At the Lathe: Choosing Your Chucks

There are hundreds of chucks. Here’s a quick look at the four most common styles.
By Judy Ditmer
Pages: 92-94

From the February 2005 issue #146
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One of the most important decisions to be made in planning any turning project is how to mount the workpiece on the lathe. This can be a difficult decision, as there are dozens of mounting possibilities, in at least three main categories.

The first type of mounting is when you’re turning between centers. There can be any one of several different drives in the headstock, and usually a live center located in the tailstock; the piece is held by the pressure of the tailstock against the headstock.

In the second type of mounting, the workpiece is fixed to the headstock. This involves a faceplate, with or without a waste block (a piece of wood to which the workpiece is attached, usually with glue), or a chuck.

I call the third category hybrid mounts. The workpiece is attached at the headstock using a faceplate or a chuck; the tailstock is used for support during at least some of the turning process. A particular advantage of the hybrid mounts is that often the workpiece can be parted off, sanded and finished at the tailstock end (after the rest of the turning is done) and then parted off at the headstock end. This can save you lots of time and trouble, because it’s usually much easier to sand and finish on the lathe.

From the February 2005 issue #146
Buy this issue now