What Size Your Lathe Spindle Nose Should Be

What You'll Need
A reference chart for spindles

The lathe spindle nose is how you interface with the lathe. It is used for holding the work and how the lathe’s power is utilized. You should have a set of accessories such as drive centers and chucks etc. to fit on the spindle nose, otherwise the lathe is of no use. The spindle is usually machined with a Morse taper into the hole and this taper will vary according to the size of lathe being used. The spindle may accept various nose types, reamers, collets, drill chucks and centers. Faceplates, drive plates and chucks can be clamped or screwed onto the spindle nose.

Step 1 - Determine the Type

Depending on the size of the lathe and the spindle locking mechanism (Morse taper or screw), the spindle nose can be selected. Wood lathes usually use the Morse Taper. There are eight sizes in the series and wood lathes use No.1, No.2, No.3, with No. 2 measuring slightly less than 3/4 inch being the commonest.

Step 2 - Screw Threads

The spindle noses on wood lathes have screw threads. Although, about 12 threads are regarded as standard, the following are most used.

  • Mini-lathes use 16 3/4-inch threads
  • Small/mini-lathes use 8 1-inch threads
  • Some manufacturer's lathes use 8 1 1/4-inch threads
  • Conover lathes use 8 1 1/2-inch threads
  • No. 1 lathe use #3 Morse Taper threads 
  • Oneway and Vicmarc lathes use 33 by 3.5 metric sized threads