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Favorite chuck?

john lucas

AAW Forum Expert
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
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Vicmarc. I started with a Nova chuck. I've purchased a.couple of Vicmarc.copies. they dont hold up. By a Vicmarc you wont regret it. One reason I went with Vicmarc is the chuck key is a standard metric hex wrench. So it doesnt take a.special.key. if you lose it just go to the hardware and pick up another. I also love the dovetail.jaws. their jaw sizes also overlap so if uncut a tenon and it's a hair to big or small. Just change jaws.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2019
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Location
Bashaw, Alberta
I have 7 nova chucks and 1 record power. All interchangeable jaws. Not sure if I'd call them a favorite because they are all I know, but they certainly do the job and I see no need to move to anything else, plus they were what was available around here when I was getting started.have 2 g3, midi, 2 supernova, titan III, and record sc3. Most jaws are interchangeable except the jaws from to titan because they're too big.
Now is the time for you to make a change if your going away from the nova, I've got too much invested to bother now, and like I said I don't see a reason to.
 

Emiliano Achaval

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Currently using a Nova G3. It’s good....I hate changing jaws all the time.
Who has a favorite?
I have used just about every brand of chuck out there. By far my favorite is the Vicmarc. I own 4, had 5 but took one to a turning school in Argentina, and one Nova chuck.
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
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89
Location
Hamilton, New Zealand
I use the teknatool Supanova 2 I currently have two of them one of them has 100mm jaws and those jaws do not come off my other one has 50mm jaws I do change out the jaws on that chuck when I want to use the pin jaws or the 35mm bowl jaws but those jaw sets hardly ever get used.
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
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Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
Four Oneway Stronghold chucks here. I almost never change out jaws, but I do have all the jaw sets that were available for it about 25 years ago. I'm a big fan of the profiled jaws. These jaws, with their serrated gripping surfaces are unmatched by any other type of jaws for their gripping strength. Because they leave little indentations in twice turned bowl spigots, this feature makes it possible to perfectly match the jaws to their previous location for final turning, or preparation for mounting a waste block.

Back in the days prior to key operated chucks, all of the chucks that were available back then were operated with "tommy bars". I had a Technatool chuck and two sizes of Vicmarc chucks. The Vicmarcs are unquestionably very high precision chucks, and I might have kept these if it weren't for the tommy bars. The tommy bars required the use of a third hand, while the key operated chucks are much more user friendly. After I bought my first Stronghold key operated chuck, for convenience sake, I ended up buying three more, so that I wouldn't be continually changing jaws. These Stronghold chucks, with their profiled jaws, have been a perfect combination for me.

Now, if I were a new turner, I'd be very interested in the Easywood chuck with it's quick change jaws. However, having four Stronghold chucks overcome the the same inconveniences the Easywood chuck overcomes with the quick change jaw feature......although four of the Stronghold chucks are much more expensive than a single Easywood chuck, overall. :(

-----odie-----
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2006
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Erie, PA
I have about 40 chucks right now with about half of them being Nova chucks. Oneway, Vicmarc, Bulldog and Axminster are the rest. For me there is not one of them that is better than the others. They all do their job quite well and I have no favorites. I choose a chuck for what jaws are on it and what size chuck for the job. I just bought another Nova and a Woodriver chuck on this site and have to clean them up. The Woodriver chuck is a tommy bar chuck with a Woodriver insert (that Woodriver insert fit the Nova chucks but caused a lot of problems with the Novas). I threw it on the lathe and checked it out with a dial indicator and it runs dead nuts, looks like it is fairly well made and I guess when used with the insert made for it that is what is supposed to happen. There are other chucks out there that I haven't tried but I'm sure they are fine too. For me it is this, just because one chuck costs twice what another does does not make it better. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
 

Roger Wiegand

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Nov 27, 2018
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I currently have three Vicmarcs, formerly one Nova with the Tommy bars, I've used several others in classes and demos. Many of them work very well. With three, my jaw-changing dance is beginning to be less of an issue, I got some hex drives that fit my cordless impact driver, that makes swapping jaws much quicker.

I prefer the Vicmarc because of the hex drive for tightening the jaws. I've never gotten on well with drill chuck key type wrenches, it seems that they are designed not to stay engaged. As a consequence I've replaced all the keyed chucks on all of my various drills and wouldn't want to add one on my lathe. (Finally considering throwing out the box of chuck keys I have!)

I have also used chucks that I would definitely consider to be bad. Uneven jaw pressure, sloppy machining, don't stay tight, jaws that don't grip, runout, etc. All were from among the bargain brands.
 
