Effortless Hollowing with the
Lyle Jamieson Hollowing Tool

Hollowing a Spalted Pear vase using the
Lyle Jamieson Hollowing System with laser guide


Lyle Jamieson System Overview

Almost eighteen years ago, I opened my woodturning studio to turn production bowls. Very early on in my turning career, I also became keenly interested in turning hollow forms. Like so many other turners back in the day, I learned to turn hollow forms using an arm-brace style tool utilizing traditional blind hollowing techniques.

One significant challenge with using an arm-brace style hollowing tool is that it requires you to lean over the lathe bed to control the tool, or to actually sit on the bedways facing the headstock for a more comfortable turning position. Because the boring bars are inserted into a receiver brace that you mount on your arm, hollowing for extended periods could be very fatiguing.

Effortless Hollowing arrives with the
Lyle Jamieson System

Now this is effortless hollowing!

Thankfully, learning to turn hollow forms today is an easy process using the Lyle Jamieson Tool System for hollow forms. This boring bar system eliminates uncomfortable turning positions altogether, as you stand comfortably upright whilst hollowing. In addition, since the boring bar is fitted into a "D" shaped receiver handle that is captured in a secondary tool support backrest, the considerable rotational forces generated during hollowing are absorbed by the lathe and the tool rests, not your body! Hollowing for extended periods of time is much easier and more comfortable.

The Lyle Jamieson "D" shaped receiver
handle with standard boring bar

Lyle's system offers an optional laser guide that tells you exactly where your cutting tip is located inside of the closed form. The laser projects a red "dot" on the exterior surface of the turning, so you can accurately determine where you're cutting and how much farther you need to go to reach your desired wall thickness, or shape. This laser guide eliminates the guesswork in hollowing and allows you to feel confident about what you're doing inside of the closed form.

It's now possible to hollow very complex shapes with exceptional ease and confidence using this laser-guided system. The laser can also be setup to work with pre-drawn templates, mounted on a small raised platform above the hollow form. When using the templates in conjunction with the laser guide, you can now hollow interior shapes that bear no relation to the outside profile if desired.

The secondary backrest supports and stabilizes the handle during use and is adjustable to fit many lathes. If you wish to turn deeper forms, an optional heavy-duty 1-1/8" diameter bar is available. This boring bar system utilizes a "D" style receiver handle and double ended ¾" boring bar with a 3/16" swivel tip cutter assembly.

Close up view of the Jamieson
Hollowing System cutting tips

One end of the boring bar is machined to allow the cuter head assembly to be inserted straight into the end of the bar, the opposite end of the bar is angled at forty -five degrees for reaching under the shoulder area on your vessel. An optional bent swivel assembly is also available for increased access under the shoulder area on vessels.

Lyle Jamieson Hollowing
System in Action

I tested this system in my studio with several different green timbers including Honey Mesquite, White Ash, Sycamore, Pecan and Spalted Pear. One of the first things I noticed is how easy it is to setup and use. Even when using the optional laser guide, setup requires only a minute or two. During hollowing, the tool is extremely easy to control and manipulate inside the closed form. The 3/16" swivel-tip cutter assembly offers excellent control of the cutting angle at all times.

Compared to my old arm-brace style hollower, this system was much less fatiguing to use over a full day of hollowing. I also tested this system on numerous dried roughed out deep vase forms. Even though all of the vases had warped considerably from the drying process, it was very easy to remove the warp inside the vase and finish turn the piece. It would have been a much more challenging experience to remove the warp on these pieces with my old arm-brace tool, especially when reaching deep inside the form.

Lyle Jamieson Hollowing System
with laser guide accessory


Lyle Jamieson Hollowing System


Closing Thoughts
The Lyle Jamieson Hollowing System has transformed hollow form turning into an easy, fun and effortless activity! Even beginning woodturners can quickly master the art of hollow form turning using this system. If you are just getting into turning hollow forms or you have been at it for years, this well designed and easy to use hollowing system provides exceptional control of the hollowing process.


Safety Note: Always follow all manufacturers safety instructions before working with your lathe, or any of the tools or products you may use. If you are unsure about any operation, obtain competent professional instruction before proceeding. Use and wear all necessary safety devices during turning and observe safe woodturning practices to prevent accident or injury.


Steven D. Russell is a professional studio woodturner, teacher and writer. He has written numerous articles for international woodturning magazines, which have been published in more than 78 countries around the world. Steve has demonstrated in numerous cities across the United States. His studio, Eurowood Werks, specializes in bowls, platters and hollow forms with unique visual and tactile treatments.

Steve is also the current and founding President of the Lone Star Woodturners Association, Inc., an AAW member chapter. The LSWA is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization dedicated to teaching and demonstrating the art and craft of woodturning.

Steve is also a featured writer for the Guild of Master Craftsman's "Woodturning" magazine, published in London England. Woodturning magazine is the world's leading magazine for woodturners. Look for his articles covering technical topics, or project based articles in an upcoming issue.