Trying to turn something small and slippery on the lathe can be especially frustrating when centerdrilling or boring because applying any amount of pressure causes the piece to slide deeper into the chuck instead of staying put. If you don't have a chuck spider, then you're kinda out of luck...
HOWEVER, there is a quick fix to this problem. Check it out!
Step 1: Examine the Lathe
You'll notice that there is significant space between the jaws of the chuck and the back wall of the throat.
This is kind of a problem when you are trying to drill small pieces because there is nothing stopping them from sliding back there.
You'll also notice a shaft that goes clean through the lathe and out the other side. We'll come back to that...
Step 2: Locate the Dead-Center
Step 3: Insert Into the Throat
Step 4: Prep Your Piece
Step 5: Insert Your Piece Into the Chuck Until It Hits the Dead-Center
Step 6: Crank Down!
Insert your chuck key, tighten, and REMOVE THE CHUCK KEY! Don't forget.
Step 7: With Every Season, Turn, Turn, Turn...
Your piece should be securely fastened and will no longer slip into the chuck. You can drill, bore, cut, whatever!