Joined
Jul 10, 2017
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Windermere, British Columbia
There is only two in my mind. Oneway and vicmarcs. Both awesome. I do favour the vicmarcs. I don’t know why but I do. Maybe it’s because I have jaws that I use the most in the vicmarcs. The Oneway is machined just as good if not better.
 

brian horais

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I really like the Record Power series of chucks. Very solidly made with an extensive variety of jaws. And the big feature I really like is that you tighten the jaws the correct way (i.e. 'righty-tighty'). Also, I understand that the Nova jaws fit on the Record Power chucks, in case you are thinking of trying it. Find a friend with a Record Power chuck and verify this first.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
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Location
Lebanon, Missouri
I have PSI Barracuda, Nova G3, and Oneway Stronghold. Oneway is the best of these - would trade the G3 for a Talon for midsize. Agree with Odie about the profiled jaws - have the #2 and #3 tower jaws that allow better access to the bottom of a form, as well as long tenons for hollowing end grain. The Barracudas are very good except for the jaw bevel drive - the mesh angle is wrong. I still use a small one, no other mfr makes one that had the right jaws for me.

Chucks as well as jaws should be sized to the work. Making small ornaments etc can be done with a SH, but a little 2-1/2” chuck makes it easier.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
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Location
TN
Researched chucks 25yrs ago before I bought my first Stronghold. Since then I’ve added another Stronghold for dedicated Cole jaws, a Talon (use most), Nova G3 (came with midi) and recently Craft Supplies mini-Chuck. Also have several jaws for the Strongholds that I rarely change out (#1 pin - useful for ornaments etc, #3 deep - use for coring large green bowls, etc).

Oneway chucks work well, and hold great. They also have MUCH more adjustment range that the G3.

Common wisdom is to size the tenon near the minimum size the Chuck holds so that it’s near round and has most holding power. With the Oneway serrated teeth the weak point of the hold is not the chuck-to-tenon interface, but the strength and integrity of the wood in the tenon. Consequently I’ll make tenons much larger than minimum on soft woods, large bowls, etc. I’ve never had a failure of the Chuck failing to hold, but I have had tenons come apart.
 
Joined
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Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
Craft Supplies mini-Chuck

I just tried to take a look at the mini-chuck, but couldn't find it......is there other wording that would help to take a look at this chuck?

Thanks. :D

-----odie-----
 
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
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Location
Bay Settlement, WI
I have 5 Nova chucks ... 2 G3's, 2 Infinities, and a Titan II. For the two Infinities, I have 8 jaw sets. I have never had an issue with any of the Nova chucks.
 
Joined
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Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
I've never gotten on well with drill chuck key type wrenches, it seems that they are designed not to stay engaged.

You are not the only one, Roger! :) I've previously heard from others that they were having trouble with the chuck keys for those chucks that use them. I'm not 100% sure why I've never had an issue with the chuck keys on my Stronghold chucks, but I suspect it's because I have made up a couple platforms, or cradles, or whatever the heck you call them. It does require the slightest amount of inward pressure to keep them engaged, and the platforms make that a very easy thing to do. Since this photo, I've modified one of the platforms to hang over the edge of my shop bench. This modification makes the chuck adjustment a one-handed operation, whereas in the pic, it does require two hands.

-----odie-----
Image016.JPG
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
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614
Location
Ponsford, MN
The first chuck I bought was a Nova mainly because it was the only one available at the time, however it does the job the main problem with it is the tommy bar holes deform. The second chuck I bought was a Strong hold and that was because it was the only one available with a 1 1/2-8 insert, but have since bought a 1 1/4-8 insert for it. The next one was a talon to use on my mini lathe and the third is a Strong hold body only with a 1 1/4-8 insert. The One Way chucks all work good for me and I especially like the profile jaws for their versatility that includes being able to chuck a square piece without turning a tenon.
The other chuck I recently purchased used is a PSI ultra mini ( about a 2" diameter body) but it has definite quality problems like the tommy bars bend or break off and the scroll is so poorly machined that it jams up. The chuck does come in handy due to it's small size but I would not pay the new price for it.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2004
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Colorado Springs, CO
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yoyospin.com
I started off with Nova, and then Super-Nova chucks, but my all-time favorite is the hard to find British made Axminster stainless steel Evolution. The Axminster jaw sets are particularly useful for my applications, with pronounced dovetails and deep recesses.
4d9bbbe4335f1a53345aeb7750a5a7e2.jpg
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
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Eugene, OR
Only problem I ever had with my Vicmark chucks was the plastic T handle breaking off after years of use. I bought some loop T handled hex wrenches. My oldest set has a very slight twist to the handle. Only chucks I have ever used.

