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I Need Help Choosing A Chuck

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by John Simmons, Mar 8, 2020.

  1. John Simmons

    John Simmons

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    Hey folks I was hoping I could pick your brains in regard to chucks for wood lathes.

    I have a Jet JWL-1236 lathe. It has a 1"-8 spindle nose.

    Mostly I have used this lathe for turning small model rocket components like nose cones, transitions, centering rings etc. I've also turned some goblets, candle holders and a grog mug. See below for some photo's.

    Most of the components I have turned thus far I have made from pine.

    The biggest issue I am having is keeping the bore and o.d. of the parts concentric. Turning with the face plate just isn't accurate enough.

    What chuck would you recommend?

    Thanks in advance!
     

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  2. Ed Davidson

    Ed Davidson

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    For relatively small turnings like those you're making, just about any light weight (2-4 pounds) four jaw self-centering chuck will do. There are dozens to choose from. But consider avoiding the type that uses two handheld bars to tighten the chuck...better leveraging and not inadvertently un-tightening with a single hand-key design. If you want to turn some larger things and have $180-300 to spend, consider a larger (4-8 pound) Oneway Stronghold, Vicmarc VM100, or Axminster Evolution (SK114). A good compromise $140-180 range chuck choice might be the Oneway Talon, Teknatool SuperNova 2, or Record Power. Personally, my favorite brand is the made in England Axminster.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2020
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  3. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    You have many choices most of which will work.
    I use a ONEWAY talon on my 12” lathe. I like the ONEWAY profile jaws for square stock and most spindle turning.
    I like the dovetail jaws for most bowls. The dovetail might give you more accurate reversing with some woods

    Then vicmarc 100 would be a good choice too. I’ve used this Chuck in demos and like it.
    I have a vicmarc 120 for my big lathes. The hex chuck key on the Vic is much easier to use than the ONEWAY key.
     
  4. Robert D Evans

    Robert D Evans

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    I'd consider the Nova Supernova 2 or the Record Power chucks. The jaws are interchangeable between these two chucks and there are lots of jaw sets available. Look at package sets available. Some of them have faceplates, extra jaws and woodworm screws thrown in. You will have to buy an adaptor to fit the chuck to the lathe but if you upgrade your lathe later on, you only have to buy the correct size adaptor. Either of these chucks will serve you well.
     
  5. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    John,

    I have turned a number of components for model rockets and various pyrotechnic tooling etc. over the years. To maintain your tolerances on these items it helps to keep the item as close to the chuck or face plate as possible. Another method is to drill your center opening first and mount the piece over a tight fitting mandrel that the work piece fits snuggly over, you can then turn the outer profile of the work piece without the tailstock hindering your efforts. I usually turn a mandrel out of aluminum stock that will fit into an adjustable chuck the mandrel can have several steps and diameters to accommodate different sized work pieces. You can also turn a mandrel out of hard wood but you need to check the run-out each time you mount it on the lathe to make sure it is true between centers. Wood as tendency to expand and contract with changes in the atmosphere, you can also turn mandrels out of polymers like Delrin which is easy to turn on a wood lathe.
     
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  6. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    I use the jam fit mandrel technique for throwing tops. Mine are not as classy as someone we know :D but fun none the less...
    It was the easiest way I could find keep everything inline.
    It seems that if everything is solidly mounted to a face plate, and things are still off, you might have an alignment issue.
    Have you checked alignment? If alignment is off, the drill bit will fight trying to find "true" center, and might throw other things off.
    Of course, I'm in no way saying not to buy a chuck, saying that might be construed as being somewhat blasphemous...
     
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  7. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that the Oneway Talon chuck with precision profiled jaws would be a very good choice (I have seven so my opinion might rightfully be considered a tad biased). Have you considered turning between centers after you first hollow the piece as suggested by Clifton and then make snug fitting jam chuck that is held with a Safe Drive in the spindle. If it were me I think that my next step would be to turn the exterior between centers. Doing this would eliminate problems resulting from misalignment between the headstock spindle and tailstock quill which means that inside and outside should be concentric. I would use a high quality live center with the center point removed. I like Robust and Oneway live centers. Don't over tighten the tailstock quill.

