How to make a wood lathe screw chuck

Written by patti perry
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How to make a wood lathe screw chuck
Wood lathe screw chucks are the old method for easy removal and remounting of work. ( Images)

You can make a wooden screw chuck to hold many projects, such as bowls and platters, on the lathe. A screw chuck allows you to mount and remove work quickly. Projects can also be accurately remounted with the screw chuck. Other homemade chucks and faceplates are easily attached using this device. These instructions are for use with a lathe with 3/4-inch by 16 pi threads.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • 2 pieces 1.5-inch thick hardwood, 3-inches wide
  • Vice
  • Hand tapping wrench
  • Wood glue
  • Saw
  • 3/16 drill bit
  • Drill
  • Self tapping sheet metal screw, 1 and 1/4 inch long
  • Hacksaw

Show MoreHide


    Glue Block

  1. 1

    Measure a piece of hardwood -- maple, ash are good choices -- into a square. You can do a whole line of them off of one piece of scrap wood. It should be 1 and 1/4-inch thick and 2 and 1/2-inch wide.

  2. 2

    Mark the centre of the square with crossed pencil lines.

  3. 3

    Drill an 11/16 inch hole, at this centre point. This is the tap hole.

  4. 4

    Place the square of wood into a vice.

  5. 5

    Form threads in the hole with a hand tapping wrench. Back the tool up every so often, to clean sawdust from the threads.

  6. 6

    Drill a shallow 5/16 inch hole into the face grain, on the side of the block. This will facilitate removal from the lathe with a chuck.

  7. 7

    Place a 11/16 inch washer behind the hole and screw the block onto the lathe spindle.

  8. 8

    Flatten the face of the block and turn it round.

  9. 9

    Cut a rebate on the inside edge of the opening. This will help clear the spindle, when you reverse the block.

  10. 10

    Reverse the block to flatten the other side. Use a chuck in the side hole, if it sticks.

    Screw Chuck

  1. 1

    Attach the glue block to another 3-inch square of hardwood with wood glue.

  2. 2

    Cut the corners off of the square portion with a saw.

  3. 3

    Mount these combined pieces to the lathe.

  4. 4

    Turn it round with a dimpled centre and somewhat concave face.

  5. 5

    Remove the screw chuck from the lathe.

  6. 6

    Drill a 3/16-inch starter hole for a sheet metal screw.

  7. 7

    Screw in a 1 and 1/4 inch long self tapping sheet metal screw.

  8. 8

    Cut off the tip of the screw with a hacksaw. You do not need the point to use this chuck.

Tips and warnings

  • You can fabricate a chuck for the glue block side hole, by cutting the head from a 5/16 inch bolt and attaching a handle.
  • Always use caution when working with sharp tools.
  • Wear eye protection.

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