Woodturning Question

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Forum topic by Mjbada posted 04-23-2008 06:50 PM 1187 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 3730 days

04-23-2008 06:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: woodturning bowl help turning

I am a beginner woodturner. I have a Rikon lathe and a Nova Midi-chuck. I have been having trouble forming the bottom of the bowl that would go into the chuck. I try to form a dovetail but it doesn’t hold on the chuck. I’m not sure how long the wood should be to firmly sit in the chuck. Does anyone have any advice for me? Thanks. Mike

5 replies so far

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3735 days

#1 posted 04-23-2008 07:32 PM

i try and get at least a 1/4 inch lip to hold on to the chuck. it works well for me. also don’t make the whole to big.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View lew's profile


12100 posts in 3778 days

#2 posted 04-23-2008 10:51 PM


Roper’s comment about the hole size is important. When you open the chuck jaws, they no longer form a circle and you loose contact surface area inside the recess formed on the bottom of the bowl. Try to make the recess hole just slightly larger than the minimum chuck diameter. Also, when you mount the bowl, bring the tail stock up and set the live center into the “top” of the bowl. Then turn the outside shape. Capturing the stock between the chuck and the center will provide more support while roughing out the general outside shape.


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

View leonmcd's profile


204 posts in 3994 days

#3 posted 04-24-2008 03:27 PM

Also make sure your dovetail matches the angle on your chuck. If the dovetail angle does NOT match then you will have very little support.

-- Leon -- Houston, TX - " I create all my own designs and it looks like it "

View photo44's profile


4 posts in 2713 days

#4 posted 01-13-2011 01:07 AM

Try turning a tenon insted of a dovetail this may work better for you good luck

-- John waynesboro

View sbwertz's profile


12 posts in 2785 days

#5 posted 01-13-2011 05:48 PM

The tenon of the bowl should be shallow enough that it does not touch the bottom of the chuck opening. Instead, the base of the work should fit tightly up against the front edge of the chuck jaws. This keeps the work square in the chuck and gives a better grip than turning a longer tenon that bottoms out in the chuck and leaves a gap between the front of the jaws and the bottom of the bowl. I use a straight tenon, not a dovetail. Is your chuck geared, or does it use tommy bars? You can get the work tighter with the tommy bars. Put it loosely in the chuck and bring the tailstock up and tighten it. This makes sure it is straight in the lathe. Then tighten the chuck as tight as you can. Leave the tailstock in place while shaping the outside of the bowl, then remove it to shape the inside. By then most of the excess weight has been removed, and it is well balanced in the chuck. This should prevent it from coming out of the chuck. If all else fails, glue the bottom of the bowl to a scrap of wood on a face plate. Put brown paper between the bowl and the faceplate. That will hold very securely, and is easily removed when you are done.

-- Sharon, Phoenix

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