    Starting off with a small diameter dowel will present more challenges than I care to have. I would prefer to start with a larger diameter piece of wood so that I could do the initial hollowing without worrying about the wood moving around.

    Making a proper tenon is critically important. It should have a square shoulder and not bottom out in the chuck.
     
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  8. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    I started turning to make fly rod parts, which are traditionally done on a mandrel to maximize concentricity. Pen mandrels tend to be 1/4", but there are larger diameter mandrels as well and some folks use hollow wall metal tubing. There are also now mandrels which hold small items that only have one open end, though I have not tried them. Some fly rod component turners have gotten away from mandrels and are using a bushing at each end, holding the work piece 'between centers', although they're not sharp pointy centers. You might check out Craftsupplies or Penn State or a similar supplier in their pen and projects sections to see what choices you might have. One thing that I would recommend against is a drill chuck to hold a mandrel or a solid steel rod from the hardware store as the mandrel--too much inaccuracy and aggravation in these.

    As for chucks, my vote would be for one of the 3" models, like a G3, Talon, etc.
     
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  9. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Al, would you not recommend the Oneway for bowl turning? I have 5 Vicmarc 120. My student/friend that keeps my old Union Graduate in my shop, has a Oneway. I do not like those jaws. Can he buy some dovetail jaws for the Oneway? It totally makes sense you only use it for spindle turning.
     
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  10. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I would buy a Vicmarc 100. Your Grandkids will be using it in 50 years. I would love to see a picture of a finished rocket! I used to fly a lot of rockets with my son. Lots of great memories... Aloha
     
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  11. Rick Crawford

    Rick Crawford

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    I used to have that model lathe, and I would suggest that you check the alignment of headstock to tailstock. Put your spur drive in the headstock, and a point center in the tailstock. Slide them together and see if they match. The image of the tearout tells me that you have an alignment issue, which is common with that lathe.
     
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  12. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I have several ONEWAY Strong holds as well as the talon. They hold great for bowl turning. Dove tail jaws are available for both the talon and the stronghold. The ONEWAY jaws hold bowls really well too.

    I like the dovetails more for bowls because they work better with shorter tenons. What hooked me was watching my wife turn platters with 1/8” tenons using dovetail jaws.

    Also the dovetails will grip in groove near perfect circle diameter ( 48mm for the vicmarc #2)
    And not leave any marks. This is real useful for lots of smaller objects when the groove is part of the final design. Can even hold a small ball with a decorative groove,
     
  13. John Simmons

    John Simmons

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    I'm a scratch builder.. no kits. I use Open Rocket software to perform a simulation, then make a CAD drawing, then build. It's a fun, not to pricey hobby for a retired guy.
     

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  14. John Simmons

    John Simmons

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    Part of the issue is I don't have the lathe permanently fastened to the floor. I lift it with my 2 post lift, remove furniture dollies that are under it and then set it on the floor.

    The base isn't substantial enough to keep the lathe frame from twisting. I need to build a structural steel frame for the lathe to sit on.. and maybe even fill it with concrete.

    For most of my woodworking tools, I have mounted them on wheels so I can move them from the work area, back into the storage area of my barn, when I'm not using them.
     

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  15. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    So then, you ARE a rocket scientist. :)
     
  16. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm not @hockenbery but here is my two cents worth. The Oneway chucks with the profiled jaws are very well suited for bowl turning. Yes you can get dovetail jaws for the Oneway chucks, but for most bowl turning applications I prefer the profiled jaws. Except for a very precise perfect circle tenon diameter the profiled jaws provide superior holding over a wider range of tenon diameters compared to the dovetail jaws. I have both Vicmarc and Oneway chucks.
     
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  17. Tom Gall

    Tom Gall

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    I agree with Bill. I have 10 4-jaw chucks - and except for specific instances (jaws & jaw sizes) I always reach for my Strongholds or Talons. I find them more adaptable to most applications and the easiest to use and they hold very well. The chuck keys also turn much quicker and easier than all my others (Novas, Vicmarc, Axminster, Record or Grizzly knock-off). Some might say the tighter chucks are better manufactured or engineered....but I don't find that to be the case.
     
