What Accessories Are Available for Lathes?

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What Accessories Are Available for Lathes?

The millennia-old tool has been enabling craftspeople to shape a variety of materials and create useful items and works of art for many centuries. Today, craftspeople use lathes to work primarily on wood and metal, and to a lesser extent, on ceramics and glass. The lathe is useful because it spins workpieces that are firmly secured to it while a craftsperson gently carves it using a variety of instruments.

As functional as a lathe is, it is only as good as the accessories that a user employs along with it. Lathe accessories enable users to work on a wide range of workpiece shapes and sizes and to cut and shape workpieces in myriad ways. In order to buy the accessories they need, consumers should be familiar with the different mounting accessories, cutting accessories, and finishing accessories that are available for lathes. eBay is a good source to buy lathe accessories from, and customers can find the accessories they want on the site if they know what they are looking for.

Mounting Accessories for Lathes

One of the more important types of accessories for lathes is mounting accessories. These accessories, including centres, chucks, faceplates, and mandrels, hold workpieces and cutting tools steady on lathes. In so doing, they enable users to precisely shape workpieces to their plans and specifications.


A lathe centre is meant to secure a workpiece to a lathe. It mounts to the lathe tailstock or headstock, and it fixes the workpiece in place so that the user can shape it without worrying about the piece shifting. Centres are made of steel and shaped with a fine point at one end that goes into the workpiece. The table below describes the different types of lathe centres.



Dead Centre

Does not turn freely; workpiece spins on the centre, which can cause friction if not lubricated; may have carbide tip to reduce friction

Live Centre

Also known as revolving centre; rotates with piece attached to it; capable of higher turning speeds than dead centre is; no lubrication necessary

Bull Nose Centre

Also known as pipe centre; type of live centre with rounded nose instead of sharp point; enables mounting of workpiece with large interior diameter

Cup Centre

Type of live centre; woodworking type has a ring around it to prevent wood from splitting; metalworking type has tapered hole instead of conical nose

Drive Centre

Mounts to headstock; dead centre with hardened teeth that grip soft workpieces for cutting of whole diameter at once

Regarding whether the centre is fixed or rotation, every centre is either a dead centre or a live centre. Other types of centres besides these two are variations of either main type.


Whereas centres are designed for mounting workpieces to lathes, chucks are meant for mounting cutting tools to lathes. Users can also mount circular workpieces inside of chucks. Chucks are round and hold a tool or workpiece tightly in a slot in the middle so that it does not slip while the user is machining. They feature three or four jaws. The former design has three jaws that move together to grip a tool or workpiece. The latter design has four jaws that move independently of one another to grip irregularly shaped workpieces. Four-jaw chucks are also useful for mounting tools and symmetrical workpieces.

Chucks for woodworking lathes are designed to hold cutting tools with bits of either 0.63 or 0.8 cm. Chucks for metalworking lathes are compatible with a wide range of bit sizes.


A faceplate is a large, circular metal plate to which the user attaches a workpiece. The faceplate affixes to the end of the lathe spindle, and the workpiece spins on the faceplate. As the workpiece spins, the user shapes it with his or her cutting tools. The faceplate enables the user to create a uniformly round piece.

A predecessor to the chuck, the faceplate used to be the primary mounting device for workpieces. It is still effective for working on large blocks of wood. Users generally attach a piece of scrap wood to the workpiece and then affix the workpiece to the faceplate using screws.


A mandrel is another lathe accessory that holds workpieces. It goes inside of a chuck, and it is designed to hold pieces that the chuck is otherwise unable to. A mandrel is useful for intricate carving of furniture legs or threading metal rods. Factory-produced mandrels vary from one another regarding size and tapering. Machinists can use their lathes to customise mandrels to match the specific types of work they wish to perform.

