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Morse Taper 1 (MT1) or Morse Taper 2 (MT2) which size do you require? 



Understanding the correct Morse taper size for your woodworking lathe is crucial, not just for optimal operation but also for the safety and precision of your projects. While your lathe manual will specify the required Morse taper size, here's a detailed breakdown to help you grasp the differences between the sizes and their applications.

Watch the video to see a walkthrough. 

Morse Tapers in Woodworking Lathes

Morse tapers are integral to the spindle and tailstock of a woodworking lathe, offering a precise, self-locking interface that securely holds tools and accessories.

Dimensions and Suitability

  • Diameter: The MT1 taper starts at approximately 9.37 mm at the small end and widens to about 12.07 mm at the large end, ideal for lighter, smaller-scale tasks. On the other hand, the MT2 starts at about 14.53 mm and extends to 17.78 mm, accommodating heavier and larger tools.
  • Length: The MT1 taper is about 54.10 mm long, while the MT2 extends to roughly 65.02 mm, providing a more secure fit for handling higher forces due to its additional length.


  • MT1 is typically found in smaller or benchtop lathes, perfect for light to moderate tasks such as pen turning or crafting small bowls. It's designed to fit into the smaller spindles and tailstocks of these lathes.
  • MT2 is better suited for full-sized lathes that turn larger workpieces like furniture legs or large bowls. Its robust design is tailored for the larger spindles and tailstocks of these machines, which are capable of handling greater stress and torque.

Tool Compatibility

The choice of taper affects not only the fit and stability of the tools but also the range of accessories you can use. The more robust MT2 supports a broader array of accessories and upgrades, significantly enhancing the versatility of your woodworking lathe.

Quick Estimation Method

For a rough estimate of Morse taper sizes when precise tools are not available, some woodworkers use a simple finger-size comparison: an MT1 is about the size of a pinky finger, and an MT2 matches the thickness of an index finger. Remember, this method is very approximate and should not be relied upon for precise tasks.

Selecting the appropriate Morse taper size is essential for ensuring that your tools are securely mounted and function efficiently, crucial for achieving high-quality results in woodworking. The taper must match the size of your lathe's spindle and tailstock for a stable and effective interface. If you're still uncertain about the best size for your specific lathe model or project needs, consult the lathe's manual or seek advice from a professional to ensure you choose correctly.

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