Carving support

I have recently bought myself a power carver. Nice little unit. The motor hangs suspended from the ceiling, with a flexible drive shaft and a foot pedal. Works well. However, holding the work piece with one hand and carving with the other is not always the easiest thing to do. And it doesn’t work at all when using hand carving tools (where often a mallet is involved, too).

I also have a carpenter’s vice mounted on my work bench. So bring these bits together and here’s the solution:


You’ll need a 2″ square (or round) of some decent hard wood. Oak or beech would work. Sycamore is probably too soft. Boxwood would also work, or holly or hornbeam. In my case it’s some Indian hard wood rescued from a crate.

The top end is turned down to just slightly less than the nominal diameter of your lathe’s headstock thread. In my case that’s M33 x 3.5, and I turned it down to 32.5mm. You now need mark as best as you can the thread on it, then cut a groove with a tenon saw, and then use craving chisels or rasps to form a thread. It needs to be quite a good fit for your chuck.

It is also important to provide a decent size shoulder, against which your chuck can register, so that it doesn’t come loose during the carving section.

The next step is to us a tenon saw to cut two slots about 50mm apart from each other, and on opposing sides of stem, right to the center. Then widen one of them by making another cut about 6mm offset to the side and removing the material with a chisel (or screwdriver, if you don’t have chisels). This wide slot will now allow you to cut from one side to the other with a jigsaw (if you use a handheld jig saw, you may not need such a wide slot).

Now clean up the two halves and sand the protruding half round segments into a round shape (see picture). The drill a 8mm hole and counterbore it (although that’s not strictly necessary). Fit an M8 screw with a washer and wingnut on the other side, and you have fully articulated chuck holder. You can mount it in a carpenter’s vice. Or you could fit a baseplate, and then clamp it onto your work bench