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Thread: jaw chuck alternative

  1. #1

    jaw chuck alternative

    I am extremely new to the word turning scene (hobbyist). I have an old craftsman monotube 12" lathe and have turned a few things like candle sticks and what not. I'm still playing around with everything for the most part. I would like to try a bowl or something similar but I do not have a set of jaw chucks. And unfortunately, I can't drop $200 on a new set as we are expecting our 1st baby. Is there an alternative method of holding something only by the head stock spindle other than a set of jaws? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Little Rock, AR
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    if you happen to have a faceplate, you could use that.

    Pat

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris milner View Post
    I am extremely new to the word turning scene (hobbyist). I have an old craftsman monotube 12" lathe and have turned a few things like candle sticks and what not. I'm still playing around with everything for the most part. I would like to try a bowl or something similar but I do not have a set of jaw chucks. And unfortunately, I can't drop $200 on a new set as we are expecting our 1st baby. Is there an alternative method of holding something only by the head stock spindle other than a set of jaws? Thanks.
    Hi Chris!

    I had that same lathe for a while a couple of decades ago and I never found a chuck that would fit it. I don't remember the spindle size and thread, but it might be possible to get an adapter to fit almost any chuck. You can sometimes fine used chucks - I've bought them for as little as $40.

    A chuck is quick and easy for holding many things. However, there are other ways.

    A faceplate is a time-honored way to hold a blank for a bowl. One should have come with that lathe. Not too long ago most bowls were turned with a faceplate and many still are. I turned my first bowl ever with a face plate on that lathe, from pieces of red oak board glued together. With a face plate you hold the wood with screws or some other way - even special double-sided tape on the face plate can hold a fairly large piece. If for some reason you don't have the face plate you can make one. One way to use a face plate is glue a waste block on to the bottom of the blank, fasten the face plate with screws, turn the inside and outside of the bowl, then cut or part off the waste block and finish the bottom by hand. Or better, turn the inside and most of the outside and foot/base, remove the piece from the face plate and turn it around jamming between something in the headstock and the tailstock. finish turning the base except for a short stub where it is held by the tailstock, then cut off and finish the center nub by hand.

    There are of other ways to hold things - you can even turn a bowl completely between centers with a few extra steps.

    If you can swing it, I can recommend Doc Green's book "Fixtures and Chucks for Woodturning: Everything You Need to Know to Secure Wood on Your Lathe"
    https://www.amazon.com/Fixtures-Chuc.../dp/1565235193

    Doc has some good articles on his web site as well:
    http://www.docgreenwoodturner.com/ar....html#Chucking

    If you like woodturning, you might start saving pennies for a better lathe some day! I didn't have the tube lathe long before I realized how limiting it was. I hand a fun learning about woodturning with it, though.

    EDIT: I see while I was typing Patrick recommended the faceplate, but with fewer words!

    JKJ
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 04-18-2019 at 7:05 PM. Reason: left out "ago"

  4. #4
    Thank you both for the speedy rely and suggestion. I do have a face plate that came with the lathe. I've always been hesitant on using this one though because the screw holes are more like slots. I've always felt like the wood is going to shift off center for some reason. Maybe I'm still a bit terrified of wood spinning at 1000 rpms. I haven't thought of screwing a sacrificial piece to the face plate and then gluing the work piece. I will give this a try when I get a chance. My wife has me working on a dinning table at this moment. Thanks again guys!

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Chris, my first lathe was a Craftsman 103.23880 mono-tube lathe. It helped me to learn the basics but found the lowest speed the lathe provided was WAY too fast for roughing out bowls safely. Seriously, it was iffy at best! The thread on the spindle was 3/4" x 16 tpi and I bought a Oneway Talon chuck with the correct insert. Still have the chuck today, so it was well worth the investment - once you can afford it. I found that I also have the manual for the 103.23880 lathe saved as jpg images, a;; 6 pages of it. If you want a copy emailed to you, contact me though my profile page.
    Steve

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  6. #6
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    Sep 2015
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    Chris, you mentioned that your face plate has slots. That faceplate may be intended for a metal lathe. You're right that with slots, it is likely to be dangerous. Especially with an unbalanced piece at speeds higher than perhaps 300-500 rpms initially. How to fix the faceplate? drill a series of holes for good wood screws. Most faceplates that I've seen have a chamfer on the side that get the screw head. I suppose that is because it is better to hold with the head than with the shaft of the screw. If I were doing it I'd look at a picture of a commercial faceplate and try to roughly copy their layout. A dozen spaced holes in the faceplate aren't going to weaken it substantially in my opinion.

    My first lathe was a 1950's model Craftsman. It had a 3/4-16 spindle thread. It came with a single faceplate and I was able to turn a bunch of stuff including a few thin-stemmed goblets.

    But, as a matter of convenience, I bought a really cheap four jaw wood chuck from either Amazon or Grizzly and paid about $55 or 60. It used "tommy bars" for tightening. Not as nice as using a chuck key but, hey, for $60 I couldn't complain. It had no noticeable runout. I happily used it for about 3 years and sold it with the old lathe. The only negative was that it only came with a single set of ~ 2" jaws. (I ended up machining my own 3", 4 and 5" jaws for it - - but this is probably something that most hobbyests wouldn't be able to do). But the 2" jaws are pretty versatile and the lathe couldn't handle anything bigger than about 9" diameter.

