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Thread: Advice on First Chuck

  1. #1
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    Advice on First Chuck

    First real post in the Turner's forum. Long time lurker, and I've mostly frequented the engraving section.

    I'm planning on upgrading from a small HF lathe to a Laguna 18/36 by the end of the month, and I'm looking for some advice on my first chuck. There seems to be quite a few options out there, and it's somewhat confusing. I'm just looking for an all-around option right now. Currently I mostly make wands, but I hope to get into bowls/platters at some point.

    Right now I'm leaning towards the Supernova2. There's an Anniversary kit with 2", 4", and 5" jaws. Prices seem to vary wildly. One site has the set listed for $169, but Rockler sells the same set for $308. This chuck fits the 1-1/4" 8TPI spindle on the 18/36. If I go with something like the G3, does that mean I buy the Nova Insert/Adapter, 1-1/4" 8-TPI?

    Admittedly Nova is the brand I've researched the most, but do other brands work the same way?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  2. #2
    I have two Supernova 2's and a G3 (and also the Laguna 18/36). The Supernova is larger, which is great for your bigger turnings.

    The G3 is fine; yes you need to buy the right insert for any chuck. For the 18/36 is it is indeed 1 1/4" x 8tpi.

    The Nova jaw sets are interchangeable.

    A small point, but the SN2 takes a hex key, whereas the G3 takes a larger chuck key. On the 18/36, more holes on the accessory tray will accomodate the SN2 key than the G3 key. VERY small point, I know.

  3. #3
    It's great having lots of choices, but yeah the chuck market is tough to digest all at once! As far as I know, Vicmarc & Nova offer the widest variety of jaw choices; that SN2 kit sounds like a great choice.

    Personally, I've went with a Vicmarc VM100 as my general purpose chuck; I have two of them to reduce jaw changes. For larger work I have a Hurricane HTC125.

  4. #4
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    Hurricane 125 here. Excellent chuck.
    Don

  5. #5
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    Novas are good chucks and will serve you well. If you need an insert be sure you get a Nova to fit a Nova chuck. A different brand insert may cause the chuck to not run true.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Jarvie View Post
    Hurricane 125 here. Excellent chuck.
    +1

    When I was looking for a first chuck few years ago they offered a Hurricane HTC-100 chuck with something like 6 jaw sets for a reasonable price. Was nice to have them on-hand to try. Since then I have bought their HTC-125 chuck too and a couple jaw sets for it. You may want to contact thewoodturningstore and see if they still sell the kit.

    Mike

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    I have two Supernova 2's and a G3 (and also the Laguna 18/36). The Supernova is larger, which is great for your bigger turnings.

    The G3 is fine; yes you need to buy the right insert for any chuck. For the 18/36 is it is indeed 1 1/4" x 8tpi.

    The Nova jaw sets are interchangeable.

    A small point, but the SN2 takes a hex key, whereas the G3 takes a larger chuck key. On the 18/36, more holes on the accessory tray will accomodate the SN2 key than the G3 key. VERY small point, I know.
    Prashun, thanks for the tips. Your name has definitely come up a time or two during my search.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by David M Peters View Post
    It's great having lots of choices, but yeah the chuck market is tough to digest all at once! As far as I know, Vicmarc & Nova offer the widest variety of jaw choices; that SN2 kit sounds like a great choice.

    Personally, I've went with a Vicmarc VM100 as my general purpose chuck; I have two of them to reduce jaw changes. For larger work I have a Hurricane HTC125.
    David, there certainly are a lot of choices. The SN2 kit seems a little too good to be true. The site is Tools Plus outlet. It says it is a dedicated 1-1/4" 9TPI chuck, so the insert is not an option. Maybe that is why the price is so much lower.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Goetzke View Post
    +1

    When I was looking for a first chuck few years ago they offered a Hurricane HTC-100 chuck with something like 6 jaw sets for a reasonable price. Was nice to have them on-hand to try. Since then I have bought their HTC-125 chuck too and a couple jaw sets for it. You may want to contact thewoodturningstore and see if they still sell the kit.

    Mike
    Mike, I did look at their site. I don't see anything in the way of kits, and the HTC100 with one set of dovetail jaws is $200. Sounds like you got a great deal!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Mitchell View Post
    David, there certainly are a lot of choices. The SN2 kit seems a little too good to be true. The site is Tools Plus outlet. It says it is a dedicated 1-1/4" 9TPI chuck, so the insert is not an option. Maybe that is why the price is so much lower.
    I recently purchased the SN2 kit from ToolsPlus and it is great - the kit does not come with an insert type chuck so you won't be able to use it on a lathe with another sized spindle. I also have a Oneway Talon, but I like the SN2 much better and use it exclusively now.

    You can buy different SN2 kits that include the insert type chuck but then have to buy the insert separately for around $15-20, but I didn't see any insert types that included as many jaws for such a low price.
    Tom

  11. #11
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    Thanks everyone for the advice. I went ahead and ordered the SN2 kit from ToolsPlus. Thanks Thomas for confirming that it was a legit deal.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Mitchell View Post
    Thanks everyone for the advice. I went ahead and ordered the SN2 kit from ToolsPlus. Thanks Thomas for confirming that it was a legit deal.
    Amazon currently has it for $188 so the Rockler price seems way too high.

