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Cutting the relief in the bottom of a turned bowl is easy now that I've developed a padded faceplate. I mounted a large 3/4" plywood disc to a standard lathe faceplate. Then, using contact cement, I glued a piece of foam carpet pad to the front side of the plywood disc.
Starting about 2" from the center, I marked concentric circles at 1" intervals using a felt-tip marker, as shown in the inset drawing lower left. The circles allow me to center bowls of different diameters on the foam-covered face of the plywood disc.
To mount a bowl, I use a dab of hotmelt glue to secure a short length of 1" dowel to the bottom of the bowl. The tailstock center fits against the dowel and holds the bowl firmly against the foam-covered disc. To complete the recess, I carefully remove the stock under the dowel, remove the piece from the lathe, and trim off the remainder with a sharp chisel.
--Robert Shea, Santa Maria, Calif.