Why did I write the book?
Fixtures and Chucks for Woodturners, published by Fox Chapel Publishing, was released April 1, 2011. I am the author. As the title implies, it deals with the many and varied ways of mounting pieces of wood on the lathe.
When I bought my first lathe in 2004, I knew nothing about turning even though I had been a flat woodworker forever. Even after I learned to use a few basic turning tools, I still didn’t know how to mount anything on the lathe that didn’t go between centers or attach to a faceplate. I didn’t even know that a 4-jaw scroll chuck existed.
Why didn’t I get on the web, crank up the search engines, and help myself to the wealth of information that’s out there? Ultimately, I did. But at first, I didn’t know what to search for. Whoever heard of a jam chuck? Or Cole jaws? Or a pin chuck? Or a waste block?
As I learned more, I realized, first, that the information is scattered all over, and, second, that chucking information is usually relegated to a secondary level in articles addressed to making a particular item such as a goblet, vase, finial, or bowl. Further, in articles of this nature, no alternative methods are usually provided; you do it the way it’s described, or not at all. There’s a good reason for this: the author has to keep the article to within a certain length, so giving alternatives is out of the question.
Fixtures and Chucks is my attempt to collect the material and present it in one volume. The basic methods are described first, but then I go on to explain other techniques for holding wood that are encountered less often. These are listed in the table of contents, which I’ve included on this site. I learned a tremendous amount in putting the book together. I hope you will find it useful as well.