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Thread: Newbie question about nova chucks

  1. #1
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    Newbie question about nova chucks

    I ordered a nova chuck today. It comes with insert and 2" jaws. I guess my question is how do you hold pieces to start with so that you can face and turn the part that will be held in the nova chuck jaws? I hope this isn't too dumb a question.

  2. #2
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    You put the piece between centers and turn a tenon on one end that will fit the jaws. the tenon should not bottom out (too long). The jaw face should contact the piece. hopefully someone will have some pictures if this is not clear.
    When working I had more money than time. In retirement I have more time than money. Love the time, miss the money.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Pisano View Post
    I ordered a nova chuck today. It comes with insert and 2" jaws. I guess my question is how do you hold pieces to start with so that you can face and turn the part that will be held in the nova chuck jaws? I hope this isn't too dumb a question.
    Tony,

    Excellent question. I use several ways, depending on the wood, the design, and how I want to hold it.

    For a end grain turning with the grain running down the lathe (like a fat dowel) for, say, a lidded box, first mount the block between centers and turn a tenon on the end just over 2" to grip in the chuck. If you're not familiar with gripping a tenon be sure the tenon is not so long that it touched the bottom of the jaws, where the screws are. You should turn a clean shoulder for the top faces of the jaws to contact. For more holding power, slightly dovetail the tenon.

    For an irregular chunk of wood, say to make a bowl, you can also mount the wood between centers and turn a tenon. Some people will mount the chunk on a faceplate or a screw chuck, turn the outside and a tenon (or recess) then reverse and hold it in a chuck to turn the inside of the piece.

    Alternately, you hold a block or chunk by expanding a chunk in a recess, a shallow hole with straight or slightly dovetailed sides. You need enough wood and it needs to be strong enough to hold the piece without cracking from the expansion. You can form the recess by holding the blank between centers or jamming it between the tailstock and the wide open empty chuck, cutting a ring with something like a parting tool - however this can be kind of tricky. There's an easier way - drill a recess with a 2-1/16" or 2-1/8" Forstner bit. It doesn't have to be too deep - just 1/8" to 3/16" is enough. I use the Forstner bit method a lot to hold blanks cut from 2" or thicker planks.

    You can can form a recess in an irregular chunk by flattening one side and and drilling with a Forstner bit.

    Another way to hold with the chuck is to flatten one side if needed and glue on a round waste block. This saves wood. I like to use oak. If I use this method I usually glue on a waste block disk that is a little large, then mount the thing between centers and turn the waste block down to fit the chuck.

    If you start with a bowl or platter blank flat on both top and bottom, say one cut from a thick plank, a very easy way to turn a tenon or recess for the chuck is to drill a hole in the top of the piece, hold it with a screw chuck or the wormwood screw that comes with the Nova chuck, then turn a tenon or drill/turn a recess in the bottom. Turn the entire outside/bottom of the piece while held in the screw chuck then reverse and hold by the bottom to turn the inside. This is how I make most bowls and other face turnings as well as these small squarish dished platters:

    penta_maple_ellis_c_IMG_5435.jpg

    BTW, a popular exercise is to turn a three-cornered bowl from a cube of wood which might seem difficult to hold until you know how. You do this the same way as an irregular chunk - mount between centers then turn a tenon to hold in the chuck. This is two such bowls, joined near where the tenons were.

    three_corners_glass_IMG_7157.jpg

    All that said, I don't turn many bowls, more spindles than anything. I'm sure some hard core bowl/platter turners will give their favorite methods.

    JKJ

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the information. I have a lot to learn about wood. I'm used to using micrometers and indicators

  5. #5
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    I have used several ways to do this. First time I used the worm screw and inserted it into the inside of the bowl blank. Another time I just screwed on a faceplate on the interior side of the bowl. Both methods worked fine for me. The inside of the bowl is waste material so the screw holes will not affect the finished bowl since it will be removed when you core out the inside of the bowl.
    Hopoe this helps.
    SWE

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Pisano View Post
    Thanks for the information. I have a lot to learn about wood. I'm used to using micrometers and indicators
    Greetings!
    Wood is not an exact science. In woodturning, close is good enough. If not, turn a bit more and then it should be enough. I have half dozen Nova chucks. They work fine. As mentioned, turn a tenon between centers and have fun. Find and join a woodturning club near you. That is the best thing you can do. This forum is next best thing to joining an actual club.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Pisano View Post
    Thanks for the information. I have a lot to learn about wood. I'm used to using micrometers and indicators
    I like the micrometers and indicators too. And the TIG welders and plasma cutters. Gives me more to have to learn about!

