The woodturning chuck or four-jaw chuck is a keystone tool used in the wood bowl turning process. While can turn a wood bowl without a chuck, the four jaw woodturning chuck makes life so much easier.
Four jaw chucks and faceplates are the way wood bowl turners attach bowl blanks to the lathe. Not only are they convenient, they are secure and very safe when handled properly.
A well-formed tenon will lock within the angled jaws of a four-jaw chuck and turn smoothly and secure during the whole bowl process.
Here are chucks and faceplates I use and recommend. Links will take you to Amazon where you can check current price and availability.
Hurricane makes a 4-Inch Woodturning 4 Jaw Chuck KitHTC100 which comes complete with a center screw chuck insert and hand tools to lock the chuck and remove and tighten the jaw screws. This chuck is available in a number of different headstock spindle sizes including; 1 1/2″ x 8 TPI, 1 1/4″ x 8 TPI, 1″ x 8 TPI, 3/4″ x 16 TPI, and M33 x 3.5mm
A beefier Five-Inch Version of the Hurricane Woodturning 4 Jaw Chuck Kit HTC125 is also available in the following headstock spindle sizes; 1 1/2″ x 8 TPI, 1 1/4″ x 8 TPI, 1″ x 8 TPI, 3/4″ x 16 TPI, and M33 x 3.5mm
(If you are unsure of your lathe headstock spindle size, please read Identify Wood Lathe Parts and Accessories)
Additional jaw sets are available for the four-jaw woodturning chuck listed above. These jaw sets go in by simply unscrewing the screws on the jaw slides, removing the current jaws and installing the new.
Large aluminum jumbo jaws can be installed on the Hurricane HTC100 woodturning chuck to make reverse chucking a bowl a piece of cake. These large jaws grip the rim of the bowl and hold it secure leaving the bowl base exposed and easy to finish.
Faceplates are a simple yet very effective way to securely attach wood and bowl blanks to the lathe. I have found that there are many applications for using faceplates, including dedicated jam chucks.
I have several faceplates on hand for different purposes and uses. Typically I will use larger faceplates with larger bowl blanks. Below are Amazon links to faceplates with either a 1″ x 8 TPI or 1 1/4″ x 8 TPI headstock spindle size.
|1" x 8 TPI Faceplates||1 1/4" x 8 TPI Faceplates|
|2" Diameter||2.5" Diameter|
|3" Diameter||3" Diameter|
|4" Diameter||3.5" Diameter|
|6" Diameter||4" Diameter|
If an accessory is not seating completely flat, use a plastic washer to fill the space. Without a washer, the bowl blank will vibrate and cause issues.
Security is critical to all connections on the lathe. This is true of the screws that hold the faceplate to the wood bowl blank. Use good quality Wood Screws that fit snug within the faceplate screw holes.
Never use sheetrock or drywall screws as these can snap off under pressure.
To drive the faceplate screws into the wood bowl blank, especially green wood, many times a good deal of force is needed. Basic screw driving drills can work, but I’ve found that the cordless Makita Impact Driver does the best job both inserting and removing faceplate screws. This link goes to a Makita set which also includes a standard cordless drill. I have found this set to be a great deal and usually more affordable than buying just the impact driver. You may want to explore more on Amazon for current deals.
One of my favorite accessories for the lathe is the vacuum chuck. It is a pleasure to remove the base of a bowl free of obstructions. The vacuum chuck is like a magic trick and the resulting perfectly turned bowl bottoms are proof of its magic.
The hold Fast Vacuum Chuck Kit is a simple kit that threads through the lathe headstock and provides suction to hold bowls secure while turning away the bowl bottom. Compressed air is all that is needed to form the vacuum. Don’t ask me how it works. I just know it works. 😉 I have a small Porter Cable Air Compressor that is more than enough to do the job. An air hose runs from the compressor to the Hold Fast Vacuum Chuck regulator and a smaller airline, that comes in this kit, runs up to the headstock spindle. Turn the valve with a bowl in position and the bowl stays in place instantly.
The Hold Fast Vacuum Chuck Kit comes in two sizes 1″ x 8 TPI and 1 1/4″ x 8 TPI. The kit includes a 3″ vacuum head chuck and an additional 6″ vacuum head chuck may be purchased for the 1 1/4″ x 8 TPI kit.
For quickly reversing and perfectly centering a bowl without removing it from the chuck, try the Hold Fast Chuck Reversing Adapter 1 1/4″ x 8 TPI MT#2 (also available in 1″ x 8 TPI). This ingenious device allows you to remove the chuck from the lathe with the bowl still attached. The bowl on the chuck is then attached to the reversing adapter and inserted into the tailstock. By sliding the tailstock, with the chuck and bowl attached, up to the vacuum chuck, the bowl is perfectly centered every time. This cool reversing adapter can be used to center bowls with or without the vacuum chuck.
For working with natural edge bowls and irregular wood, this vacuum chuck has been an amazing tool that has helped me turn away bowl tenons and form beautiful finished bowls.