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Holding Small Stock on the Lathe

By Mike Solomon

I have a tip that might make life easier for your readers.

When I need to turn small diameter rod on a larger lathe, the fitted chuck often will not close small enough to hold the workpiece. My six-jaw chuck on the South Bend 10K only goes down to about 1/8” diameter – what to do?

A simple solution that has saved me the fun of changing the chuck is as follows:

Remember when you tossed out that 1/4” or 3/8” hand electric drill because the motor went south? No doubt you saved the chuck. They normally have an internal thread to attach to the drill, somewhere around 3/8”. For this use, it makes no difference on the direction or actual size of the thread. Just place the chuck body in your lathe chuck, place your small shaft in the little chuck, lock it up, and you’re back in business.


The concentricity/center accuracy will amaze you. Give it a try and save yourself dropping the chuck on your hand as you protect the lathe bed – been there.

I hope this helps someone by making their project go a little smoother.

Please do us a tremendous favor and forward this e-mail on to your machining friends!

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