    I think most of the chuck brands are fine. I have 19 Nova/Teknatool chucks since I don't like to change jaws (and for a couple of other reasons) and I like them a lot. I do not like the geared chuck key on the original Supernova chuck but the hex key on the Supernova2 is wonderful. (The G3 also has a geared chuck key which is better than the original SN but not much.)

    There may be one potential problem with a direct threaded chuck. While the inserts for the insert types have hex flats so I can take the chuck off the lathe with the wrench, the one direct thread Titan chuck I have does NOT have a way to use the wrench. You have to loosen the chuck some other way, such as use/abuse the chuck key. I know many people do this all the time but I don't - I've seen some chucks damaged by enthusiastic turners. I plan to machine a couple of flats on mine to accept the wrench.

    Also one issue with the Nova hex key that is easily fixable: it has a ball end which can slip out of the socket if not careful. Some people have damaged the socket and Nova has had to provide replacement parts. The easy fix is grind the ball off the end.

    JKJ

  13. #13
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    That is a good deal on the SN2 chuck, thanks for the heads up.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    ...

    There may be one potential problem with a direct threaded chuck. While the inserts for the insert types have hex flats so I can take the chuck off the lathe with the wrench, the one direct thread Titan chuck I have does NOT have a way to use the wrench. You have to loosen the chuck some other way, such as use/abuse the chuck key. I know many people do this all the time but I don't - I've seen some chucks damaged by enthusiastic turners. I plan to machine a couple of flats on mine to accept the wrench.

    Also one issue with the Nova hex key that is easily fixable: it has a ball end which can slip out of the socket if not careful. Some people have damaged the socket and Nova has had to provide replacement parts. The easy fix is grind the ball off the end.

    JKJ
    Your points are valid.

    I have a plastic washer that seems to help getting a really strong "lock-up". So, I usually use the chuck key to unscrew it. And usually the amount of force required is really pretty low. But if I'd had a significant catch (less likely these days) it is more stubborn. That is when I slip in a board or rod into the chuck jaws or give it a "yank". You are spot-on that you don't want to use the chuck key is the required force is high.

    There seems to be more lower-priced 1 x 8 chucks than 1-1/4 x 8 chucks. I liked the "value proposition" of the Griz 5-1/2" chuck set. I got a bunch of different sized jaws plus a set of Cole jaws at a reasonable price. But it is only available in 1 x 8 direct thread. So I bought a 1 x 8 to 1-1/4 x 8 adapter. Griz sells two: one at under $10 and one around 30 or 40. I bought the cheap one and the runout is close to zero. I haven't bothered to put on a dial indicator but optically it looks great. Also things like a Beale 1" tap, faceplates, etc., are better priced as 1 x 8 than 1-1/4 x 8. Also 1 x 8 bolts and nuts are pretty common while a 1-1/4 x 8 are specialty items. If I ever have such a horrible catch that I snap a 1" diameter shaft but where a 1-1/4 shaft would hold - - well then I've got some serious problems. It is more likely that my 1/2" gouge or my cast-iron banjo is going to give up the ghost than the adapter. Just my thoughts.

  15. #15
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    The problem many people have with the plastic washers (and the reason I quit using one) is they can cause imprecise registration with the headstock spindle. As long as the connection is tight enough it's not a problem until the chuck is removed from the lathe then remounted later.

    I remove and remount chucks a lot, not only when a student not finish a piece in one session but for my own work - put one project aside and work on something else. Also I don't sand things like bowls and platters on the lathe but take them off the lathe to smooth and sand, sometimes remounting.

    It's far worse to use a board or something in the chuck jaws to remove the chuck since that involves taking the piece out of the chuck - it's almost impossible to get it registered again once the wood is removed from the jaws. Close is often not useful. The chuck wrench solves all these things.

    Good thoughts about the adapter - a quality adapter sounds like a good solution for some with a chuck that doesn't fit their lathe. I don't use them myself since all my scroll chucks, screw chucks, faceplates, and taps and such have the 1-1/4x8 inserts or direct thread. Ruth Niles even offers a direct-threaded mandrel now with a 3/8" thread on the working end for her bottle stoppers and such.

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Brice Rogers View Post
    Your points are valid.

    I have a plastic washer that seems to help getting a really strong "lock-up". So, I usually use the chuck key to unscrew it. And usually the amount of force required is really pretty low. But if I'd had a significant catch (less likely these days) it is more stubborn. That is when I slip in a board or rod into the chuck jaws or give it a "yank". You are spot-on that you don't want to use the chuck key is the required force is high.

    There seems to be more lower-priced 1 x 8 chucks than 1-1/4 x 8 chucks. I liked the "value proposition" of the Griz 5-1/2" chuck set. I got a bunch of different sized jaws plus a set of Cole jaws at a reasonable price. But it is only available in 1 x 8 direct thread. So I bought a 1 x 8 to 1-1/4 x 8 adapter. Griz sells two: one at under $10 and one around 30 or 40. I bought the cheap one and the runout is close to zero. I haven't bothered to put on a dial indicator but optically it looks great. Also things like a Beale 1" tap, faceplates, etc., are better priced as 1 x 8 than 1-1/4 x 8. Also 1 x 8 bolts and nuts are pretty common while a 1-1/4 x 8 are specialty items. If I ever have such a horrible catch that I snap a 1" diameter shaft but where a 1-1/4 shaft would hold - - well then I've got some serious problems. It is more likely that my 1/2" gouge or my cast-iron banjo is going to give up the ghost than the adapter. Just my thoughts.

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