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Astute readers of the Blog will have noticed in the last posting about fitting a drawer front, there appeared to be a distinct shortage of pulls or handles. Just before the fronts were polished and permanently attached, the ¼” holes for the pulls were drilled, which meant that I then had to turn up a few (ten in this case, two per drawer) in some Indian ebony, which is the stuff I usually use for this sort of little job.

Evolution SK114 with internal jaw set and ebony blank
Evolution SK114 with internal jaw set and ebony blank

I’ve had a lathe for a considerable number of years and consider it an essential part of any workshop. The first one I had was a second hand Coronet Elf which was subsequently sold to Matthew Platt of Workshop Heaven fame. I then downsized a little and bought a Record DML305, which wasn’t a bad little lathe but I eventually upsized again and ended up with an AT1628VS complete with its cast iron floor stand.

If you’re unfamiliar with this lathe and looking for a replacement as I was, the very best thing you can ever do is to read at length the 5* customer reviews…it really is that good!

The natural partner to accompany the lathe is the stainless steel Evolution SK114 chuck  and again, if you’re eager to know just how good this bad badger is, read the 5* reviews…you’ll be suitably impressed. There’s also a vast number of different jaws which bolt onto the SK114 making its versatility almost unlimited.

I don’t in any way consider myself an ‘expert’ wood spinner, more of a semi-competent ‘learner turner’. I use the lathe when there’s stuff to be done for a project, rather than as a pastime itself. After all, how many bowls, boxes and turned trinkets do you need around the house?

With that in mind, the AT1628VS will do all that’s asked of it, including making bits and pieces for my other projects, but occasionally I’ve run up against a brick wall and this time I decided to do something about it. The drawer pulls I needed to turn meant that with the standard flush jaws as fitted, the 12mm ebony blank would be spinning very, very close the face of the chuck. Not encouraging by any means.

I’m particularly partial to keeping all my nice pink digits intact and the thought of bringing a lathe tool very close to a lump of steel spinning at nearly 2,000rpm was, as I knew from past experience, enough to cause a slight elevation in the blood pressure so this time round I invested in one of our internal jaw sets.

Completed pulls, unpolished
Completed pulls, unpolished

The existing jaws are removed and it’s a very simple procedure to insert the new ones. The upshot is that the small cylindrical blanks are now happily spinning well away from the chuck and, as a bonus, my blood pressure has remained stable.

If you have any queries or would like to know first hand about the lathe and chucking systems, as ever, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer it.