Making Vacuum Chucks for Your Wood Lathe

You’ve got the pump. You’ve got the piping and hose. You’ve got the valves to control the vacuum. All you need now is to create a few versatile chucks to get going with this woodturning system. We’ve saved the easy part for last.

There are a few commercially made vacuum chucks available but they are expensive and your requirements may demand a specially built chuck, making it worthwhile in both cases to make your own.

Front view of vacuum chucks

Front view of vacuum chucks showing seal face.

Back of vacuum chucks showing adapter

Back of vacuum chucks showing adapter.


I have chucks made from ABS plumbing material and built up Baltic Birch plywood, a high quality product with no voids. I have friends who made theirs from built up solid wood, fabricated steel and PVC pipe. The only requirements for the material for a chuck is that it doesn’t leak and that it is something that you can work with. You will also require some sort of foam material for the mating surface. Lastly, you’ll need a means of adapting the chuck to your spindle such as a small dedicated faceplate.

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