Canadian Woodworking

Axminster lathe centres


Premium quality, competitively priced lathe centres that provide solid work holding capabilities and years of trouble-free service.

Author: Carl Duguay

Lathe centres hold stock between the lathe headstock and the tailstock and are typically used for spindle work. The drive centre (or dead centre), which doesn’t rotate freely, is inserted into the headstock spindle and transfers energy from the motor to turn the work piece. The live centre (or tailstock centre), which have bearings that spin freely with the rotation of the lathe, are inserted into the tailstock spindle and hold the work piece centred while freely rotating along with the wood.

2- and 4-prong drive centres are the most common. 4-prong centres are the style usually included when you purchase a lathe. Typically they’re driven into the end of a work piece with a mallet. Some turners saw diagonals lines for the prongs to sit in.

These Axminster centres offer a variety of benefits for both novice and experienced woodturners.

Manufacturer: Axminster
Models: Pro Drive, Pro Live, Multi-Head
Price: $80 (Pro Drive, Pro Live); $96 (Multi-Head)
Warranty: 3 years
Made in: UK




► CNC machined from stainless steel
► Spring loaded centre point with adjustable tension (Pro Drive and Pro Live)
► Sealed dust proof bearings (Pro Live and Multi-Head)
► Includes 3 interchangeable tips (Multi-Head)
► Free shipping to Canada on all orders above CA$116

All three of these Axminster drives are CNC turned from stainless steel. The Pro Drive is fixed while the Pro Live and Multi-Head are live (with both featuring sealed dust proof bearings for long life).

Unlike 4-prong drive centres and single pin live centres, the Pro Drive and Pro Live centres have a series of teeth on the outer ring for superior grip. Because the ring supports the work piece over a wide area there’s very little chance the the centre will split your work piece as pressure is applied. They also have a spring-loaded centre pin – tension on the pin can be adjusted by means of a grub screw accessible though the end of the shaft. This makes it very easy to centre on the work piece and you don’t need to hammer in the Pro Drive centre with a mallet or predrill a hole in the work piece for the centre pin. What I particularly like is that you can remove the work piece from the lathe (even without stopping rotation) by simply release tailstock pressure. And you can switch the work piece end-for-end between the centres without affecting the concentricity.

The Multi-Head has two sealed dust-proof bearings and a tapered end for mounting the three interchangeable tips.  Most of the time I use the 60 ° full-point cone which  makes it easy to centre pre-drilled holes in your stock, for example when making tool handles.  The 9.5mm by 16mm long point is useful for turning small diameter stock or when you need a lot of tool clearance near the and the ring centre will eliminate the risk of splitting, especially when turning small diameter stock.

Whether you’re a production spindle turner or novice turner, you’ll find the the Axminster’s Pro drive, Pro live and multi-head centres super useful additions to your woodturning tool kit.


Axminster lathe centres
Back to front: 4-prong centre and Axminster Pro Drive centre.


Aminster pro live
Back to front: single pin live centre and Axminster Pro Live centre


Axminster pro centre
Toothed ring and adjustable tension centre pin (on both Pro Drive and Pro Live centres).


Axminster lathe centres
Axminster Multi-Head centre with 3 interchangeable tips.


Axminster pro centre
The Pro Drive centre engages securely with no need to predrill a hole for the centre pin.


Axminster pro centre
The full-point cone on the Multi-Head makes it easy to centre pre-drilled holes in your stock.


Axminster pro centre
Super useful accessories for spindle turning.


Last modified: November 8, 2023

Carl Duguay - [email protected]

Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

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