John K Jordan
>>>As I venture back into turning I would like to add a small drive center to my kit. I see some on eBay for about $25. Would appreciate any suggestions or if someone has one they would like to part with!!
I turn a lot of thin spindles and my hands-down favorite is a 1/2" steb center with a spring-loaded point. I've been using one for many years and I use it with nearly all spindles, even most larger diameter than "thin." Sorby carries one but it might be hard to find a new one for $25.
You could make one from a cheap cup center (with a point) by grinding little teeth around the cup using a metal-cutting disk on a Dremel. That should work as well. However, I wouldn't want one unless the point was spring-loaded - you'd have to drill a larger hole each time to keep from splitting thin spindles from hard wood.
BTW I also use a 1/2" steb live center in the tailstock. I like it better than some of my other live centers because it is more compact.
You can also get a short, fat steb center that is gripped by a chuck. I have one but don't use it since the #2MT center is so much more convenient.