    I agree with Kyle that attending a club is the best, or one of the best things you can do to kickstart your turning addiction. That, taking an introductory class, and finding a mentor, which you might do at a club. There are a lot of turners like me who will gladly spend time in their shops showing how they do things. If you lived closer I'd say drop in for a introductory day. I have several students who come regularly - the cost is some good company and a story or two.

    Another huge help is a few books. I learned turning mostly from two books, Fundamentals of Woodturning by Mike Darlow and Turning Wood by Richard Raffan. If you have a technical bent you might really enjoy Darlow's books.
    https://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-.../dp/1565233557
    https://www.amazon.com/Turning-Wood-.../dp/B00Y1COH2K
    A couple of good books on holding things are [B]Fixtures and Chucks by Doc Green and Workholding on the Lathe by Fred Holder. If you can't hold it, you can't turn it!
    https://www.amazon.com/Fixtures-Chuc.../dp/1565235193
    https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Work-Ho.../dp/1861083955

    These books and others will teach all about the tools, the holding, and the turning, not only the how but the why. Understanding the why is the key to excellence! Videos are nice but there is more information in one book than a 100 hours of video. (statistic made up on the spot)

    Speaking of videos, there are zillions and some are good. The huge problem when beginning is it's hard to tell the difference between the good videos and the horrible. Some made by terrible woodturners and show bad technique and often dangerous practices. For example, I like to turn thin spindles and make things like "magic" wands. I found a video on making wands and the guy basically rounded and shaped the wand with coarse sandpaper. Yes, he made a wand but it sure was crude.

    The AAW (American Association of Woodturners) has been reviewing and building a list of useful videos. It's also worth joining the AAW for access to a wealth of information and their excellent journal, American Woodturner. I think they have a trial membership program.

    Some more unsolicited advice: a number of expert turners say to learn spindle turning first. (I can supply references.) Turning big bowls from green wood is fun and easy but spindle turning will teach the fine tool control that will let you turn anything.

    And keep the questions coming. There is a huge experience base here and people who love helping!

    BTW, these are the last few wands I made. Ain't possible with 80 grit sandpaper.

    cedar_and_ebony2_IMG_7528.jpg

    JKJ
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 03-27-2018 at 6:17 AM.

  8. #8
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    Seems ways of mounting have been covered well.
    On your 2" jaws the inside is straight except for a small lip, the outside has a true dovetail. I will try to attach a pic.
    Depending on whether wet or dry wood the size of a tenon may be adjusted. The interior (tenon) on the 2" is just a hair over 1 -5/8". If dry I cut my tenon about 1 -3/4"; if wet for returning I cut it about 2 -1/8" to allow for warping as it dries and to be able to re-true it later.
    Normally for the 2" jaws I use a recess rather than a tenon because there is three times a much wood to break with a recess as compared to the tenon. However, if starting between centers it can be difficult to cut the recess and dovetail with the tailstock in the way.
    I differ from some in that my recesses or tenons are at least 3/8". All of my wood is free so it doesn't matter and no one has ever stated that the bowl/platter/thingie would look better if it was 3/16 of an inch taller. I have use a short/shallow mount on some dry sound wood.
    Stuart Batty has some excellent videos in his "fundamentals" series. Most are 10-12 minutes. There are three different ones on chucks, tenons, and recesses. He is very persnickety in his presentations but you may appreciate that with you liking of micrometers and indicators. His others are very good also.
    https://vimeo.com/woodturning/videos...rmat:thumbnail
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity." - Edgar Allan Poe

  9. #9
    Tony,

    You haven't indicated what you are trying to turn. I turn primarily bowls, and so it helps to have a little more grip to start than the stock center that comes with many lathes.

