Unless a workpiece has a taper machined onto it which perfectly matches the internal taper in the spindle, or has threads which perfectly match the external threads on the spindle (two conditions which rarely exist), an accessory must be used to mount a workpiece to the spindle.
A workpiece may be bolted or screwed to a faceplate, a large, flat disk that mounts to the spindle. In the alternative, faceplate dogs may be used to secure the work to the faceplate.
A workpiece may be mounted on a mandrel, or circular work clamped in a three- or four-jaw chuck. For irregular shaped workpieces it is usual to use a four jaw (independent moving jaws) chuck. These holding devices mount directly to the Lathe headstock spindle.
In precision work, and in some classes of repetition work, cylindrical workpieces are usually held in a collet inserted into the spindle and secured either by a draw-bar, or by a collet closing cap on the spindle. Suitable collets may also be used to mount square or hexagonal workpieces. In precision tool making work such collets are usually of the draw-in variety, where, as the collet is tightened, the workpiece moves slightly back into the headstock, whereas for most repetition work the dead length variety is preferred, as this ensures that the position of the workpiece does not move as the collet is tightened.
A soft workpiece (e.g., wood) may be pinched between centers by using a spur drive at the headstock, which bites into the wood and imparts torque to it.