A Time-Saving Turning Tip
by Phil Colson
If necessity is the mother of invention, laziness is the father.
I was in my shop one evening roughing out bowls. After roughing out the first bowl, with the
chuck still on the lathe, I thought why not just put the #2 drive center in the chuck and tighten it
up and save some time. I did it and turned the lathe on to see how well it centered. It ran true. I
put the next piece of wood on between centers and roughed it out. I took the wood out between
centers and released the jaws, taking the drive out. Mounting the tenon in the chuck, I finished the
roughing out. I then put the drive back into the chuck and mounted a new piece of wood between
centers and so on and so on.
Not only did this method save me time, but I didn't have to find my knock-out bar, which in my
shop can be an adventure. I now use this method for all my bowls and hollow form roughing out. It
works especially well when turning a natural edged bowl. In the past, I would drill through the bark
to get to a solid hold for the drive center. Now the drive bores into the bark until the wood rests
on the jaws of the chuck and stabilizes the wood.
Try this method and see how it works for you.
Phil can be reached directly via email at