Longworth Chuck

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Project by Jim Jakosh posted 07-18-2012 02:11 PM 38579 views 64 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have read a lot about the Longworth chuck and thought I might need one some day so I built this one out of Corian with spanner wrenches made of maple, walnut and brass. The instruction for building one seemed to be the most complete in the following link:

I use two pieces of 1/2” corian and took the drawing and the material to LJ tyskkvinna (Lis) at the Geek Group in Grand Rapids. They have a CNC router and I figured that would be the best way to get the slots perfect. She had the plates cut for me with a center hole, slots and grab holes around the perimeter.
I turned a center hub out of steel with a 1”-8 thread and put in 8 1/4-20 bolts that are threaded into the Corian.
I counter bored one the the plates in the center to add a brass washer to hold the plates together during assembly. I used #6 bottle stoppers from a hardware store in Indiana with 1/4- 20 bolts in the center. Each stopper has a sleeve in to adapt it from the 3/8” center holes to 1/4”. I use lock nuts on the back but it turns quite hard to adjust the size with them so I probably will change to threaded knobs like all the other chucks are shown with.

Under the stopper I have Lexan washers for the part to sit on but I think they will need to be a bigger diameter. I will also try it without them.

The chuck is 10 1/4” diameter and has a capacity of 3 3/8” to 7 1/2”. I have a drawing for 6 extenders to mount on it to increase the capacity without having to make another chuck. I tried to show it with a bowl I have by the lathe but it is 8” and would not fit.

The last shot shows it running in the lathe to show that the Corian will not just fly apart like I had been told when I was making it.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

34 comments so far

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 3499 days

#1 posted 07-18-2012 02:17 PM

One of the neatest most useful projects I have seen in a while. Nice!

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View jeepturner's profile


946 posts in 3850 days

#2 posted 07-18-2012 02:20 PM

Nice build on the chuck. I also want to thank you for the link. I will be putting into my favorites so I can come back to it when I need it.

-- Mel,

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 4939 days

#3 posted 07-18-2012 02:24 PM

Nice one Jim. Really Pro build.

Why did some think that Corian would flay apart? Seems like pretty stable stuff to me. Maybe because it’s somewhat brittle?

Anyway, good job.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26089 posts in 4163 days

#4 posted 07-18-2012 02:33 PM

Hi Randy, glad you liked it! I plan to use it a bunch.

Hi Mel, you’re welcome. They had the best drawing plan of all the sites.

Hi Steve. I had a couple regular nay sayers tell me it is too brittle and will fly apart. The proof is in the pudding, I say. I don’t plan on hammering on it!!!!!!!!
I used it because it is stable and flat!! It will not react to humidity changes like wood. One other good material is phenolic board that my buddy, George, used. That would be a first choice for me If I had any.
I have found a good source for Corian and it works like wood….........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3246 days

#5 posted 07-18-2012 04:55 PM

Impressive ! Looks totally professional, useful too !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4391 days

#6 posted 07-18-2012 05:02 PM

Wow! What a great job you did on this Longworth chuck Jim. As Steve said, it looks professionally made. I have the same plans downloaded and I have been meaning to make one of these for some time now, but haven’ gotten around to it yet. I can guarantee that mine won’t be as nice as yours!

I am still amazed at the generosity of the inventor of this chuck Leslie Longworth that he did not attempt to capitalize on this outstanding design and instead decided to share it with other woodturners. Of course that didn’t stop others from capitalizing on it, and that’s ok, but at least we have the plans to build it ourselves if we wish.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Darell's profile


439 posts in 4651 days

#7 posted 07-18-2012 05:27 PM

Hi Jim, Nice looking chuck. I especially like the spanner wrenches you made and using the bottle stoppers. I made a Longworth chuck awhile back using plywood and MDF to fit my 16” lathe. I made mine from the instructions in the book “Jigs and Fixtures for Woodturning”. Very similar instructions to what you used. The biggest problem I ran into is the plywood wasn’t completely flat so the thing wobbles just a bit. Nothing that makes it unusable but a bit disconcerting to use. I only run it at 500 rpm so it’s not been a huge problem. I call it my prototype as I plan to make another when I get the time and can find flat, stable material. I bought some baltic birch at Woodcraft but it turned out to be less flat than what I already have. I’ve thought about phenolic but, again, when putting a straight edge to it, can’t find a flat piece. About the corian, I imagine that thing is a bit heavy but that might help with the stability. To make one out of corian to fit a 16” lathe it would be quite heavy. Maybe too heavy? I’ve got to admit that the corian looks great. I don’t understand the folks who told you corian wouldn’t work. We had a demo at our turning club meeting a year or so ago demonstrating turning corian projects. He had some good sized pieces and I’ve seen photos of larger pieces. Anyways, Great job.

-- Darell, Norman, Ok.

View oldnovice's profile


7702 posts in 4425 days

#8 posted 07-18-2012 05:33 PM

Jim Jakosh,

Good looking tool! This self centering concept could have other applications other than lathe work. I looked at the web site on how to make one. Cutting the slots manually looks interesting but one mistake and .... !

I like the CNC approach …. I would really like a CNC. My son is a master CNC machinist and he tells me about woodworking with CNC very time he gets a chance.

I have worked with corian, and some of its competitors, and found out that dropping them on a cement floor causes them to shatter. Are you concerned bout that?

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 3233 days

#9 posted 07-18-2012 05:40 PM

Hi Jim,
I really like this chuck. My list of things to do is getting longer and longer. Feel sure at some point I will give this a try. Thanks for all the info.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina ([email protected])

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26089 posts in 4163 days

#10 posted 07-18-2012 06:09 PM

Hi Oldnovice. If I ever dropped it on the cement floor, it would probably be scrap. I’m going to store it in a wooden cradle. I think that would do a job on a wooden one to where I would not use it. I know it is brittle so I designed it with the largest amount of material in certain areas so it would not be weak. I also tapped the threads into it instead of putting the head of the screw against it to mount the flange. I used 6 slots instead of eight to keep mass, too.

Hi Darrell. My first choice was aluminum but the price is way out of line for pieces as big as I needed them. This Corian cost me about 75 cents with the stack I bought. It is not that heavy and I think it wold be okay for a 16” one too. This one is over 10”..............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View jamsie's profile


90 posts in 4296 days

#11 posted 07-18-2012 06:27 PM

I built one too, but out of plywood. it is the best thing I ever did! But Corian? Isn’t that brittle?

-- Jamsie

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 3970 days

#12 posted 07-18-2012 07:07 PM

Jim, I don’t have or use a lathe but this looks cool!
Like it would do the job, you just amaze me with your skills:)
Keep it up!!!

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3570 days

#13 posted 07-18-2012 07:53 PM

Oh it’s for a lathe!!! Jim you had me scratching my head, after following the link you placed clear to the bottom that it all came clear for me LOL. Well if I had owned a lathe I might have know what you were talking about.

Anyhow what a great piece and great job.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3861 days

#14 posted 07-18-2012 08:59 PM

That’s a fine make of that chuck Jim. Very professional, very nice, high quality. It’s kool that Lis was able to help you out with those slots. I’m sure it works like a charm. Also top-3 congrats.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 4043 days

#15 posted 07-18-2012 09:00 PM

I found that when we cut it out, it was very much not brittle. Maybe I deal in a lot of really, really brittle plastics…

It looks great! I found some plastic for mine this week so I will be making one as well.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

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