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Buying first chuck

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Larry Long, Nov 23, 2020.

  1. Larry Long

    Larry Long

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    My apologies if this question is like beating a dead horse for some of you. I've been turning with glue blocks a little bit and wanted to "graduate" to a chuck. What system would be best for a beginner? Thank you in advance for any help on thism
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Lots to choose from. Any sold by a reputable dealer like craft supplies, pakard, woodcraft, rockler, highland hardware....... will work well.

    I like the ONEWAY stronghold and the vicmark 120.

    Both will do everything. I prefer the stronghold for spindle and endgrain work.
    I prefer the vicmark for bowls and likes it’s hex ket above th3 to other key used by the stronghold.

    most important is making a propers tenon for the jaws you are using.
     
  3. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Start with the basics, what is the thread pitch size on your lathe spindle? (Some chucks have mounting threads cut in the body, some use threaded adapters for different size thread pitches)
    What is the size of the lathe turning capacity you have and horsepower? (Most chucks have different sets of jaws to hold different sizes and shapes of wood billets)
    What kind and size of items do you want to hold in the chuck? (Spindle pieces, bowls and hollow forms) (Small or Large Diameter) (Long or Short)
    Most wood turners end up with a collection of chucks that they use for various projects with different types of jaws already installed so they can quickly install and use when needed.
    Some manufacturers offer their chucks in a package with multiple sets of jaws for holding different types and sizes of projects, you save a few dollars this way.
     
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  4. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Hi Larry, I'll approach this from lathe size and motor power, for it really is not a matter of beginner vs. experienced.

    Regardless of chuck brand, if you are using a smaller lathe (let's say 12" swing or less) with a motor of one hp or less, I'd suggest a smaller chuck, examples of which are the Oneway Talon and Vicmarc VM100. These chucks weigh in the 4 pound neighborhood, are excellent in design and construction, are a bit more affordable due to their size, offer accessory jaws, and the lighter weight won't tax the limited motor power. I bought the first production run Talon directly from Oneway around 1997/98 before they were even released to the market after they explained it was a chuck designed specifically for this size family of lathes. And if the Vicmarc VM100 is on par with their larger VM120 which I own, it, too, would be a great chuck to consider.

    If you own a lathe with a larger than 12" swing, and with a motor greater than one hp, then the Oneway Stronghold or Vicmarc VM120 are at the top of the list for me. These are chucks in the 8+ pound category, strong enough to crush wood fibers with their grip, have a large range of accessory jaws, and will confidently hold whatever you want to turn that will fit on a lathe up to a 24" swing. The quality of these two brands is without a fault. The big difference is the style of how their jaws hold wood, serrated jaws (Oneway) vs. dovetail jaws (Vicmarc). I've owned both brands for 2 decades, and in the final analysis, to me it is six of one and a half dozen of the other. Use the chuck as the manufacturer intended and all is good.

    Yes, there are other brands, but I have no experience with them, but they should be considered as well.

    Steve.
     
  5. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Larry, I don't care what chuck you buy, but I'd appreciate it if you don't post a picture with sunshine and warm aqua water in it until winter is over up here. That'll be right after July 4. ;)

    And welcome to the madness.
     
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  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    While I generally agree with your recommendations of what size chuck can be used on what size lathe, I would like to offer a caveat ... on larger lathes match the chuck size to the size of the chunk of wood rather than the swing of the lathe. My Robust American Beauty has a swing of 25½", but the vast majority of the time I turn pieces that are smaller than 16" diameter (usually smaller than 12" diameter) and for those pieces, I prefer using my smaller chucks (Oneway Talon or Vicmarc VM100). It's easier to work close to the tenon when using a smaller chuck and the smaller chucks hold just as well as the larger chucks.
     
  7. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Good point, Bill, and I agree. I, too, will grab the smaller chuck for smaller work for those reasons.

    Larry never did tell us the details of his lathe that he wanted his first chuck for, and I'd guess he'll only be buying one... for now.

