Turning a wooden morse taper

For the technically inclined a Morse Taper #2 has a angle of 1° 25′ 50″, as gleaned from the fountain of knowledge, Wikipedia.  For the less technically inclined, myself included, turning a wooden morse taper is a quick and easy project that can be done with some simple measurements.

Turning a wooden morse taper

The first step is to mount a piece of hardwood between centers, or as I have done, in a chuck with a live center at the tailstock for support.  True the piece and turn it roughly to size.

Turning a wooden morse taper

Take one of your centers and transfer two marks to the piece indicating the two sides of the taper.

Turning a wooden morse taper

Set a pair of calipers to the diameter of the morse taper upper end, and using a parting tool, part into the piece until the calipers slip over the parting cut.  Repeat the procedure for the lower end of the morse taper.

Turning a wooden morse taper

Make a relief cut to the tailstock side that is smaller in diameter than the lower end of the morse taper.

Turning a wooden morse taper

Turning a wooden morse taper

Turn a straight line from the larger diameter to the smaller diameter.  You’ll need to sneak up on this slowly and check the line often with a straight edge.  I cut up one of those plastic discount coupons to use as a straight edge.

Turning a wooden morse taper

With the piece still held in the chuck, remove the live center from the tailstock and slide the tailstock forward to check the fit of your taper.  Rotate the headstock by hand while the piece is in the tailstock to identify the high spots to be turned down.  Once the fit is good, round off the end of the piece.

Turning a wooden morse taper

Remove the chuck and insert the new morse taper into the headstock.  You can now shape and true up the area that will be used to mount a work piece to.   Wooden morse tapers are useful for holding small turnings.  They can simply be glued to the morse taper.  Bear in mind that there are limitations to the size of a turning as a wooden morse taper is nowhere near as strong as a metal dead center!!

Why did I need to turn a morse taper?  Stay tuned 🙂

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