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.
I own both the “Beall Collet Chuck” and the “Apprentice Collet Chuck”. The Apprentice Collet Chuck is sold under a number of different names by different retailers.
Apprentice Collet Chuck
I really like the Apprentice Collet Chuck better than the Beall Collet Chuck. Because the knurled rings on the Apprentice allow you to tighten and loosen it with out wrenches most of the time!
Avalilable from Craft Supplies USA, Penn State, Etc.
Beall Collet Chuck
The Beall Collet Chuck does not have any knurled rings. The smooth body on the Beall chuck makes it difficult to hand tighten and almost impossible to loosen with out wrenches. Using the wrenches on the Beall chuck is a pain!
The Apprentice chuck is cheaper and you can use wrenches on it if hand tighen/loosen is not adequate.
The Beall chuck is available from Packard, Craft Supplies USA, etc.
The Apprentice and Beall chucks use the same “standard” ER32 spring collets developed for the metal working industry. If you need more sizes of collets you can easily find them on Ebay, Mcmaster, MSC, Enco, etc.
There are lots of different ways to mount ER32 collets in metal lathes. I recommend you avoid these solutions. The Apprentice and Beall chucks are cheaper and easier. Just screw them on. No drawbar required, etc.