Drilling a blank on lathe

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Forum topic by dpoisson posted 01-01-2013 03:43 PM 1459 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View dpoisson's profile


190 posts in 2909 days

01-01-2013 03:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe drilling chuck

Howdy folks, I am at a point in my life where I want to start drilling on the lathe. I usually make game calls, but looking at making other things as well (perhaps small bowls eventually, ornaments, etc).

I know I need a jacob’s chuck to hold the drill bit.

I also need a 4 jaw chuck to hold the piece of wood.

So far, so good. Where it gets a bit fuzzy is with the jaws and what they can hold. For my game calls, I need to hold game calls blanks (as well as the ornaments I have in mind) that are 1.5” to 2” sq. I would hold these on the outside. Does it matter if these aren’t perfectly square?

For bowls, I just know I’d like to eventually make some…I pretty much know nothing about them. My lathe has 6 (8?)” swing with 1/2HP. So I could make platters or small bowls with it I believe.

In a perfect world, I would buy a chuck that can do everything I want it to without purchasing extra set of jaws.

Would this fit the bill?




13 replies so far

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2105 days

#1 posted 01-01-2013 04:04 PM

Chuck the game call between centers and turn a round area for the 4 jaw chuck to grip. Additionally, turn a slight taper so that the round part farthest from the end is slightly smaller, this will cause the chuck jaws to pull the wood into the chuck and help keep it from coming off of the chuck.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View lew's profile


12055 posts in 3750 days

#2 posted 01-01-2013 04:09 PM

Looks like a pretty good deal. Although I haven’t personally used this particular brand, the reviews look positive.

As for your question about square blanks, no- they don’t have to be perfectly square. Here is a link to an adapter to help hold blanks such as you describe:

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

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2981 days

#3 posted 01-01-2013 04:21 PM

If your blank is not perfectly square – or if you manage to mount it without it being square. Once you drill the hole and mount it again, you will make it round and lose any excess that was on the larger side of the not-square.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View jeepturner's profile


939 posts in 2787 days

#4 posted 01-01-2013 04:25 PM

I have a similar chuck. It requires two hands to insert the rods to tighten the chuck. I will soon be purchasing a chuck that I can tighten with one hand while helping to hold the position on the work piece. I don’t know where you shop but Rockler has a chuck on sale right now also but it is $213.00 Oneway Talon chuck. The Nova at Woodcraft is $150. I know that they cost more, but from my perspective I purchased the one I have now for ninety bucks but as the holes used for tightening get looser and looser and the promise on one that works better is still out there, I know that eventually I will spend the addition money to buy the better chuck.

-- Mel,

View dpoisson's profile


190 posts in 2909 days

#5 posted 01-01-2013 05:59 PM

tyskkvinna: So, I’d just be loosing a bit of material, but I would still be able to drill a hole in it.

jeepturner: I am aware that it requires two hands to tighten, but alas, I can’t aford a oneway (or better) chuck right now. So far, the stuff I got from PSI has worked fairly well.

I’m still perplex as to my question regarding what can and cannot be “grabbed” by the included jaws though.
It comes with the following jaws:

#1 Step jaw gripping: External: 3/32” to 1-7/8”, Internal: 11/16” to 3-3/8” #2 Standard Jaw gripping: External: 1-1/2” to 3-1/8”, Internal: 2” to 3-7/8”

From what I can see, I could easily grab onto a call blank (external) with either. What about a bowl or platter. Are either of these jaws grabbing a dovetail recess (is that how they are called?) in a bowl or platter?




View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3580 days

#6 posted 01-01-2013 06:27 PM

There is such a chuck selling here with a lot of jaws for a similar price I have never used one but there is also another very similar cheap chuck called a Fox chuck comes with a set of jaws sells here for about eighty pounds plus del.I bought one and must honestly say it was one of the worst investments I made in woodturning. Everything I tried to hold on it eventually worked it’s way loose and came flying out towards my face.I ended up giving it explaining what I felt about it to a friend who wanted it for a spare, but I would say chucking is very important to get right first time.Please rethink your ideas and buy a better one imho and you won’t regret your purchase like I did. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View REO's profile


928 posts in 2069 days

#7 posted 01-01-2013 07:43 PM

if they give an inside and outside gripping range they will have been made with a gripping surface on both the inside and outside. They will grip a tenon or a recess. I have one that I have used for several years and it still works well. although it is important to get your workpiece tight it is not necessary that you tighten it until until the part dies again. over time you will get a feel for it. chucking out of square parts will be a little iffy there is a good chance for movement. someone else posted a good workaround by turning the end round between centers first. there is no need to remove the chuck and then reinstall it. just get a spur drive that has a straight section next to the working end (many do) and chuck it up in the fourjaw.

View bake's profile


384 posts in 3672 days

#8 posted 01-01-2013 08:00 PM

I have the chuck you are interested in, and it works fine. They sell a pen drilling jaw set for it that would work well for your game calls and such.
As Tyskkvinna said your wood does not have to be perfectly square. I use the pen jaws to drill all kinds of stuff, lots of deer antler.

-- I love the smell of Home Depot in the morning, it smells like.......carpentry. Bake, Bar Lazy U Woodworks, Lehi,UT.

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2141 days

#9 posted 01-02-2013 02:04 AM

I have that chuck set and have used it for bowls and a platter. I’ve used the #2 jaws to grip a tenon. I have also used the woodworm screw to hold a bowl blank in place while turning a recess on the bottom then using the step jaws.

View dpoisson's profile


190 posts in 2909 days

#10 posted 01-15-2013 06:45 PM

thanks everyone for your replies.

I have a final question that’s related: Can any 4 jaw set grab externally a square or round (dowel) piece of wood?



View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2141 days

#11 posted 01-15-2013 06:59 PM

No, not well enough that you’d actually want to use it. For example, with the PSI utility chuck you get a set of pin jaws. I would not use those to hold wood on the outside. The interior gripping surface is too small and the danger of the wood getting pulled off too high. With most jaw sets, there will be measurements telling you the interior and exterior holding capabilities. If the jaws don’t have interior or exterior, that means you shouldn’t use them to hold wood that way.

View dpoisson's profile


190 posts in 2909 days

#12 posted 01-15-2013 07:26 PM

Kreegan: Maybe I wasn’t clear, my bad. I understand that for each set of jaw, there is going to be a range of interior and exterior sizes it can grab. I was more concerned with the shape of what it can grab.

I’m guessing it can grab round and squares without problem, since you’re drilling a square block and you would grab a round recess to turn a bowl. Right?



View bondogaposis's profile


4722 posts in 2346 days

#13 posted 01-15-2013 08:06 PM

First chuck the square end in your chuck and put a live center in the tail stock and turn a cylinder at the tail end. Then swap ends, complete the cylinder and finish your turning. Then remove live center and replace w/ drill chuck and drill away. It it doesn’t have to be perfectly square for this to work but it helps if it is reasonably square and you should mark centers on both ends before you start.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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