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How to Make a Longworth Chuck with Ron Thompson

Woodworking Adventures is back with a new blog site and our first story is in the shop with the “Turning Tuesdays” guys with another home spun turning project. Ron Thompson shows us how to make a self-centering Longworth Chuck. The Longworth chuck was developed by Leslie Douglas Longworth of the Hunter Valley Woodturners in Australia in the late 1980′s. Featuring a self centering mechanism that easily and quickly adjusts to the size of your turning by using a pair of disks which rotate against each other, drawing in and out the attached rubber jaws on a series of opposing arcs.

Starting out with 2 separate birch plywood pieces, Ron makes this particular chuck out of 3/8″ ply, and 3/4″ ply.

A 1/4″ birch dowel is glued in the center of the 3/4″ plywood. Both plywood pieces are turned to a specific diameter depending upon your individual lathe requirements.

In this build, a holding fixture is made to fit the 1″-8 diameter faceplate.

The fixture is clamped to the workbench using Bessey 6″ F-style clamps.  The faceplate and chuck assembly are clamped to the fixture located by the faceplate hole.

Circles of 1″ and 2″ diameters are marked from the center of the chuck, followed by a circle drawn 3/4″ in from the outside edge.  Another circle is drawn in between that circle and the 2″ circle. In this case 6 arcs of 4-3/4″ for the slots are drawn with a compass as shown below.

Ron uses an LED flashlight to help view the centering pivot cross points through the router fixture for using a Round-Blade Awl to route the 6 slotted arcs.

Ron uses a DeWALT Plunge Router to create the radius slots using a Whiteside 1/4″ diameter spiral router bit.

In addition thumb holes are machined through for opening and closing the chuck with a 1″ forstner bit.

Sand the rough edges and add finish if desired.

Complete build details are in the video:

This exercise was making a 6-slotted Longworth Chuck.  To make an 8-slotted Longworth Chuck, follow the instructions on this link.

More sawdust will be flying from Codger Lodge with another “Turning Tuesdays” episode on “How-To” build your own Spin-A-Way Tail Stock, so stay linked. We hope you like our new blog site design, so let us know what you think and tell your woodworking friends all about it…




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Comments (6)

  1. avatar
    Charlie, April 6, 2012
    Way to go Ron!!! Reply
  2. avatar
    Daniel Williams, May 20, 2013
    How do I figure out the dimensions for the 6 spaces? You tell us every thing else but leave out one very important item. I did take a compass and came close to figuring the dims of the 6 spaces, but after 5 tries. I was not there. Is there an easier way of do it? Reply
    • avatar
      frank, May 20, 2013
      The video on this blog shows how to mark and make the 6-slotted Longworth Chuck. The radius and diameters are shown and commented on in the blog and video. Reply
  3. avatar
    Daniel Williams, May 20, 2013
    I am making a Longworth Chuck with 8 slots, but after putting in one slot I noticed the pivot hole for second slot is now gone. So I'm thinking that I will loose that hole on every 2nd slot? So I don't think this one will work out? With the 6 slots You never loose the pivot holes. I was wondering if I am missing something on the 8 slots chucks? Reply
    • avatar
      frank, May 20, 2013
      Follow this link for instructions on making an 8-slotted Longworth Chuck as mentioned in the video on this blog, CLICK HERE. Reply
  4. avatar
    Ron Chevrette, May 8, 2016
    Its to bad that our wood Crafter,s in Saginaw, Mi dose it have classes like this. You would think they would. Reply

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