's 2011 demonstration at