|Review by dmann||posted 04-02-2009 04:47 AM||5206 views||2 times favorited||4 comments|
I picked up a new Nova lathe at the Woodcraft sale last month and have been adjusting to the new spindle size. I sold all my old faceplates with my old lathe I am slowly gathering accessories for the larger spindle size of the new lathe.
This gave me a perfect excuse to spring for a Beall Spindle Tap. Using this tool you can tap threads into a block of wood and thread it directly on your lathe spindle. Previously I could only create cusom chucks by clamping a block of wood in my scroll chuck and customizing from there. While this is simple to do sometimes having the additional rotating weight and size of a scroll chuck was inconvenient. Also trying to get the chucks aligned after removing from the scroll chuck was almost impossible.
It is pretty simple to use, just takes a little patience and planning. If you’ve already got wood prepared you could probably do this start to finish in 10 minutes or less. Here is my process:
1) Prepare the chuck material
I have tried two materials so far. First was a 1.5” thick by 5” round piece of Brazilian Cherry. The second was a set of oak boards that I laminated with glue. Position the laminations at 90 degrees for strength and to reduce warping.
2) Drill a pilot hole
Use a Forstner bit that is 1/8” smaller than your spindle size.
I bought the 1 1/4” tap so I use a 1 1/8” Forstner bit to drill the pilot hole. You can drill this on the lathe or on a drill press, I did mine on the drill press since I was planning on truing up the block once it was on the lathe.
3) Position chuck material and tap on the lathe.
If you can lock your spindle, lock it.
Position the piece against your headstock. I created an insert for my scroll chuck with a 1 1/8” tenon to insure correct alignment.
Position the tap in the pilot hole.
Bring up the tailstock to apply a little pressure.
4) Start threading!
Note: This is all done with elbow grease – the lathe is only used for alignment.
Once everything is positioned slip a 14mm wrench on to the indent on the spindle tap.
Slowly push forward 1/2 turn. Take up the slack using the tailstock crank.
I usually keep one hand on the wrench and one hand on the tailstock crank.
Continue this process until the end of the tap is close to your custom tenon.
So far I have created 2 useful chucks, the first of many I am sure.
1) A vacuum chuck with a dried block of brazilian cherry and a 4” pvc connector pipe. Total cost $8.
2) A 5” diameter jam chuck out of some 5/8” oak boards that I laminated. Total cost $4
The only drawback I can see right now is that there is a practical limit of how large you can make a chuck. I am probably going to stick to 6” or less in diameter. Remember these threads are in wood so they won’t be as durable as threads in a metal faceplate.
The taps are available for popular lathe spindle geometries, a full list is here:
-- David / Durham, NC