Woodturning is said to be the safest form of woodworking, that said it can still be dangerous and care should be taken at all times

The methods and procedures I show here are what I do at the moment and feel safe doing, I am not suggesting that you should do things the same way, that is up to you, if you don’t feel safe doing it one way find another way of doing it.

Above all take care and remember if this is your hobby it is supposed to be fun so enjoy it.

There are many ways to make face plates and other such items for use on the lathe, you can cut a spigot or recess to fit on your chuck.   You can mount it on a screw chuck or glue block, all these work as a one off but for a piece you will use often or for heavy or awkward shapes you need something a bit sturdier.

You can buy nuts of the correct size for your spindle and glue them into a recess in a piece of wood but I have found this a bit tricky in the past to get everything running smooth and getting a good bond between the nut and the wood.

I now use a tap to cut a thread in a piece of wood so it fits directly on to the spindle, for this I use a Beall Spindle tap HERE.   I brought this one because it was the cheapest I could find at the time for my Hegner which has a M33 x 3.5 thread but you can get them elsewhere.

The best wood to use is a close, closed grain wood such as box or holly, you can use other woods but the coarser the grain the more likely the thread is to crumble.   To over come this once you have cut the thread flood it with thin superglue and leave to dry then run the tap through the thread again to clear out the excess glue.   You can also put a thread directly into ply wood using this method, but I prefer threading a boss and then gluing and screwing a piece of ply onto that.

Below is how I cut a thread using the tap.

The first thing to do is measure your spindle to get the correct sizes, the measurements I give here are for my Hegner.   You need the overall size from the back of the register to the front of the spindle A=30mm.   The depth of the register B=11mm and the diameter of the register which is not marked on the photo but is 34mm


You also need to check your tap to see where the full thread starts.

If you look at the picture below you can just make out that the first 4 or 5 threads are not complete they have flat tops of varying size.   So to get the correct depth of thread you need to add the length of these, which in this case is 15mm to the length of the spindle which was 30mm so I need a hole of at least 45mm to get the correct length of thread for my lathe.


Next choose your piece of wood to thread, as I said before the best wood for this is a close, closed grain wood such as holly or box.   The best wood for a face plate seems to be 18mm ply but this doesn't take a thread well so use another piece of wood as a boss for it.

Having said that the piece I am using here is sycamore, I turn a lot of natural edge bowls and when I reverse them to remove the spigot I need a long piece of wood to hold it against and this is what this will be used for.

Next you need to mount it on the lathe, at the time I took these pictures I was feeling lazy so I didn't put it between centers first and cut a proper spigot for it.   Instead I mounted it in the chuck as a square in my gripper jaws, you can see by the pictures that the jaws stick out from the chuck body a bit, THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED.   I know the jaw carriers are still held on by at least 2 teeth of the scroll and it is perfectly safe and wont come flying off but I do not recommend you do it this way.   depending of the size of the piece of wood there are lots of ways to hold it such an a properly cut spigot, screw chuck, glue block etc.

Once you have it mounted properly face off the front end so it is flat and mark the center point.


The important thing now is to make sure the head and tail stocks line up properly so bring the tail stock up and check the center against the point you have just made to make sure it is aligned properly.


Now to drill the hole, for the M33 x 3.5 tap a hole of 30mm is a good size so mount a forstner bit in the tail stock and bring it up ready to drill.

To make life easier I mark on the drill with a white board marker, it is easy to rub off when finished, the depth I want to go to, ignore the second mark on the drill I mistakingly used a permanent marker before and haven't got around to cleaning it off yet.   As mentioned above I need a hole of at least 45mm so I have marked the drill at 50mm.


I usualy have the lathe going at about 500rpm for drilling as I have found this to be the best speed.   Slowly advance the drill removing it often to clear the debris until you get to your depth mark.

You now have the hole ready for tapping.


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