Updated: 5/8/2020: I just discovered that this center is now be manufactured by Nova. It is called the “Nova Jumbo Spur Center”. You can get it from www.packardwoodworks.com it is $90 on 5/8/2020. However, I now like the “Oneway Big Bite Spur” center better than this center. See my “Oneway Big Bite Spur Center” blog entry at http://carlford.info/blog/2020/05/oneway-big-bite-spur-center/
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I find collet chucks convenient for holding small work.
Collets typically come in standard dowel sizes 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″, or 3/4″. So it is very easy to mount a chunk of dowel as a turning blank. Or you can mount a turning blank between centers and turn a tenon. I like to use 3/4″ diameter tenons when possible.
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I could not live without my Custom Centering Cones that I have turned out of ultar-high molecular weight (UHMW) polyethylene. I have turned lots of different shapes and use them often.
In 2007, I wrote a magazine artificial that explains how to turn your own cones out of UHMW.
See my “Custom Centering Cones” magazine article on page 49 of “American Woodturner, The Journal of the American Association of Woodturners, Winter 2007, Vol. 22, No. 4″ Or click here for the PDF. (Magazine photos by Joe Larese)