Woodturning An Easter Bowl Without A 4-Jaw Chuck

Walnut Bowl for EasterA little while ago, a viewer asked how he could turn a bowl without a chuck. He has a nice piece of wood and a new lathe but does not own a chuck. For many years now, I’ve consistently used a chuck when turning bowls.

As it turns out, I recently purchased a mini lathe myself and don’t yet have a chuck to fit the new lathe. I figured now would be a perfect opportunity to try out the my new lathe and to take on the challenge of turning a bowl without using a 4-jaw chuck.

The last time, many years ago, I turned a bowl using only a faceplate, I left screw holes in the bowl’s base. But now, I consider leaving screw holes totally unacceptable.

So, this was a challenge for me and the project had its issues. But in the end, I have a very nice small walnut bowl about 5 1/2 inches in diameter and 2 1/2 inches tall, finished with walnut oil. There are no screw holes in the base.

For the first mount, I screwed the faceplate to what would become the inside of the bowl and shaped the exterior. Then I glued a waste block to the bottom.

For the next mount, I screwed the faceplate to the waste block. Centering the faceplate on the waste block was a challenge. Then I refined the exterior and hollowed the interior.

For the final mount, I screwed the faceplate to a couple of layers of MDF shaped to fit the inside of the bowl. This was my jam chuck. With a little padding between the bowl and the jam chuck, the tail stock held the bowl on the lathe while I turned off the waste block.

I will now go back to using a 4-jaw chuck and will purchase one for my new lathe.

2 Responses to “Woodturning An Easter Bowl Without A 4-Jaw Chuck”

  1. Randy says:

    Hi Alan

    I’m a new turner. I enjoy your videos. Partly because you show the goofs and errors that I know happen to all woodworkers.

    I bought a Delta midi-lathe to get started on.

    Just curious why you bought a mini lathe when you already have a full size one.

    Randy Cosgrove

    • Alan says:

      I bought the mini lathe for portability. I participate in two clubs which have classes, demos, and such but never in my own shop. So, I wanted one I could haul around.
      This is the same question my son asked.