Cutting Accessories for Lathes

In addition to accessories that hold workpieces and tools in place on lathes, there are cutting accessories that enable users to shape their workpieces into finished products. Among the more common of these accessories are turning tools, boring tools, and the countersink. Being familiar with these cutting accessories helps consumers choose the ones they need to complete their planned projects.

Turning Tools

Turning tools are among the more common cutting tools that lathe users employ. They are hand tools, and users press them against rotating workpieces in order to cut away wood or metal and shape the workpieces. Turning tools generally comprise of a handle and a sharp metal head for cutting. If the edge on the head dulls, it can cause wood workpieces to splinter. Turning tools for cutting metal have a carbide tip for extra strength.

Despite their relatively simple design, turning tools enable users to create myriad designs on wood and metal pieces. Specialised turning tools, such as bead tools and bowl tools, help users create designed cuts on workpieces. Spindle gouges are useful for shaping banisters and furniture legs.


A countersink is a metal drill bit with a conical shape and a sharp point at its tip. It is designed to carve a space in a workpiece to fit the head of a screw. A countersink creates this space above a pilot hole, which is where the rest of the screw sinks into a piece of wood. It is possible to use a countersink on other tools, such as a drill, but woodworkers can also use them on their lathes if they would like to minimise their use of tools on a single project.

Finishing Accessories for Lathes

Many wood projects require finishing after users have finished cutting and shaping. Finishing accessories are ideal for this aspect of projects. Sandpaper smooths wood, and buffing wheels make wood and metal shine. In doing so, these finishing accessories lend true craftsmanship to any piece.


Sandpaper works well with lathes to smoothly sand wood pieces after the user has cut and shaped them. Because the wood piece rotates on the lathe, the user only needs to hold a simple piece of sandpaper against it to give it a smooth finish. The rotating action replaces some of the power of an automatic sander, making it much easier to sand pieces by hand. This can also save users money since they may not need to purchase an automatic sander to finish their projects.

Buffing Wheels

It is possible to fit buffing wheels to a lathe spindle to give a wood or metal project a bright shine. The wheels are generally made of linen or flannel or a combination of the two. Using a tripoli bar, a white diamond bar, and a carnauba wax bar, a user can give his or her wood project a high-gloss finish. Buffing wheels are the final accessories needed to give pieces an eye-catching appearance.

How to Buy Lathe Accessories on eBay

It is possible to buy lathe accessories from local and online home improvement equipment retailers. eBay is also a good source to buy lathe accessories from. It is easy to search the site for the accessories you want, and you can save money on shipping by choosing to buy from a local seller.

Searching for Lathe Accessories

You can search for lathe accessories from an eBay page that has a search bar. Enter a term for the accessory you are search for, such as "lathe chuck", into the search bar and click the search button. When eBay displays the results, choose the appropriate category so that the listings are related to your search term. You can then browse the listings or choose filter options to hone in on the accessories that appeal to you.

Buying from a Local Seller

You can save money simply by shopping for lathe accessories on eBay. You can save even more if you choose to buy from a local seller. The closer the seller is located to you, the less shipping is likely to cost. To find local sellers, specify the distance from your postcode within which sellers should be located. eBay can then produce results that only include nearby sellers.


Lathes are useful tools in milling and metalworking because they enable craftspeople to intricately shape and carve their workpieces. In order to get a high level of functionality from a lathe, users must have the right accessories. These include mounting accessories, such as centres, chucks, faceplates, and mandrels; cutting accessories, such as turning tools and a countersink; and finishing accessories, such as sandpaper and buffing wheels. Owning and knowing how to use these accessories enables woodworkers and metalworkers to produce pieces that are useful and look great. The right lathe accessories can make any piece look like a professional production.

eBay is a good source to buy lathe accessories from because there is a large selection of these accessories on the site. In order to shop successfully though, consumers must know how to search eBay and how to find local sellers. By combining good knowledge of lathe accessories with an understanding of the eBay buying process, consumers can buy the lathe accessories they need to take their crafting skills to a higher level.

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