I think the jury is still out on the Easywood chucks. Sounds like a good idea though. Might have to buy a couple just to see... I don't have much need to change jaws though.

robo hippy
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
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Grottoes, VA
I think the jury is still out on the Easywood chucks. Sounds like a good idea though. Might have to buy a couple just to see... I don't have much need to change jaws though.
robo hippy

I recently bought a Easy Chuck with several jaw sets. I really like the ease of changing jaws. Built well and supports the wood well. I am having to get used to putting a dovetail on my tenons as used the Nova G3 before. I’d recommend the Easy Chuck but I’m kind of a newbie and haven’t tried a lot of different chucks. I just know I hated changing jaws on the Nova but is a breeze on the Easy.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
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Odie - it’s the Apprentice Mini Chuck at Craft Supplies. Only used it a couple times so far. It’s not a Oneway, but for ornaments and small things I expect I’ll like it.
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Messages
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Location
Sebastopol, California
I have several of the Supernova 2s, because they are good quality for a good price. Whatever you get, you then need to use their jaw line - they all have similar options available at this point. Most of what I turn is easily handled by the Supernovas with a range of jaw sizes. I picked up a Vicmarc 120 used and it is a great unit - really strong, with beefier jaws, and especially nice, a big excursion so you can use one jaw set across a pretty wide range of widths. That being said, I found the weak spot. It doesn't have a set screw to lock it in place, and I have had a couple of overly exciting moments with the chuck unwinding itself while finishing the base or sanding with cole jaws. I have learned to be SUPER careful now about slowing down/stopping the lathe during this phase. Not sure if Vicmark has updated the chucks to include a set screw, but it's a good thing to be mindful of. Judging from the comments here, I would say you can't go wrong with the name brands - just be prepared to live within a single jaw family.
 

John Jordan

AAW Advisor
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
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Cane Ridge (Nashville), TN
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www.johnjordanwoodturning.com
I still use the original Oneway Stronghold-one of the first dozen they made. I get to use them all when I travel and teach, and have always liked the Vicmark. I was recently sent The new Axminster chuck, and I have to say I think its the nicest I have seen. Stainless steel with a completely closed body, and a square drive key like a metalworking chuck. Its without a doubt the nicest looking I've seen, beautifully machined and polished.I'll post some pictures one day soon. Haven't used it much yet, but seems great. Don't know about price, I suspect its commensurate with the quality.

John
 
Joined
Jun 29, 2017
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Jasper, Alabama
Been using regular Nova's and Suppernovas since I started turning bowls. I'm looking at a Vicmarc 120 to purchase or a One Way chuck.
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Messages
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Location
Lummi Island, WA
I started out with Oneway chucks and now have three Talons and three strongholds and one very old tommy bar version that shares the talon jaws. Mostly use their dovetail jaws on all, but occasionally use the profile jaws and the tower jaws - I prefer the dovetailed jaws for most work. The oneways have held together with no wear or problems for two decades now, doubt that I’ll need to buy anything else.
I do use the tommy bar chuck a lot for smaller things - lock the spindle and you just need one hand...nice for finials and knobs. I have a set of Oneway slides for the strongholds that accept vicmark jaws (they used to make these, but I think they’re long gone) and use them often for roughing mostly. I have one stronghold setup with these slides to use a couple of sets of vicmark jaws.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2015
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Location
Hot Springs, AR
I have three Nova Infinity chucks with 7 sets of jaws. Love the 5 second, tool-less jaw changes. Have never had anything come off the chuck. Sorry to see they discontinued them, but lucky I could snare three of them and a full set of jaws before they did.
 

Bill Boehme

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I guess it's my turn. I like both Oneway and Vicmarc chucks. I have two Stronghold chucks and five or six Talons. I really like the premium profiled jaws with their ability to solidly hold a wide range of tenon sizes without marring them. I also have one set of dovetail jaws for the Stronghold. I have Jumbo jaws for the Talon. Vicmarc chucks consists of two VM120's and a VM100. I have the full range of dovetail jaw sizes for the VM120 chucks plus the largest size Bowl jaws.

