A compression chuck is a handy way to hold round turnings for drilling or finish-turning, and it's simple to make.
Start with a cube of fine-grained, kiln-dried wood (like maple or walnut) that is larger than the turning you need to chuck. Mount the cube onto a screw chuck, then turn it to a cylinder and square off the face.
Mark a circle on the face that is the same diameter as the turning you will mount in the chuck, then turn the interior of the chuck to this line, creating a slightly tapered wall. (See drawing.) It's best to make clean cuts with a gouge or sera per and not to sand or finish this interior surface. This will give better contact when your turning is inserted. You can cut expansion slots in the chuck with the tablesaw or bandsaw.
You can use this chuck numerous times, but take care to feed the screw chuck into the original thread each time it is used. Also, always check the chuck for roundness before you use it. Wood moves, and the chuck won't work if it isn't running true.—D.E
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