Longworth Chuck

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Project by QuarterSawn posted 12-29-2012 07:38 PM 92588 views 56 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wish I would have built one of these years ago. It would have saved a ton of frustration and some seriously destroyed projects. On my second attempt, I think I mastered the Longworth Chuck. The first one was “okay”, but had some wobble that made it annoying and it just wasn’t true enough for precise work. On my second at bat, I nailed it and learned some important lessons worth passing on to any turners that care to venture onward:

1. Use expensive or “solid” plywood, preferably Baltic birch but something without voids. Believe it or not, even the smallest void will render your chuck out of balance.

2. RTFM, or more politically correct, follow the instructions (I used those linked from a project posted by fellow Lumberjock “thedane”). You must cut your circles, screw them together, mount a faceplate, turn them true and then mark your true center. Then mark your circles and arcs and from there and you are golden.

My second attempt runs so true it almost brings a tear to my eye. Now I can pitch my worthless Cole jaws that never seemed to quite fit whatever I was attempting to reverse chuck. I haven’t lost a single piece from the Longworth chuck and I can’t count how many flew (or wiggled) off the Cole jaws.

-- Dwight

16 comments so far

View bobasaurus's profile


3563 posts in 3483 days

#1 posted 12-29-2012 08:07 PM

Looks great. I’ll have to build one… I have the same trouble with the cole jaws.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View hhhopks's profile


654 posts in 2676 days

#2 posted 12-29-2012 08:08 PM

That is awsome!

Just a question. How do you ensure the object that is to mounted will be centered?
Can you expand on the materials used?

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View JJones98042's profile


228 posts in 2551 days

#3 posted 12-29-2012 08:53 PM

Looks great! I have GOT to make one of these myself! :)

-- "Keep thy airspeed up, lest the earth come from below and smite thee." - William Kershner

View a1Jim's profile


117534 posts in 3876 days

#4 posted 12-29-2012 09:24 PM

Great job ,a cool tool.

View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

702 posts in 3368 days

#5 posted 12-29-2012 11:17 PM

I also wonder how do you position the bowl so it centered?

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables

View tomakazi's profile


686 posts in 3581 days

#6 posted 12-30-2012 12:12 AM

very nice!! i could also use one of these!! thanks for posting.

-- I didn't go to college, I was too busy learning stuff - Ted Nugent

View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 2664 days

#7 posted 12-30-2012 01:06 AM

One of these is on my short term todo list.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

View QuarterSawn's profile


7 posts in 3758 days

#8 posted 12-30-2012 01:42 AM

Here’s the link to the plans that I used and discusses the materials in quite a bit of detail:

I essentially went with the same materials list as described in the article. I do make my own faceplates via a Beal spindle tap. I also create a ton of jam chucks with the spindle tap and it has definitely been a worthwhile investment. The beauty of the longworth chuck is that as you rotate the plates it moves the stoppers inwards and self centers your bowl. You simply tighten your buttons/stoppers which in turn holds the bowl and cinches the plates together. I’ve found that it helps to tighten them in the same way you would lug nuts, meaning you tighten those opposite each other and at 180 degrees and move around the chuck. If you need to hold something really small, you can remove 4 of the 8 stoppers (in the short arcs). This seems to provide sufficient holding power since generally smaller diameter bowls are lighter.

-- Dwight

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 2780 days

#9 posted 12-30-2012 02:07 AM

Very cool build. I’m lucky my cole jaws work very well. The longworth jaws can also be used in segmented bowl ring glue ups to center rings on top of each other on the horizontal. I’m building a set of these to center rings. Thanks for posting.

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View thewoodworker01's profile


93 posts in 2444 days

#10 posted 12-30-2012 02:22 AM

Very cool. I started to build one then found out my router with my router bit wouldn’t go deep enough when plunging into the chuck. Looks great. I might try to retry that sometime.


-- Most people say "Measure Twice, Cut Once." I say, "Cut Twice, Measure Once".

View Rustic's profile


3255 posts in 3895 days

#11 posted 12-30-2012 06:42 AM

I need one of these.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View hunter71's profile


3359 posts in 3485 days

#12 posted 12-30-2012 11:37 AM

On my “to do” list.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View stefang's profile


16568 posts in 3633 days

#13 posted 12-30-2012 02:09 PM

Looks like you did a great job on this Dwight. I have the plans, but haven’t yet got around to making one yet as I haven’t been turning much lately. I appreciate you comparing it’s usability to the Cole jaws (another thing I never made or bought).

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View hhhopks's profile


654 posts in 2676 days

#14 posted 12-31-2012 02:41 AM

Thanks for sharing.
What did you used as the grippers?
They kind of look like rubber stoper type of material.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View bch's profile


296 posts in 2988 days

#15 posted 01-02-2013 04:59 AM

Beautiful “jig”. I am favoriting so that when I finally own a lathe, I will have this in my arsenal. Great job!

-- --bch

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