    Steve.
     
  8. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    That is a good point and generally good advice.

    I my opinion, the small chucks don’t hold as well as the big ones but they hold bowls and such more than well enough.

    I have to confess to doing the opposite sometimes using my vicmark 120 when I demo bowls on small lathes. I do it so the extra weight will compensate a little for the light lathe and let me get a higher rpm.
     
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  9. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Good point. I have done something somewhat similar. I have a ten-inch diameter Oneway cast iron faceplate that I have used with some turning blanks that were heavy on one side. The faceplate weighs 12 pounds 6 ounces and sure does a great job of smoothing out vibrations.
     
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  10. odie

    odie

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    This is an interesting thought.

    So.........

    Since RPM is directly related to vibration level, and each individual lathe has it's own threshold.....I wonder if adding well distributed weight can further reduce the vibration level.....?

    I also wonder if that well distributed added weight would have a similar effect when it's added to the outboard side of the spindle when turning on the inboard side of the spindle.....?

    Very interesting contemplation, indeed! :D

    -----odie-----
     
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  11. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Odie, basically the big faceplate is just a flywheel so it wouldn't matter if it were installed inboard or outboard. If your lathe has a VFD there's a limit to how much mass you can add to a flywheel and still have stability at minimum RPM (50 to 100 RPM range).
     
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  12. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Both Kelton and Vicmarc make a faceplate/Chucks whose purpose is to “Add well distributed weight”

    balancing the weight of turned objects reduces vibration. By using a heavy faceplate or Chuck you add balanced weight that then reduces the % of off balanced weight. In wood, a non-homigenious, medium the weight is never 100% evenly distributed within the blanks. Obviously first mounted un turned blanks have uneven weight because of the off center parts.

    There are a couple of chucks/faceplates in the market place designed for off set turning.
    They work using movable weights that can moved to counterbalance the weight if pieces intentionally moved off center. They reduce the vibration a great deal.

    https://www.kelton.co.nz/Kelton Eccentric Faceplate.html

    https://vicmarc.com/index.php?optio...mart_product_id=100&virtuemart_category_id=14
     
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  13. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    Hello Larry and welcome to the forum. My first chuck was a Nova and it has served me well......... I still use it often. All the information above is excellent advice from some of the best turners around the country. Happy turning!
     
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  14. Debra Higley-Feldman

    Debra Higley-Feldman

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    I have Oneway stronghold and Nova chucks. Both are fine, but I prefer the Oneway cole jaws to those of the Nova (easier to set up and level), in case you want to expand in the future. Some folk don't like the ridges on the Oneway tenon grips, but a little painters tape negates imprinting wood. It is good to check the min-max range of mortises and tenons for the various chucks, in the event you turn very large or smaller things.
     
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  15. odie

    odie

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    Interesting Al......:D

    Yes, I am aware of eccentric chucks.

    I'm not sure if either you or Bill are tuning in to the exact concept I was thinking, and maybe it's me who failed to describe it succinctly. I was not thinking of the ability to mount a turning independent from the spindle axis, or a flywheel to resist changes in rotational energy....but to reduce the tendency of an out-of-balance turning to effect the contact of the turning tool edge, as a result of vibrations at any particular RPM. Maybe it's a complete screwball idea, however I'm considering possible experiments to ascertain some conclusive results.

    -----odie-----
     
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  16. Timothy Allen

    Timothy Allen

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    Odie, what we need is a faceplate designed to accept balancing weights, much like the wheel weights added to rims when balancing one's tires!
     
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  17. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I think that is what Bill and I said to start this tangent. A heavy in balance faceplate adds in balance weight to the turning. It doesn’t change the wood but does reduce the wood’s out of balance weight contribution to vibration.

    That is what the Vicmark and McNaughton chucks do. The McNaughton movable weights le you “spin balance” the work.

    I learned a do it yourself version in a Christian Burchard class - mount the work on a plywood disc the screw faceplates and pieces of iron to the back of the disc to balance it.
     
