When you purchased your lathe, you might not have known just what you were going to do with it or what options were available. Now that you’re gaining some experience, you’re realizing that all of those different chucks and accessories that were available could be quite beneficial for a variety of purposes.
However, sifting through the mountains of different parts, chucks, and accessories can overwhelm even the most experienced and harden lathe professional. I’ll guide you through some of the most common and popular accessories that you can choose from for your lathe. If you are looking for a more beginners guide, click here.

What is the Difference between Chucks and Accessories?

A lathe chuck is the fitting upon with the wood, metal, or glass that you’ll be working will rest. The chuck is the part of the machine that turns, providing you the opportunity to shape the product in the precise manner that you want.
Different chucks will give you different options and opportunities for working the wood or metal (and yes, or the glass). Especially for metal working lathes, chucks can determine the threading spacing for certain projects, allowing you to create the perfect thread for the parts you’re attempting to create, such as bolts, camshafts, or other projects.

Accessories offer a breadth of options that can be added to your lathe or used to help enhance the experience, refine the process, or open doors to new opportunities to create even more exciting products using your lathe.

Different Choices for Chucks

Some lathe chucks use an integral thread for mounting it to the machine. These tend to be larger machines and are not likely to be used in a residential setting or by a hobbyist. Most other lathes use a back plate for mounting the chuck, which makes it easier to replace and try different chucks for various applications.
You can choose from:

  • 2 Jaw chucks
  • 3 Jaw chucks
  • 4 Jaw chucks
  • 6 Jaw chucks
  • Soft Jaw chucks
  • Independent jaw chucks
  • Combination jaw chucks
  • Drawtube actuated lathe chucks

The 2 through 6 jaw chucks are used with scroll type lathes and are manual actuated self-centering.
An independent 4 jaw chuck is not self-centering, but the individual jaws can be moved independently from one another. These chucks can be used to work on an irregular shaped part, or you can use it to set a piece off center for whatever reason that you would have in doing so.
Combination jaw chucks combine the self-centering action of the scroll chuck with independently moving jaws. This adds more flexibility with the ability to have the self-centering benefits.Drawtube actuated lathe chucks are powered using hydraulic or air cylinders to move the drawtube forward or backward. When the drawtube moves, it clamps or unclamps the jaws.


Each different types of lathe chucks can perform a wide range of tasks, opening the possibilities of incredible designs and processes. Many of the chucks mentioned here are more than the average beginner lathe worker will need or be able to get the most out of, but each one can be used in many standard lathe machines. The only drawback is that not all of these different types of lathes are available for mini or micro lathes.

Now, for the Accessories

There is a staggering number of lathe accessories that you can choose from. The challenge is trying to decide what you want and need. Some of the various lathe accessories that you can choose from are:

  • Faceplate
  • Mandrel
  • Lathe dog
  • Collet
  • Knurling tools
  • Machine taper
  • Vertical slides

Now, these are only a small selection, but they are the most commonly sought after and used accessories. I’m sure that, given the time, you’ll find a number of other accessories and turn around and say, ‘Hey, what about this one?’ I can’t write a full-length book about these accessories, so let’s stick with these for now.


The faceplate is an important accessory for any lathe because you can affix just about any shape or material to your lathe with the right faceplate. The faceplate will be circular and made of cast iron. It will contain holes that you can use to t-nuts to affix the work piece to it. Once you have the piece attached to the faceplate, you would then use threaded studs of the lathe itself.

The faceplate allows you to open up the possibilities for various starting shapes and even the finished products that you will design and create.


A mandrel is a clamp that is used to keep pieces of metal and wood in place as the turn on the lathe. There are a wide range of mandrels that you can choose from and it will depend on the type of work as well as the material that you’re working on to determine which one is right for you.
It is also possible to have custom made mandrels if you can’t find one that suits your specific needs. The more work you do with your lathe, the more you’ll realize the importance of mandrels.

Lathe Dog

When the centers of a piece are fixed on the lathe, you can use a lathe dog to ensure rotary motion of the lathe’s spindle. The lathe dog is a type of clamp that can also be called a lathe carrier.



A collet is a ring or clamp that is used to affix the work piece to the lathe. These collets are externally threaded onto the lathe and usually have a holding capacity that ranges from zero (0) to seven (7) inches in diameter. They are also designed to hold various shapes, such as circular, square, and hexagonal.

Knurling Tools

When you want to press a specific pattern or shape into a work piece in order to guarantee its usability, such as grip patterns for hammers and other tools, you’ll want to use a knurling tool. A rubber mallet is a good example of a tool that has grooved edges to benefit the gripping pattern and this is accomplished by using knurling tools.
Knurling tools are used in conjunction with other lathing tools and should never be considered a replacement of other tools in the process of creating objects with the lathe.

Machine Taper

When you want to bind other tools to the lathe’s spindle, you will be using a machine taper. These accessories are popular because they tend to be inexpensive and easy to install. They provide you with a range of options and flexibility to be able to hold various tool bits in place.

Vertical Slides

When you want to mill on a lathe, you’ll likely want to use a vertical slide. The vertical slide is connected to a cross slide by using a clamp. Both sides are then attached on a bracket and then to the steel plate of the lathe. With vertical slides, you can cut bevel gears. This can mean that you can mill at an angle.

Hopefully this list provides you with a starting point to determining which chucks and lathe accessories to choose from for your wonderful lathing experience.[clear]