From the Archives
If you have a four-jaw independent chuck that will fit the tailstock of your lathe, you can use it for turning tapers between centers. A block of steel, with an appropriately sized setscrew secured can be used for a dead center. The block is secured between the jaws of the chuck (make sure they are oriented vertically and horizontally) and the independent adjustment of the jaws is used for the positioning of the center.
Simply grind a 60 degree point onto the setscrew and secure it in the block, using a thread-locking compound such as Loctite. With the block and setscrew set into the four-jaw chuck in the tailstock, set the point to match the lathe centerline by adjusting the two vertical jaws. Make adjustments to the two horizontal jaws of the chuck to set the proper amount of offset for the taper to be turned.
This trick can be quicker to use than the standard method of offsetting the tailstock and it also gives you the opportunity to make adjustments to the height of the center. I hope it helps!