  18. John Simmons

    John Simmons

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  19. Forrest Forschmiedt

    Forrest Forschmiedt

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    I have a Nova G3 and a Nova precision, which is the one that uses the tommy bars. With my admittedly limited experience I would definitely say I like the G3 better. Mainly I like the drill chuck style tightener as opposed to the tommy bars but also, as I look at jaws and accessories, there are too many that say "not recommended for Precision chuck".
    I would by another G3 for the price. The three sets of jaws are nice to start with also.
     
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  20. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    Novas tighten bass ackwards to my way of thinking cause I grew up with "righty tighty, lefty loosey". Most normal people don't have a problem with that, it's not good or bad, it just is, and is something to be aware of. But for under 200 bucks I think that's a pretty good deal, also, those pin jaws look like they are just what you need for your rocket parts. Another thing about the Nova chucks as that most of their jaw sets fit most of their chucks... And one more thing to be aware of, I don't know anybody with just one chuck...:eek:
    As to the poor maligned Nova precision with the tommy bars, I have three and love them, contrary to popular belief, you don't need three hands and a small dog :D to chuck up a piece of wood...
     
  21. Tim Connell

    Tim Connell

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    I've got two of the Nova G3 chucks with several different jaw sets. No problem recommending them to anyone.

    The only thing I'll say about the set you linked at Rockler is to shop around. If those jaws are exactly what you want/need, it is probably a decent deal. Otherwise, you are paying for jaws you may not want. I think every G3 ive seen comes with a 50mm jaw set, and some offer different combos of jaws in a bundled deal. Shop around and you may find a much better deal.

    FYI, the Nova site lists all their available jaws and the max min blank that they can hold. Good reference to pick exactly what you need.
     
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  22. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    The thing about Nova chucks and jaws is that they are available at pretty much any store with a turning section. The advantage here is that when in the middle of a project you realize you need another jaw set there's a good chance you can pop out and buy them. And they have a very wide assortment for different tasks.

    The G3 is suitable to your current turning projects and lathe. The direction to turn the chuck key to achieve expansion or contraction is clearly labeled, and this has never been an issue to me.
     
  23. Timothy White

    Timothy White

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    Nova chucks were designed to expand into a dovetail, recess, rebate, mortise or whatever. In expansion mode Nova is righty tightly lefty loosey.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2020
  24. John Simmons

    John Simmons

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    Thanks for all the suggestions and advice. I ended up buying the Nova G3 Bundle.

    Used it for the first time today. Really happy with it, it appears it will work great for rocket parts.

    I'm finding that pine just isn't strong enough for the thin walled delicate parts I am making. So I tried some ash and it worked out so much better.

    Still having concentricity issues. I really need to build a better base for my lathe. The factory JET stand is just to flimsy.
     

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  25. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    Try some hard maple, I think I wouldnt splinter as much.
     
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  26. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    Thanks for the photos. It's fun to see the sequence even if I'm not going to make a rocket. It looks like the transition piece is the biggest challenge with the "front tenon (?)" at .07 or about 5/64ths. Doable with your setup. Even with your Jet base, it's not hard to adjust your centers before drilling. I think that is going to be key to dialing in your concentricity issues. Another thing you might add to the mix, is to turn a tenon on the piece of wood being chucked up in the chuck. Necessary? Maybe not, but when going precision, taking things to the nth degree is just stacking the deck in your favor. Not sure what your thoughts are/were on turning a mandrel but I think that's also a path to concentricity...
    Hope you don't mind my input, in woodturning, problem solving is 50% of the fun, 90% of the time, but I could be off by a factor of 10.
     
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  27. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    A mandrel mounted in a chuck or between centers mitigates the problem on both ends of the work piece. You can also make a stepped mandrel
    if you have two different inside diameters on either end of the work piece. Once mounted on the mandrel you can turn the outside diameter knowing
    it will run true in wall thickness when you turn the outer dimension. You just need to make sure your mandrel is straight and your tail-stock is aligned
    with your head stock. A dial indicator comes in handy when verifying these processes, we are talking rocket science after-all.
     
