Can't figure out how to finish lid without cole jaws

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Forum topic by toddbeaulieu posted 10-18-2015 06:02 PM 1064 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View toddbeaulieu's profile


815 posts in 3180 days

10-18-2015 06:02 PM

Feel free to tell me how I should have approached this, but I now find myself in a pickle with a small lidded box. I finished the lid and then parted it and made the bottom.

The last step is to impart a concave lid bottom but I can’t figure out how to mount it. I tried making a cole jaw of sorts and just could NOT CENTER it! And even went so far as to ruin the lip. I need a way to mount this centered so that I can redo the lip and finish the underside.

I’ve read a few people complaining about cole jaws, so I canceled my planned purchase. My chuck doesn’t open far enough to even try to finagle the lid in.

Thanks for any tips on how to get out of this jam, as well as how to do this better the next time.

EDIT: Adding photos, including one of the now damaged lid. Hint, it took me a couple of minutes to find it.

9 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


7005 posts in 2375 days

#1 posted 10-18-2015 06:14 PM

I would use some type of jam/friction chuck and hold it in place with the tailstock. Can be as simple as a wooden faceplate with some PSA sandpaper attached. Getting it centered can be a PITA, but it can be done.


PS: In the future, you may want to alter your technique a bit and turn the inside of the lid first, part it off, and then do the body. You can friction fit the lid on the box to turn the outside of the lid much easier than trying to do it the way you are. The only drawback is that the grain orientation will be in the opposite direction on the lid, which in many cases, is not a problem:

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View BobAnderton's profile


283 posts in 2966 days

#2 posted 10-18-2015 06:17 PM

First, the easy way for next time you make one. When you start turning make a spigot at each end of your cylinder that will fit your chuck so you can hold the bottom and the lid independently. Part it in two like you did, and you can turn the inside of the lid and the inside of the bottom, and the spigot and recess where the lid mates to the bottom. Now you can jam the lid onto the bottom and turn the top of the lid while holding the bottom in the chuck.

Where you’re at now where you’ve already turned the top of the lid, you’ll want to mount a board with a hole in it on a faceplate and turn a recess in it you can jam your lid into to turn the inside of the lid. Then press the lid out using the hole to push on the top of the lid.

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

View toddbeaulieu's profile


815 posts in 3180 days

#3 posted 10-18-2015 06:27 PM

@Brad, that’s some pretty nice work you did! Someday … (ps: tell me you’re not still using vi in 2015. I haven’t used Unix in Y E A R S … assuming I’m reading your handle correctly)

@Bob … wait! That’s way too obvious. Why didn’t I think of that?

Ok, so turn the inside FIRST. Dope!

Thanks guys!

View toddbeaulieu's profile


815 posts in 3180 days

#4 posted 10-18-2015 06:59 PM

Wow that was a perfect solution, indeed. Thanks again!

Now if I could just explain why I used a nice piece of beech for that…

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1414 posts in 1906 days

#5 posted 10-18-2015 09:40 PM

Todd, what Bob said. For a little more security, or in my opinion, a whole lot more security, use what is pictured below. It is called a Tail Stock Steady. It beats any other holding device on the market. Since I invented it, my opinion is a little biased. Of course, if you already have any of those other holding devices, this Tail Stock Steady will dramatically increase the odds of completing whatever you’re working on. If you want more details, pm me…...

As far as using the beech, hey, that’s the way things happen sometimes. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View toddbeaulieu's profile


815 posts in 3180 days

#6 posted 10-19-2015 03:28 PM

Jerry, that’s an interesting setup. Not sure how I could have used it to hold a tiny lid on, but I can see for larger projects. I have a book on chucks that I just picked up and he’s got “donut” jigs (forget the exact name) that look like another way to skin that cat. The outer donut holds the piece in and it’s held to an inner donut or platform via threaded rods.

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1414 posts in 1906 days

#7 posted 10-20-2015 01:08 PM

Todd, the reason I invented the Tail Stock Steady was because of my donut chuck exploding and putting a 6”+ gash on my side. It’s proven to be the best thing I’ve used for tenon removals, but, again, I’m biased…...

The pictures I posted are of one I set up to do a 5+” ID ring. If you notice the hole and slot in the top and middle pictures, if you were to put the struts in that slot, the angle would change and close up the distance for smaller items, about 2 1/4” OD.

If you were to flip the wheels, the gap between them allows you to turn something as small as 1 1/4” od.

My first one was made about October, 2012, and have about 250 forms that’s been done using this to remove tenons. There is a small learning curve required, but not something that stumps people. It’s actually a very simple tool, and I’m surprised no one has come up with it before…... Jerry

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2272 posts in 1239 days

#8 posted 10-20-2015 09:09 PM

Another take on Pete’s thing is to make a donut of sorts. Just big enough to contain the lid. 1) Stick a 4” X 4” piece of 2x on your faceplate. 2) Turn a tenon on it. 3) Mount it on the tenon. 4) Turn the square piece round. 5.) Turn a recess that the lid fits into snugly, and flat (if it’s snug enough, you have what Pete said – a friction chuck). That’s fine. If you have enough room between your head a tail stocks to work – I do not (my Shopsmith has a sliding head-, not tail-stock.) Ergo 6) Making sure that your lid sits nicely flat in the recess (no wobble), bore a 1/2” hole clear through, remove your new “chuck” from the lathe and take it to the bandsaw. Make a cut from the edge through to the center hole. 7) Mount it back on the tenon, put the lid in the recess, tighten the chuck. Now, you have a friction chuck that actually has chucking power and doesn’t require tailstock support.

-- Mark

View lew's profile


12385 posts in 3931 days

#9 posted 10-23-2015 04:49 PM

If you are going to make a bunch of these, about the same size, why not make a set of wooden jaw replacements for your chuck.

This is an example- although not for turning/finishing a lid-

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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