Category Archives: Great Ideas

Shopmade Collet Chuck

Here is a pointer to my “Shopmade Collet Chuck” article that appeared on page 18 of the AAW August 2018 “American Woodturner” Journal.

Recently, I needed some extra collet chucks to turn bottle stoppers at a Nutmeg Woodturners’ Learn-and-Turn meeting. I own only two of the commercially available collet chucks and quickly decided that purchasing more was out of the question due to cost. Plus, I don’t like turning something like a bottle stopper right up tight against the metal collets in a commercial collet chuck; visions of my turning tool running into that metal collet are not pleasant. I decided to make my own custom collet chucks out of ultra high molecular weight (UHMW) polyethylene plastic.

To read more see my “Shopmade Collet Chuck” magazine article on page 18 of “American Woodturner, The Journal of the American Association of Woodturners, August 2018, Vol. 33, No. 4”. Or Click Here (PDF)

Updated: 6/5/2020. Also check out my Collet Chuck Revisited blog entry and my Collet Chucks blog entry.

Get A Grip

Here is my “Get A Grip” tip that appeared in the “Tips” section on page 18 of the AAW August 2018 “American Woodturner” Journal.

Adding a layer of elastic mesh sleeve is a cheap and easy way to get a better grip on your woodturning tools. My friends and students like it. You can purchase mesh sleeve from (I purchased item #5969K23). It is made of 1⁄16″- (1.5mm-) thick polyethylene plastic and comes in different sizes and colors. The mesh I bought would cover handles with an outside diameter (OD) of 1″ to 1½” (25mm to 38mm).

Workshop Blower for Cleanup

One of my students showed up one day with a little battery powered workshop blower. I tried it and I was sold. I had to have one.

I put it on my Christmas list last year and it is the best Christmas present ever!

These little blowers are light weight and just the right size for quick clean up. I just blow all the saw dust and shavings off of my lathes onto the floor and then sweep or vacuum them up.

I have a big air compressor and air hose. But, my little blower is a lot more fun. There is no hose to drag around. I don’t have to waste money at the end of the day running my air compressor. My blower has 3 speeds. Low speed puts a lot less dust in the air then my air hose.

My blower is a Bosch model GBL18V-71. I just needed the blower because I already had a battery for my other Bosch tools. All the other manufacturers (Makita, Dewalt, Milwaukee, etc) make similar blowers. So, if you already have a battery you should be able to pick up a blower. The bare blowers (no battery) sell for around $80.

The blower also works great for cleaning my car out. Open all the doors and blow the dirt out. Blow out the dirt and bark after I haul logs around.

Note: These blowers are smaller than the ones they sell for leaf blowers. The air speed is also lower, so they create less dust and are easier to control.