Lathe Challenge

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Forum topic by Dan posted 01-19-2013 08:34 PM 2170 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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159 posts in 3244 days

01-19-2013 08:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe chuck challenge question help assistance plan

I have a challenge for those with far greater skills than I. The lathe I have is from the 1920’s. The tailstock (more specifically the spindle) is shot. You can see my other topic for pictures. I have tried a few times to make a homemade live center spindle. I have come very close, but can’t quite get it right. I plan to keep trying, but would also like a chuck for the headstock.

Here is my challenge. As you can see in my prior topic, my lathe has a wheel attachment that I use as a disc sander. Below are photo’s of the attachment with the wooden disc removed.

——-For one, I would love to know why the wheel has rings rather than being flat. Thats just a curiousity in wanting to know my tool.——-

The actual challenge is to make a chuck from wood (obviously would involve hardware) that can be attached to this wheel via screws. There are the 4 screw holes near the center that would be perfect, or a larger assembly that would be mounted with all 8 screw holes for added stability (though the sanding wheel works fine with 2). I have been trying to figure out a way myself, but I am still a novice woodworker and, admittedly, my creativity is a bit lax.

My only request would be to keep the over-all cost of the assembly as low as possible. I plan to buy a new lathe at some point, so don’t want to spend very much on this one. I would like to make something using what I have already primarily, with minimal extra purchase. I will list below what basic things I already have.

Please keep in mind I would obviously be recreating your work, as much detail (possibly even simple drawn plans) would be appreciated.

Various wood:
—-I have a decent amount of 3/4” thick maple
—-1/4” and 1/8” thick Baltic Birch void free ply
—-Lots of 1/2” plywood (regular crappy ply, a lot is warped)
—-1 – 2×4 (4’ long)
—-Some 3/4” dowel
—-Various other wood in small amouts/sizes
Various wood screws
Standard drill bits (1/16” – 1/4”), 3/8”, #60, #61, #62
Spade drill bits (1/4, 3/8, 5/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 3/4, 7/8, 1, 1-1/8, 1-1/4, 1-3/8, 1-1/2)
Small ratchet set
Small wrench set
Adjustable wrench

Scroll saws
Table saw
Drill press (benchtop)
Lathe (prefer not to use in the process)
Router (prefer not to use as am not very good with it yet, and only have minimal bits)
—Bits listed verbatum
——1/8” Straight – 1 Flute
——1/4” Stright – 2 Flute
——1/2” Straight – 2 Flute
——1/4” Core Box
——3/8” Roundover with bearing
——5/32” Roman Ogee with bearing

-- Dan - Wooden Treasures CT -

7 replies so far

View hairy's profile


3345 posts in 4817 days

#1 posted 01-19-2013 10:03 PM

That faceplate looks to me like it is threaded. You could have a machinist, or DIY if you have the stuff, make an adapter to a modern thread that is ready for a chuck. Female threads to match your lathe headstock and male threads of 1” x 8 TPI. Bigger threads if your lathe has a big swing. Be sure to include set screws to secure it.

As for the tailstock. Take it to a machinist and get that spur drilled out to a Morse Taper #2. Or have them make a new piece with the MT2 in it. I would also want MT2 on the headstock.

It might cost a little, but you’d end up with a decent lathe.

I didn’t really answer the question that you asked. This way will update the lathe to be usable with many accessories available.

Lathes were around a long time before they started putting chucks on them. You can do a lot with waste blocks and glue blocks and jam chucks, but you are really limited without a tailstock.

-- there's someone in my head but it's not me...

View Dan's profile


159 posts in 3244 days

#2 posted 01-19-2013 10:15 PM

I appreciate the input, however, that would be out of my price range.

My tailstock is functional, the issue is to keep the piece between centers, I have no choice but to put so much tail end pressure the whole spindle burns into the wood.

If I can make a chuck, the chuck would hold the piece, with the tailstock simply keeping it steady. I don’t know how to better describe it, but basically I want a chuck because I believe with a chuck head, the tailstock I have will be fine.

-- Dan - Wooden Treasures CT -

View Dan's profile


159 posts in 3244 days

#3 posted 01-20-2013 01:04 AM

Update: I tested my theory from last comment by screwing a blank directly to the wheel attachment. I tightened my tailstock just to the point right before the flat of the spindle contacted (so was still only the small cone in the blank).

It’s slightly noisier than just center to center, but works like a dream.

This just means, to me at least, that until I can afford a new lathe, a custom chuck will work.

-- Dan - Wooden Treasures CT -

View Dan's profile


159 posts in 3244 days

#4 posted 01-20-2013 02:14 AM

8 minutes shy of being able to edit last comment. OK, I was slightly wrong, will work like a dream once I get the live center tail figured out. For now (at least with a long piece) the tailstocks whats killing me.

-- Dan - Wooden Treasures CT -

View runswithscissors's profile


3134 posts in 3310 days

#5 posted 01-20-2013 06:11 AM

When I was using a static tailstock, I would force the point into the wood quite hard (with the lathe turning at a low speed), until it would start to burn—then back off the pressure until it ran smoothly with not too much friction. A live tailstock of course takes care of that problem.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Woodknack's profile


13585 posts in 3665 days

#6 posted 01-21-2013 06:37 AM

Dan I have the same problem although I don’t think I’m getting quite as much burning. I’ve thought about turning a cone center from hard wood and drilling it to fit over the dead center. It may not last forever but it’s basically free.

A pic is worth a thousand words.

-- Rick M,

View Dan's profile


159 posts in 3244 days

#7 posted 01-21-2013 07:00 PM

Thats what Ive done so far Rick, only difference is rather than slipping it over my dead center tail, I put a bearing in it, and made a new spindle out of wood. Didnt work yet, was too wobbley, going to redo it and put a double bearing assembly instead to give more stability.

-- Dan - Wooden Treasures CT -

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