View Full Version : Help with the Chuck

1st Aug 2004, 10:33 PM
I bought the VM120. I made a small cylindrical box yesterday out of pine and the chuch worked well. Today i got some wood (redgum i think) from a firewood supplier. I put some of it on the lathe in the chuck and as i was begining to turn a small essence receptical it come out of the chuck and hit me in the head. It was not hard and i was not hurt. What my question is. Can you experienced guys give me an idea of how i should be setting the wood in the chuck? What should i look out for?
I am joining the South West Sydney turners guild but i have been told that they dont meet until the end of the month.
If anyone else has anything that will help me in turning until i can get there then i would appreciate it.

1st Aug 2004, 11:24 PM
a full face helmet would help :D
but really wear a full face visor(shield) to stop the headbutts
and maybe go to the library and see if they have a turning video therre but I reckon wait till u get some lessons it will be less painful for ya

1st Aug 2004, 11:43 PM
If you can use a screw instead of the chuck jaws you should - at least for the start as the main danger is at the start when the timber is out of balance.
The other thing I do is not stand directly in line with the timber while it is rough, try and stand to one side so if the timber does launch you are not in the way.

journeyman Mick
2nd Aug 2004, 12:16 AM
....it come out of the chuck and hit me in the head. It was not hard and i was not hurt.....

You need to develop a harder head! :D
On the other hand, maybe not as it didn't hurt :p


2nd Aug 2004, 06:18 AM
I'm sorry, it must be the late hour but I found Babytoolman's accident such a laugh! I love this slapstick stuff. Try saying it in your best Spike milligan Goon Show voice........it come out of the chuck and hit me in the head. It was not hard and i was not hurt..... Eccles, why is dis ding hittin me on the head?
I know it is a serious subject and we must at all times be so careful with our safety. And yes, I'll probably go to hell for that one. :D
Signing off with tears of laughter,

Red neck
2nd Aug 2004, 08:16 PM

… If you can use a screw instead of the chuck jaws you should - at least for the start as the main danger is at the start when the timber is out of balance….

Good advice from Smidsy. I attach the work piece to a face-plate with a few wood screws and turn the outside of the bowl.

Alternatively your chuck would have come with a ‘glasser’ type screw. I use an MDF ‘washer’ between the chuck and the work piece to provide support and surface contact. Drill a hole in the centre of the work piece and with the lathe turning at slow speed (or winding it by hand) feed the work-piece onto the screw. Don’t over-tighten or the screw will pull out of the work-piece.

Turn a tenon on the base of the bowl/box slightly larger than the minimum size of your chuck jaws when fully closed. When the outside is shaped, sanded and finished with ‘U-beaut’s’ Shellawax Cream remove it from the face-plate or ‘glasser’ screw and chuck it by the tenon in your scroll chuck. Take gentle cuts with a sharp chisel to waste the interior.

If you don’t have a face shield then don’t stand in the firing line! I quote from a bad experience.


2nd Aug 2004, 08:28 PM
Hei Red,
You must be on the sauce if you're agreeing with me.
The thing I found amazing when I joined my local wood turning group was that I was the only person wearing safety specs - they've got half a dozen good condition face masks hanging up and no one uses them.

2nd Aug 2004, 08:31 PM
What type of jaws are you using in the chuck???
Maybe this could be the problem too. I usually use a pair of 'shark jaws' to hold the piece when making small boxes. Or the other method is as described above and use a screw with a faceplate.

Red neck
2nd Aug 2004, 09:18 PM

Just another thought, if your turning with the grain across the lathe axis then my comments above are valid. If you are turning with the grain parallel to the lathe axis you may be better using a spur drive and support from the tailstock, at least until you have the shape ‘balanced’. Then revert to your chuck. Before using your chuck in contracting action ensure that the surface resting on the face of the jaws has been trued-up to keep the axis of the work-piece parallel to the lathe axis.

Smidsy, no sauce mate, just the aroma of timber being reduced to sawdust!


3rd Aug 2004, 05:39 PM
It's a big chuck for small pieces!

Anyway, tighten up a bit harder and see how that goes (should leave clear jaw marks when you demount the piece), and make sure you've got at least 4 - 5 mm depth of grip with the jaws.

I have the 100, and started with the screw mount system but now never bother. Quicker to use a spur drive/spindle mount and cut a rebate for the jaw shoulders.

Like BigPete says, think about shark jaws - will suit almost all of your routine jobs and you'll never go back to the standard dovetail jaws - but for smaller stuff shell out for pin jaws. Both are excellent investments.

3rd Aug 2004, 10:27 PM

Yep I second that

4th Aug 2004, 09:57 AM
Thanks for all the advice. I will be back out in the firing line this afternoon so i will take your advice and see how i go.


4th Aug 2004, 12:29 PM
Mate the best thing I find to do is to pre-drill the holes and then use the screw to align the bit of wood. Redwood is quite hard and as such needs a bit more care when handling.

Good Luck



4th Aug 2004, 01:12 PM
Gee guys, you all ask great questions here.....

"What should I watch out for........?" :eek:

How about flying s&6T coming at your head.....or blonde cheerleaders in Corvettes....... :confused:

"If you could use a screw instead of a......?" ;)

Well, let's see, a screw or....working in the shop......gee, I know which one I'd choose! :D

Seriously, a full face mask is required, and lessons in the fine art of turning seem wise if you are at a point of asking this question, rather than stuff about how many degrees to sharpen your tools at. I suggest you read through as much of the archives of this site as you can, it's probably the best I've found. :cool: Also, please keep yer sense of humor!