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  18. odie

    odie

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    Yep, Timothy......that would do it! :D

    Likewise, some way to determine where to put those weights.....like those machines that do that for tires.

    ===========================

    What I've found, is each block of wood has a best RPM. At this RPM is where the least detectable vibrations are. This is a harmonic vibration, and the lathe itself is a part of that determination. (In theory, if I put that block of wood on a different lathe, the best RPM will not be exactly the same.)

    Wood blocks that are close to being in balance from the gitgo, usually stay close to the same best RPM as wood is removed. Wood blocks that are very noticeably out of balance, the best RPM often varies more, as wood is removed.

    -----odie-----
     
  19. Larry Long

    Larry Long

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    Thank you gentlemen. A good bit of great options here. Here's a little bit more info on my end. I have an old Craftsman 113 model that belonged to my grandfather. Iv completly broke it down and rebuilt it. Second lathe is an older Central Machinery I was gifted this year.
     
  20. Tom Gall

    Tom Gall

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    I have an off-center vacuum chuck. The base disc (MDF in this case) is attached to a steel faceplate (8"?) that has a slightly raised edge on the back side. I used rare earth magnets in cups which are moveable and positioned against or near that edge....act just like wheel weights. The centrifugal force doesn't have any effect on their placement while resting against that edge. It's the one on the left.


    1 - Backs of Vac. Chucks - P1050280.jpg
     
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  21. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    That's easy because static balancing works well enough. Just loosen the drive belt so that it doesn't touch the spindle pulley. Next, give the spindle a spin by hand and let it coast to a stop. Mark the low point with a pencil or Sharpie or your favorite marker. Repeat the spin test several times to verify that it stops spinning close to the same spot. Once you have confirmed the heaviest side, add some weight 180° from the pencil marks. Then repeat the spin test to see if the added weight was not enough, just right, or too much. Generally, this takes three iterations or less. In lieu of adding weights, you can shift the piece of wood ... at least in the initial roughing stage.
     
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  22. odie

    odie

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    Hi Bill.....:D

    Yes, I can agree that this method of shifting weight, trial and evaluate, would be satisfactory for the initial roughing stage. Would you not agree that a more precise method would be better for the final turning?

    -----odie-----
     
  23. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    In an earlier post you suggested:

    While it might seem counter-intuitive, just the opposite is the case ... vibration amplitude is inversely proportional to RPM. As an example, suppose that we put a very unbalanced piece of wood on a lightweight lathe and, for now, assume that there aren't any structural resonances. At very low RPM we would see the lathe rocking from side to side. Being brave (or foolhardy) we increase the speed and while the lathe is still shaking, the rocking ha diminished. Being encouraged by this, we increase the speed further. We can feel the vibration when we touch the tool rest, but we can't actually see the vibration. If we increase the speed even further we find that we can get decent interrupted cuts. At this point, we can still feel some vibration and possibly begin to hear the vibration. Even though the amplitude of the vibrations is inversely proportional to the RPM, the kinetic energy of the vibrations is increasing with increasing RPM ... not just proportionally, but with the square of the RPM's ... in other words, if we double the speed the kinetic energy increases by a factor of four. This kinetic energy is bound to excite any structural resonances of both the wood and the lathe which can make it difficult to get a fine detail finish. This information is a convincing argument for going after the root of the problem by balancing the load either by shifting the wood or using weights.
     
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  24. Tom Gall

    Tom Gall

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    This is the method I used for placing the magnets in the above post. Also for other off-center turnings when adding weights.
     
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  25. odie

    odie

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    Hello Bill.....:D

    While this may be true for large out of balance situations, small out of balance conditions are different, when observed from practical application. I used to use my fingers on the bedways to tune the rpm to the least detectable vibrations. Now that I've been using my vibrometer, I can further fine tune the rpm. If everything else is good.....sharpness, tool choice, presentation, etc., this is where the finest cut is possible. If I increase the rpm from that point, the vibrations become more pronounced again. This might be due to a "harmonic" interaction between the lathe and the mounted workpiece. (Harmonic interaction between workpiece and the lathe is my best guess as to the cause, and I can't state it as fact. I only know what the laser beam shows me.)



