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how to make a longworth chuck pdf

Creating a Longworth chuck, a type of woodturning chuck used for holding and turning bowls, can be a complex woodworking project. While I can provide a simplified overview here, I recommend finding detailed plans or instructions in a woodworking book, magazine, or online resource to guide you through the process. Here’s a basic outline:

Materials You’ll Need:

  1. Wood for Chuck Body: Choose a hardwood like maple or birch. You’ll need a square piece of wood for the base and a separate ring for the chuck body.
  2. Wood Screws: For attaching the chuck body to the base.
  3. Washers and Nuts: For securing the screws.
  4. Bearing Balls: Several steel or stainless steel bearing balls that will serve as the chuck’s gripping mechanism.
  5. Springs: Small coil springs that will help apply pressure to the bearing balls.
  6. Wood Glue: For securing the ring to the base.

Tools You’ll Need:

  1. Woodworking Lathe: To turn the chuck components.
  2. Drill Press: For drilling holes with precision.
  3. Saw: For cutting the chuck ring from the wood blank.
  4. Calipers and Measuring Tools: For accurate measurements.
  5. Screwdrivers and Wrenches: For assembling the chuck.


  1. Design and Measurements:
    • Begin by designing your Longworth chuck. Determine the chuck’s diameter and the number and placement of ball-bearing pockets.
  2. Cut the Base:
    • Start with a square piece of hardwood for the base. The size of the base will depend on your chuck’s design.
  3. Turn the Chuck Ring:
    • Cut a separate ring from another piece of hardwood. This ring should have an outer diameter that matches the chuck’s desired size and an inner diameter to accommodate your bowl size.
  4. Drill Holes for Bearings:
    • On the chuck ring, drill evenly spaced holes for the bearing balls. The holes should be slightly smaller than the balls to create a snug fit.
  5. Attach the Ring to the Base:
    • Glue the chuck ring onto the center of the base. Ensure it’s centered and aligned properly. Clamp or apply pressure while the glue dries.
  6. Cut and Attach Jaws:
    • You can cut and attach wooden jaws or hold-downs on top of the chuck ring. These jaws can be adjusted to hold bowls of different sizes.
  7. Insert Bearings and Springs:
    • Insert the bearing balls into the holes you drilled in the chuck ring.
    • Place small coil springs behind each bearing ball to apply pressure.
  8. Assemble and Test:
    • Secure the chuck body to your lathe and test its operation. Adjust the jaws as needed for your specific turning project.
  9. Finish:
    • Sand and finish the chuck components to your liking. This can include sanding the wood and applying a protective finish.
  10. Maintenance:
    • Regularly inspect and maintain the chuck, lubricating the bearings as needed and replacing any worn components.

Please note that making a Longworth chuck requires precision and woodworking skills. It’s essential to prioritize safety when working with woodworking tools and equipment. Additionally, detailed plans and step-by-step instructions will provide more specific guidance for your project.