Custom diy collet jaws

TimR

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I needed a size of one of these to hold a piece of banksia pod for a peppermill I’m working on. They work great and add a little extra meat over typical jam chucks. Also, they allow holding the piece without marring the surface from chuck jaws.
I start with a piece of poplar scrap, about a half inch thick and about a half inch bigger or so in outside diameter to what I want to hold.
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In this example, 1-1/2” is what I want to hold.
I drill that first hole about 1/4” deep but that can vary with size of your tenon you want to grip.
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I follow with a 1-1/4” hole thru.
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Note that I have marked where this piece of wood aligns in my chuck. I do this anytime I’m going to rechuck something to maintain good centering.
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Mark a location to cut the piece between jaws, this gives room to clamp.
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Cut a slit and put back on chuck.
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Note that if you need more grip you could open the slit a little but the more you open it up or have to stretch the collet to get over the tenon increases the likelihood of losing good centering.
 
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Graybeard

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Thanks so much, certainly much cheaper than buying soft jaws from Nova or whoever. I like too you can make them in different sizes for different projects. I'm definitely bookmarking this. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.
 

Nubsnstubs

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I've made one of these once. I used it, put it in a place I would instantly remember, and then, the black hole near my lathe appeared. You all know what that means
Since I have a bunch of chucks with jaws that the sizes all match up to the next size, I usually just went with the next size chuck. Today, reading this thread again, I was slapped across the side of my head with an epiphany. I'm drilling out those Cholla Tea Lights with a Forstner bit. Now, I'll make myself another one of these soft jaws, and when I punch through, I'll be into wood rather a set of jaws. Thanks for posting this. .......... Jerry (in Tucson)
 

DKMD

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Nifty idea! Thanks for sharing it.
 

Mike Mills

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Looks good. Here is a pic which Stuart Ablett posted about 10 years ago. He used thick (1/2") cutting board from the dollar store but a 12"X24" sheet of HDPE is only about $18 on Amazon. I believe Stuart said he roughed it up with 80 grit to give it more bite and he did cut a slot in it for compression.
Wood works just as good but the HDPE may be more durable.

Stuart Ablett.JPG
 
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