One of my Lablond lathes came with a short chuck key that looked like it had been left in the chuck when the lathe had been turned on.
I simply hadn't taken the time to make a new one, but yesterday I finally got fed up with it since when using the 4 jaw if I had to widen the jaws out very far the key was a bother to use
I grabbed a couple pieces of rod then being too lazy to set up the mill I just ground and filed the square key portion in 1 of the pieces then welded them together. Stupidly simple to make these things but a little time consuming non the less.
As you can see the old one has seen better days
When centering work in the 4jaw it's often handy to have a wrench in each of the two horizontal jaws. Often there's less clearance to operate the rear jaw and so a shortened wrench makes things easier. In fact, I've purposely made short wrenches for several of my 4jaws for just that reason. Perhaps that's how your short wrench originated.
Shifting chuck jaws long distances can be expedited easily with an electric screwdriver; see here...
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Paul Jones (04-09-2017)
Marv I suspect that the short key may have gotten bent just that way by using it in the back side of a 4 jaw then forgetting it was there when the lathe got switched on causing it to hit the back of the head stock housing I've never used the 2 key approach too fiddling to try and reach back there and very limited movement would be possible anyway.
I don't remember how long it's been since I owned an electric screw driver and doubt if 1 has ever been made that would move the jaws on chucks the size that mine are A drill yes
Even though my smallest 3 jaw chuck for this lathe is 12" the short key only worked when used in the straight up vertical position or perfectly horizontal as long as the carriage was out of the way and the high low lever was in the high speed position
On my 1930's era 16 inch Lablond all of this would be possible since it has a small head stock
I've also made a couple keys over time. They were remnant chrome-moly tubing handle and body. Body has pressed and pinned square; then a solid plug is barely slip fit for handle. A lot like a T-bar for socket wrenches, can nearly double the torque when drawn to one side. The chuck is 12" and old bent key, heavy and cumbersome in repeat parts.
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