Ask WWGOA: Purchasing a Lathe Chuck

Question:

I have an inexpensive harbor freight lathe. I would like to purchase a lathe chuck to hold blanks to turn stuff. Don’t know how to go about doing that. Can you help?

Submitted by TommyG

Answer:

You’ll need to look at your owner’s manual to get some information about your lathe. Specifically, you’re looking for the diameter and thread count of the spindle on the headstock. A few common sizes are 3/4″. x 16 tpi (threads per inch), 1″ x 8 tpi, or 1-1/4″ x 8 tpi.

Once you know the correct size of your spindle, you can shop for a lathe chuck. The best way to buy a lathe chuck is to get one with a body and threaded insert that are two separate pieces.The threaded insert needs to be the correct size for your machine. If you ever change lathes, you can simply remove the insert and buy a new one (if your new lathe doesn’t have the same size spindle) instead of replacing the entire lathe chuck.

You’ll find chucks at places like Craft Supplies (www.woodturnerscatalog.com) Rockler (www.rockler.com) and Woodcraft (www.woodcraft.com).

George

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