    So, for years, I used a faceplace. This of course leaves screw holes in that face. For a bowl, this is not an issue, because it gets turned away. The upside is this can be sturdy. The downside besides the holes is that you need a flat face for mounting the face plate. You also have to unscrew the the faceplace to mount the chuck.

    I have recently started using a "big bite chuck spur" from Oneway. It mounts right in the chuck (I am not sure if it fits all Nova's, but fits at least the SN2). It has a wide grip, and essentially allows you to mount large things between centers. It has held things as big as 18" for me. This is easy to mount, and easy to remove when you want to flip the piece to hold in the chuck. It's convenient.

    Last, get yourself an outside caliper. That will help with gauging tenon thickness before you become good at eyeballing it.
    Last edited by Prashun Patel; 03-27-2018 at 3:51 PM.

  10. Tony, I use the Nova G3 and love it for both clamping on a tenon and expanding into a dovetailed recess. A 1/2 inch Skew used flat like a scraper makes a great tool for cutting a dovetailed recess to match the Nova jaws, holding the wood blank with screws to a faceplate and finishing the outside and the recess. Use the recess to finish the inside and I made a great set of Cole jaws for the Nova Chuck out of plywood to remove the recess or tenon afterwards if needed.

  11. #11
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    Tony, I use Oneway chucks for my turnings. On bowls and platters, I drill a 2" dia. hole on the face side. I then expand my chuck jaws into that recess. I then bring up my tailstock for added security. Once I get the outside shaped and either turn a recess or tenon, I can then reverse the blank and turn and finish the interior. The 2" hole fits my Talon chucks. The hole does not need to be very deep(3/16"). I have turned platters up to 23" using this method. As mentioned above, find a mentor or a club. This will speed up your learning curve.
    Joe

  12. #12
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    Such a great forum with so many helpful contributors. I will check out those books. I want to give bowls a try starting with something very simple. I have access to quite a bit of wood of different varieties. There is an olt timer that comes to listen to our jam sessions who turns mostly segmented bowls. I have visited his shop in the past but I'll ask if I can go someday when he's actually turning. The down side is it's a 20 mile drive each way. My nova chuck arrived. I only had a few minutes before work to do some assembly. The insert fit in the chuck snugly like they said it would, but wouldn't fit on the lathe spindle. It's stamped D for 1"-8 threads and before ordering I measured my spindle with a micrometer and thread gage. It measured .980 o.d. and 8 tpi. I'll check to see what size the bore should be and maybe blue up the threads and see where the interference is. It did screw on part way, and the spindle itself looks fine. Keep you posted, and again thanks for the help and great suggestions.

  13. #13
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    Thanks John, I have been playing around with a little spindle turning with scrap wood and some green wood. Trying to get a feel for the tools. It seems strange to hold a tool rather than having it clamped in a tool post.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Pisano View Post
    Thanks John, I have been playing around with a little spindle turning with scrap wood and some green wood. Trying to get a feel for the tools. It seems strange to hold a tool rather than having it clamped in a tool post.
    A friend came to my shop once and while she watched I made a wand for her to give to her friend. She was shocked at how woodturning tools were held in the hand. Her only knowledge of lathes was with a metal lathe in a graduate school workshop many years before.

    Have you seen the incredible "Clickspring" videos on YouTube? ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwo...jS2MA/featured )
    From the perspective of a machinist, in one of the excellent clock-making videos the author describes using a graver on the metal lathe. He mentioned how much he enjoyed making curves by hand with the graver. My thought was he ought to try woodturning!

    JKJ

  15. #15
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    Update: The bore of the insert was fine, so I assumed the threads weren't cut deep enough. Luckily I have a small South Bend lathe, and a 3/8" high speed tool bit I had ground for internal single point threading, just long enough to reach all the way through. After a few passes, then no fit, I took another few small cuts and it went on snugly using a wrench. I checked the chuck for runnout with an indicator. It was about .008 total on the O.D. and .003 on the face. That should work.

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