  7. #7
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    Wood was turned for centuries before the 4 jaw scroll chuck was even invented. When I started turning in 1986 about all that was available were metal turning chucks. 3 smooth jaw scroll chucks, or independent 4 jaw smooth chucks too. Most were not available in the thread sizes of wood lathes in that day. Screw chucks are cheaper than 4 jaw chucks if you don't like the faceplate. Screw a piece of wood to the faceplate and bore a big hole in the center. Turn a tenon on the bowl blank and glue it in the scrap wood. Especially useful with end grain turning. Bowls turned on spring pole lathes are done between centers. Then you carve out the center support and the hole from the spur drive is carved out too. There should be reading for days with the right Google search.

  8. #8
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    Before you get too far, I'm assuming you want to use a faceplate to turn a bowl. I also started with a C-man vintage lathe, and no offense intended, its not that good a lathe. Too much flex to turn a bowl. Very frustrating. Spindle turning, OK. Before investing time and effort in that lathe, try finding a used Jet Mini (or any newish mini/midi lathe) for a couple hundred bucks. When my C-man ate finally died, I bought a new Jet mini for 199 bucks. Yes, a long time ago. That was a HUGE upgrade even tough the Jet is smaller. I have found a used mini with tools and a chuck for 250 a couple years ago, so they can be found for cheap.... Bought a Ryobi midi for 250 this year.....

  9. #9
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    Cambridge Vermont
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    I'm not trying to discourage you but turning is a lot like racing. There's never a time that you will not want something that will help you. That means money. My best suggestion would be to find a local club and go to meetings. I don't think I've heard of a bad club yet. A club will most likely mean you'll have access to things like a grinder to sharpen your tools, different tools to try, and possibly a lathe upgrade beyond the experience the other members will provide.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris milner View Post
    Thank you both for the speedy rely and suggestion. I do have a face plate that came with the lathe. I've always been hesitant on using this one though because the screw holes are more like slots. I've always felt like the wood is going to shift off center for some reason. Maybe I'm still a bit terrified of wood spinning at 1000 rpms. I haven't thought of screwing a sacrificial piece to the face plate and then gluing the work piece. I will give this a try when I get a chance. My wife has me working on a dinning table at this moment. Thanks again guys!
    Chris,

    I forgot to mention that one of the best things about that lathe is the manual, better than what I've seen with any lathe since. Much of the manual is basically a wood turning course - I learned the basics of spindle turning and face turning from that manual.

    If you don't have the manual, you can download it and print a copy. Well worth reading. (It shows some work holding methods.)

    JKJ

  11. #11
    That you for all of the replies and assistance. I do have the manual for my lathe. I'll look it over a little better again for a good read. And to be honest, the only reason I got this specific lathe was the price. About $30 or so. It was part of a deal with a band saw and jointer. Figured that was a good price to see if I even enjoy wood turning. As for looking for a club, I live in Columbus GA. I haven't been able to find anything within 120 miles.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brice Rogers View Post
    Chris, you mentioned that your face plate has slots. That faceplate may be intended for a metal lathe. You're right that with slots, it is likely to be dangerous. Especially with an unbalanced piece at speeds higher than perhaps 300-500 rpms initially....

    It's been a long time but I think the faceplate that came with my tube lathe has slots. A quick search showed these and other similar slotted faceplates.

    This is sold as a faceplate for Craftsman wood lathes with a 3/4x16:
    https://www.amazon.com/Craftsman-Woo.../dp/B00B8DUCH4

    And this one is from ebay:
    __temp.jpg

    I think the slots are safe. Nothing can slide if screws are in all four slots. If there is enough wood there could be two screws in each slot. But it should be easy enough to drill additional holes.

    Chris, I forgot but I must have had a chuck on that lathe before I gave it away - I found a 3/4"x16 insert for a Nova chuck in my box of Nova chuck stuff. A used Nova G3 chuck might be a good match for this lathe. Since they can sometimes be found new for less than $100 (I bought two at $99) a used one might be affordable. But keep in mind the lathe itself has limitations - the adjustments are difficult compared to more modern lathes, the alignment can be horrible which can affect precision turnings, and the flex can be a problem especially if until you develop good tool control.

    A new Nova adapter is about $20 but you might be able to find a used one of those for almost nothing. If you can spare $6 for a donation to be a Contributor on SMC you can post a WTB ad in the Classifieds section.

    JKJ

  13. #13
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    Nov 2013
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    Sorry, no, slots on a faceplate are not dangerous in the least.

    Mine has three, some have four, no matter, once something is screwed down it is not going to go sliding around on the faceplate for one simple reason, it cannot.

    The screws would have to move for that to happen. Because on a three slot those slots are diverging, the screws would have to keep getting further apart. On a four slot they cannot because if two screws that were in line started to shift the other two that are at right angles prevent it.

    So do not worry about it.

  14. #14
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    sykesville, maryland
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    I also have the faceplate John shows. It came with my old craftsman lathe (traditional bed). Lathe died. I use the faceplate permanently for a donut chuck. It's safe as long as you use good screws.

  15. #15
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    Woodturning club

    Quote Originally Posted by chris milner View Post
    ...As for looking for a club, I live in Columbus GA. I haven't been able to find anything within 120 miles.
    The AAW lists this club:

    Bi-City Woodturners
    http://www.bicitywoodturners.com
    President: Philip Peckham, 706-568-3825
    roulff@hotmail.com
    Meeting Location: Columbus Technical College Woodshop
    2nd Saturday 9am, Monday workshop
    928 Manchester Expy, Columbia. GA. 31904

    https://www.woodturner.org/page/AAWConnectsMap

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