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  28. John Simmons

    John Simmons

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    Thanks Mike. How does the part being turned attach to the mandrel?
     
  29. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    John,

    Usually a slip fit where you might apply a layer of masking tape over the mandrel to snug the friction fit of the work piece onto the mandrel.
    You can also mist a little water into the inside of the wood cylinder which will expand the wood fibers to make it fit snugly on the mandrel.
    A wrap of masking tape on the opposite end of your work piece or a band clamp tightened over the wood will compress the work piece onto the mandrel.
    You could also cut a groove in the mandrel and place a proper sized O-ring in the groove which would provide a friction fit for the hollow work piece on the mandrel.
     
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  30. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    This is what happens when you never throw anything away... Found a mandrel I used years ago, and still had the top.
    I know you are not turning tops, but the idea's the same. Without bringing up the live center, everything stays aligned.
    A lot of roads to the same destination, you could turn bushings and use a pen turners mandrel, or, if you looked up duck call making, they use an expanding mandrel. Ring makers have their own style mandrel.
    This mandrel used a friction fit, once you drill your through hole in the part, the mandrel is turned to fit. Your part is turned with no live center support, so it can't be pushed out of alignment, and everything stays concentric. The tenon is important, make a good tenon. Sneak up on the fit, tape is a last resort. Sharp tools, clean cuts.
    Remember, it's a journey. This is "a" way, not "the" way...

    mandrel1.jpg mandrel2.jpg mandrel3.jpg
    Parts and pieces Tenon Assembled, with favorite chuck...
     
  31. John Simmons

    John Simmons

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    Thanks for taking the time to explain this..and Clifton, the photo's are great. Much appreciated.
     
  32. John Simmons

    John Simmons

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    Spent some time today making a mandrel and turned another transition..... worked like a charm.

    Thanks again.

    008.JPG 001.JPG 011.JPG 012.JPG 001A.JPG 002.JPG 003.JPG 020.JPG
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
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  33. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    That looks like success to me... The more you turn, the more you'll tweak things to fit your needs. You may even come up with something completely different, but this sure looks like a good start.
    When's launch time?
     
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  34. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    No one beats the tops that Jon Sauer makes : https://www.instagram.com/p/B9hm-mlDwid/?igshid=8kro5qrtiwuj.
     
  35. John Simmons

    John Simmons

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    Good question. This rocket is slated to ride a sled I have designed that runs on a wooden track.

    I still need to build the track.. and the sled.. and do some testing of the sled itself.

    It's a fun hobby, costs are pretty low the way I do it. For me the build is more fun than the launch.
     

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  36. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Delrin plastic can be turned on a wood lathe easily and will hold its shape, wood will change its shape from changes in humidity and temperature over time.
    Make sure you check the run-out on your wood mandrel each time you use it, you may need to mark the position on the chuck and the mandrel so it seats
    properly each time you use it. Aluminum or steel mandrels are the best materials if you plan on making multiple components from the mandrel, you will have
    repeatable success with the tolerance and accuracy of a metal mandrel.
     
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  37. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    For very high precision, consider using a collet. Beall makes some very good ones, but they are a expensive. But, like Vicmarc chucks, your grandkids will use them.
    And Beall even makes some internally expanding collets.
    I bought the Vicmarc shark jaws for my VM-120, and make my own collets. That works really well! And the advantage to this approach is that I don’t have to by new jaws every time I want a new size: I just make what I want.

    Good luck,
    Rich
     
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  38. John Simmons

    John Simmons

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    Thanks Mike! I did mark the jaw locations on the mandrel... then took it out, reinserted it and checked the run-out with a dial indicator. It's pretty arid where we live... cactus growing in the yard... hopefully that will help cut down on any warping... time will tell.
     

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  39. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    No reason to make a new lathe stand. To make your existing lathe stand much more rigid, simply cut some pieces of 1/2” plywood to match the outside end form of the legs, and across the back of the legs (behind the lathe). Screw the ply to the legs. Makes the base into a torsion box and dramatically increases the stiffness. Can add construction adhesive if desired but 3 screws per edge worked fine for years on a similarly designed lathe.
     
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