    -----odie-----
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
  26. Timothy White

    Timothy White

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    I thought the question was which chuck to buy!
    Nova just came out with a new line of chucks so, the G3 and supernova 2 (insert chucks) will probably be going on sale. Google nova chuck and see all the possibilities. Are they the best? Maybe Maybe not but they are good enough.
    How the weight of a chuck effects the Space Time Continuum when dealing with an off center unbalanced Chungking of wood, is a mystery to me.
     
  27. GRJensen

    GRJensen

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    Bought a SuperNova2 online (from Rockler) for $119.00 ... Black Friday deal.
     
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  28. Bruce Miller

    Bruce Miller

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    By doing this wouldn't it require you to re-balance/move your weights frequently as you cut away the unbalanced portion of the wood stock .
    I'm thinking maybe someone should design a chuck with a self balancing type of mechanism to it such like balancing beads that are often used in tractor trailer truck tires....Vicmarc you're free to use my idea(well I want one free of charge)
     
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  29. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    I have a mix of Vicmarc and Novas. I find them both to be good. I do not like chucks that have "geared" chuck key. And I dont feel confidence in the open back chucks. Maybe just my ignorance about chucks.
     
  30. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It depends. If i's something like a soup ladle or a one piece hand mirror then it may not be necessary to adjust the weights. And a heavy chuck or faceplate could also be useful in swamping out the relatively small change in weight distribution of the wood.On something like a bowl or platter, you could probably do away with the weights once you're half way through the initial rough shaping. I don't bother with weights when doing bowls and platters. Instead, I just center the wood to get it in balance. Once you do that, the piece will be balanced all the way to completion.
     
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  31. Bruce Miller

    Bruce Miller

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    Okay, that makes sense.
     
  32. odie

    odie

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    This is pretty much my findings, as well. Often times, when a bowl/platter is as balanced as much as possible, there is no significant change in the vibration intensity, all the way to completion. This doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but more infrequently than most people would think. RPM is also a component of that vibration intensity, but weight distribution on a significantly out of balanced chunk of wood is the more contributing factor. On a bowl with minor weight distribution considerations, then it's RPM that takes over as being the component more available to changing conditions for the best cut possible.

    What is the more important factor in the vibrations caused by an out of balance, or RPM related condition? It's more than just the lathe shaking and stress on bearings. It's also a contributing factor as to just how cleanly a cut your tool can make, especially on very fine light finishing cuts. This isn't the only, or most important consideration, because there are many other factors that can effect the ability to make that very fine light finishing cut. Most notably, there are things that are completely under the control of the turner...mainly, sharpness, tool selection, presentation, rpm, etc. One important factor is the physical characteristics of the particular piece of wood being turned will heavily influence the ability to make a very fine finishing cut, as well. Species is a huge factor, as well as the grain patterning, and general hardness of the wood.

    -----odie-----
     
  33. Dennis Weiner

    Dennis Weiner

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    @Larry Long
    I have bought many chucks over years. Primarily because a particular jaw set requirement that evolved from varied turning interests. It’s difficult to predict what type and size projects your will be turning in the future. I think choosing a chuck manufacturer and model that has an extensive chuck jaw line is a good investment. Another chuck purchasing feature you may consider if you ever anticipate changing lathes, is buying a chuck with interchangeable spindle adapters vs fixed thread.
     
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  34. Dave Bunge

    Dave Bunge

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    @Larry Long
    I have several Nova SuperNova2 (SN2) chucks that have worked well for me. Nova sells a 30th anniversary bundle that includes the SN2 with standard 2" jaws and also 4" and 5" jaws. It's direct threaded, so only suitable for lathes with 1 1/4" x 8 tpi spindles. Occasionally CPO Outlets or Amazon sells the bundle for about $170 which makes it a great deal if it fits your lathe and if you need the extra jaws.

