Re: Thoughts on collet chucks......

David Walser
I have two sets of collet chucks. One is a set of Morse taper collets from Little Machine Shop. The second is chuck from Craft Supplies USA that screws onto the spindle. I find them both to be very useful.

When drilling on the lathe, I prefer to use a collet in the tailstock's Morse taper. A collet holds the drill bit more accurately than a Jacob's chuck and I don't have to worry about the Jacob's chuck coming loose as I back the dill bit out of the work. I also like that the collet is much more compact (I have a short-bed lathe).

I also use the Morse taper collets in the headstock. However, the chuck from CSUSA is quicker to install. In addition, it allows me to mount a long dowel in the headstock and pull out just a little bit at a time. Very nice for repetitive tasks such as birdhouse perches or finials. Also, the CSUSA collets go up to 3/4", while the Morse taper collets max out at 1/2". So, while there are lots of times either version would work, they are not perfect substitutes for each other.

A downside to the CSUSA set is there is a fairly large gap (1/8") in size between the included collets. The collets only have a range of movement of 1/32", so it's fairly easy to make a tenon that's too large for one and too large for the next. I can solve that problem by buying more ER-32 collets. I've just not got around to that.

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