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Tips: Avoid Damage from Chuck Jaws
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Avoid Damage from Chuck Jaws

I discovered a method for 4-jaw chucks to hold onto the foot of a bowl without leaving a mark on the wood.
I was fairly new at turning, and as a result, I turned myself into a corner, not able to remount a box elder bowl to turn the inside without leaving chuck-jaw marks on its already finished foot. I was pleased with the shape of the bowl and did not want to change the design.

I started looking for a solution. Leather or heavy rubber wouldn’t work. Semi-firm foam failed. Sandpaper scratched the surface. Finally, I looked into my box of electrical stuff and pulled out a coil of coaxial cable. The cable seemed firm enough, small enough in diameter, and just flexible and tacky enough to suggest that it might work. I cut off four inches and worked it into the jaws of the chuck, making certain that the ends came together in an open portion of the jaws, a spot where no part of the jaw metal would touch the ends of the cable. I did not want to mar the foot with the sharp ends of the cable. I tightened the jaws slightly and loosened them. No marks on the wood! I was giddy with success. I high-fived myself and started to turn.
Everything worked superbly. The bowl stayed on center better than it does with the jaws directly clamped onto the wood. I think that is because of the tacky nature of the plastic cover of coaxial cable.

I have tried the coaxial-assisted chucking on other small bowls and am delighted with how it works. I have not yet tried this on large bowls but I think it will work beautifully.

~ Stan Blanchard
Schenectady, New York

Editor’s note: See AW, vol 25, no 6, “It’s All in the Jaws,” by Richard Raffan. Raffan explains how he designs bowls so that chuck jaws do not mar the wood.




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