    Woodcraft is selling a Record Power SC4 chuck package with 2" jaw and 3" faceplate (gripped by chuck jaws, not separately threaded) for $119, $80 savings. https://www.woodcraft.com/products/...crew-and-2-faceplate-package-62063?sku=421891 It requires separate purchase of an insert/adaptor to fit your lathe (another $20). I've never tried one, but have read several positive reviews. I did save $139 this morning by deciding not to buy the one I had in my cart....
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2020
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  35. Robert D Evans

    Robert D Evans

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    The $119 deal on the Record Power SC4 is a super deal. I've never seen this kit on sale before. I paid $199 for mine last year. It's a great chuck and I ordered another one today at the sale price. All of the Nova jaws also fit this chuck. The Record Power also closes up by turning the allen wrench clockwise.

    The only complaint I have with this chuck is that it comes in a very nice plastic case. However, once you put the jaws on the chuck, the lid on the case won't close.
     
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  36. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    >Size chucks to the work, not the lathe. A given lathe will limit the work size (mainly diameter) which will guide max chuck size. Small work, like 3” ornaments and smaller, are just easier with a small chuck
    >dovetail or serrated jaws, I prefer serrated because they do mark the tenon and are easier to rechuck a piece. Favorite is Oneway profiled jaws.
    > insert style instead of direct thread. Lathe upgrades wont require chuck purchases
    > lots of jaw type/styles/sizes available. Never know when the itch strikes that requires jaws you dont have. I made do quite nicely with the PSI Barracuda set with 4 jaws for many years but 1) I dont think that kit is available and 2) dont recommend it the chuck key gear drive is at a shallow angle, pushing the key out of the ring gear
    > recommendations - Oneway, Nova, Craft Supplies Apprentice, Record (copy of Nova), Vicmark if you want dovetail

    I like an open back. I degrease chucks and jaws, cover with rust inhibitor, then slather paster wax on all surfaces that move. Blast of air blows out what little dust collects. Geared keys like Oneway and Nova work great. Just looke at the gear angle and that tells you good from bad. The hex drive are great as well, just dont dismiss a great chuck like a Oneway because its geared vs hex.
     
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  37. Lawrence Duckworth

    Lawrence Duckworth

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    What about adapters? Should Larry by chucks that match the arbor/thread size? Does an adapter add to the vibration possibilities? I've been thinking of replacing my chucks with the matching thread n size and eliminating the adapters....
     
  38. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I have the Vicmarc and also the Vermec chucks for offset turning. And, I just ordered the biggest chuck out there, a VM150.
     
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  39. Robert D Evans

    Robert D Evans

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    I prefer chucks that have the thread adapter. Most of the top brands use the inserts and I have not found them to be a problem. The insert allows for future flexibility if you upgrade or down size your lathe in the future, you only have to buy new inserts, not new chucks.
     
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  40. odie

    odie

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    Personally, I would not buy a chuck that didn't match the threads of my lathe. Spindle adaptors add manufacturing machining operations between your spindle, and the attachment point to your wood, as well as adding distance. All these things add to the possibility of changing concentricity, and exacerbating any vibration issues.

    Adaptors, and inserts are not the same thing. Although my Stronghold chucks have inserts, this Record Power chuck is direct threaded. That's an advantage, in that it has fewer machining operations, and therefore less possibility of throwing off concentricity. You can test the concentricity of spindle, and chuck if you have a dial indicator and base. A couple thousandths runout at the chuck is good, and considered normal.......although, obviously, less is better.

    It should be understood that a piece of wood will turn concentric to the spindle, not the chuck. This is not a problem for turning your work, but means that if there is any runout at the chuck, then remounting will have to be keyed specifically to the placement of the chuck jaws in exactly the same place as before.

    -----odie-----
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2020
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