Wood Turning

First 2 Things I Ever Turned – Lathe Chuck and a Finial

Hi Carl,
First I wanted to say thank you for your videos. Almost everything I know so far about wood turning is from watching you. I needed to replace a missing finial for a bed that I had and I’ve had an old Shopsmith 10ER I got on craigslist a while back with the ambition of trying out turning so it was the perfect motivation to try something. I used oak from a tree that I cut down in the spring and put the wood aside to season for projects.

I didn’t have a chuck for the lathe but a 3/8″ iron pipe flange almost fits the spindle of the shopsmith (5/8″) so I bored out the center a little larger and drilled and taped a hole for a set screw. Then I screwed the flange into the end of the wood and started turning the finial at the far end, once I had it mostly shaped I turned a tenon in the middle and parted off the finial and cleaned up the remaining stock to use as a chuck. I faced it slightly concave to better help centering the piece then took it off the lathe and drilled a hole in the center and 4 holes on the sides. I tapped those holes and screwed in some bolts until they reached the hole in the center. It worked reasonably well but started to crack so that’s where the zip ties came in. I probably need to make one with the grain in the opposite direction.

In the picture you can see the chuck, finished finial and the one I was copying. It came out pretty well I think for the first time I’ve used a lathe, my wife says she can’t tell the difference even though I can.


Submitted by: Nick Horvath