Tag Archives: chucks

Collet Chuck Revisited

I find collet chucks convenient for holding small work. For bottle stoppers, bird calls, etc.


The screw on Apprentice and Beall Collet Chucks are getting pretty pricey. I recently found a cheaper alternative in the metal working world. You can purchase a “Straight Shank ER32 Collet Holder” for around $25 on Amazon. If you already have a set of ER32 collets. Then you are ready to go. Otherwise you also need to purchase a basic set of ER32 collets for around $30 on Amazon. All prices on 5/6/2020.
Continue reading Collet Chuck Revisited

Mounting Plates and Shallow Bowls

Updated: 6/5/2020. This idea was published as “Drilled Chucking Recess” in the “Tips” section on page 16 of the AAW April 2020 “American Woodturner” Journal. Click here for page 16 PDF.

I have found that using a 2-1/2″ diameter hole that is 1/4″ deep is a good way to mount blanks for plates and shallow bowls on the lathe. It is easy and very secure.

It’s a lot better than using a chuck screw. Because chuck screws and shallow holes don’t mix well.

I drill a 2-1/2″ diameter hole that is 1/4″ deep with a Forstner bit. Then expand my 4 jaw chuck into the hole.


You need to be careful when drilling a big hole. You ABSOLUTELY need to use a drill press. Using a hand held drill would be a receipt for disaster.

You also need to clamp the blank down to the drill press table. A big drill bit can easily catch and rip the blank out of and/or thru your hand. Any sharp edges or corners on the blank will shred your hand.


The cheap “Steelex” brand Forstner bits currently available on Amazon for $2x work ok. The Amazon reviews vary quite a bit. Getting a good one is a crap shoot. I have gotten 2 winners recently.

Note: Amazon dynamically prices everything. I purchased a new 2-1/2″ Forstner bit last week for $20. Today the lowest price it will show me is $28.91. If I wait a few more weeks then the price will probably go back down to $20.

Foam Cole Jaws


Here is my “Craft Foam Projects Bowl Rim” tip that appeared in the “Tips” section on page 15 of the AAW February 2019 “American Woodturner” Journal.

Note: Click here to view PDF with Photos 1, 2, 3 referenced below.

I recently discovered sticky-back craft foam at my local craft store. It is 1/8″ (3mm) thick with a self-adhesive back. I purchased a couple of sheets for future use and have now found a good use for it. I’ve installed it on the face of my jumbo jaws to protect a bowl’s rim when reverse-chucked.

Simply remove the buttons from the jumbo jaws, cut the foam to shape with scissors, stick it on, and reinstall the buttons (Photos 1, 2). You can poke holes through the foam for various button placement as needed. I no longer need to fumble with trying to stick a paper towel between the jaws and my work when I’m concerned about damaging a finished surface (Photo 3).

The foam sticks very well but could be peeled off if necessary. I plan to leave the foam on the jaws indefinitely and replace it when it wears out.

Long ago, I also made my own buttons for my jumbo jaws out of some rubber corks that I purchased at the local hardware store. I drilled a hole through the corks and attached them with longer machine screws (also from the hardware store). I really like this solution. The deep dovetail shape of the corks holds the work securely.

Additional Information

You can purchase the rubber corks with a hole already thru them from www.mcmaster.com item # 9545K116 $8.33 per pack of 25 on 4/4/2019. The matching 30mm long 8mm screws are #92000A438 $8.15 per pack of 25 on 4/4/2019.