I don't like the Vicmarc serrated jaws. The dovetail jaws can't be beat for solid repeatable holding at the perfect circle diameter. I don't like the fact that dovetail jaws dig into a tenon for tenon diameters larger than the jaws perfect circle. Most of the time I use Talon chucks.
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2016
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Haubstadt, Indiana
I had Nova and Record chucks, but have since converted to the Axminister brand. I have three Axminister chucks, one Sk114 Eveloution and two SK100 clubman. The SK114 is my favorite. The body on the Axminister is stainless steel. I can change jaws between between the SK114 and SK100. You just crank one set out and another set in, no screws to mess with. Axminister also has the O’Donnell jaws that no other mfg. offers. Axminister chucks are direct thread and that reduces the possibility of runout. I also have a Hurricane HTC125 chuck. I like that chuck and use it often, but didn’t want to get into the buying a chuck because I didn’t like changing jaws. That chuck uses a taper insert that I feel is better than a threaded insert.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
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Gahanna, OH
I have been happy with Nova. Started with a G3, selling it today because it was threaded at 1" 8tpi, now have 2 Supernova chucks with 50 and 100mm jaws for my Nova 1624-44 lathe with 1 1/4 8tpi. The Supernova is significantly heavier than the G3, with a safer feel swinging 14 and 15" blanks. I agree with those liking hex keys, partly because for returning bowls i can open the 100mm jaws into a shallow tenon inside the bowl using the articulated hex key.
 

john lucas

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Apr 26, 2004
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I have vicmarc.chucks. I turn in reverse for some things and occasionally sand in reverse. I've turned up to 20 inches using my VM 100 chucks. I put the chuck on finger tight and then take the chuck key and snug it up since i started doing that I've never had the chuck come loose. No set screws needed.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
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Location
Hillsborough, NJ
I have vicmarc.chucks. I turn in reverse for some things and occasionally sand in reverse. I've turned up to 20 inches using my VM 100 chucks. I put the chuck on finger tight and then take the chuck key and snug it up since i started doing that I've never had the chuck come loose. No set screws needed.
I agree with John, and I often sand in reverse. My old lathe doesn't have a flat on the spindle for a set-screw so if I used one it might mess up the threads on the spindle. I have 1 or 2 chucks with set screws ... I removed the screws.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
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Currently using a Nova G3. It’s good....I hate changing jaws all the time.
Who has a favorite?
Ask 10 turners and you will get 12 answers! :) You will get used to whatever you have. I have ten 4-jaw chucks. I started with the original Technatool (Nova) with tommy bars about 30 years ago and also have a Super Nova (with reverse tightening :(). Two Oneway Strongholds and two Talons - Vicmarc 120 - Axminster Evolution SK114 - Record SC3 - and Grizzly (Vicmarc knock-off). All have different types & sizes of jaws. For most turning I mostly reach for the Oneways with the Profiled Jaws.....maybe because I've used those the longest - but they work very well.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
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New City, NY
I own a stronghold, talon, original Axminster, Vicmarc 150, Beale ER32 collet chuck, and a Vicmarc 120 purchased in that order over the past 20 years. I feel my Axminster is the best quality because my model is actually a metal lathe chuck. For this chuck, I own the Odonnel jaws, step jaws, and turnable set which I made into a 3-inch dovetail jaw. However, the tolerances it offers are not needed in woodturning. So I wouldn't buy it for that.

I think it's really about the Jaws that are offered by the manufacturer and the type of work you do that will cause one to favor one chuck over the other.
I do a lot of big work, so the giant 9" Vicmarc dovetail jaws see a lot of action. So my go-to line is usually Vicmarc. That is not to slight my stronghold which sees a lot of use as well. I think the oneway Flatjaws are a very important piece of my arsenal. They have been my secret weapon at times. I am surprised when I discovered that so few people own them.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 3, 2020
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Carbondale, CO
Four Oneway Stronghold chucks here. I almost never change out jaws, but I do have all the jaw sets that were available for it about 25 years ago. I'm a big fan of the profiled jaws. These jaws, with their serrated gripping surfaces are unmatched by any other type of jaws for their gripping strength. Because they leave little indentations in twice turned bowl spigots, this feature makes it possible to perfectly match the jaws to their previous location for final turning, or preparation for mounting a waste block.

Back in the days prior to key operated chucks, all of the chucks that were available back then were operated with "tommy bars". I had a Technatool chuck and two sizes of Vicmarc chucks. The Vicmarcs are unquestionably very high precision chucks, and I might have kept these if it weren't for the tommy bars. The tommy bars required the use of a third hand, while the key operated chucks are much more user friendly. After I bought my first Stronghold key operated chuck, for convenience sake, I ended up buying three more, so that I wouldn't be continually changing jaws. These Stronghold chucks, with their profiled jaws, have been a perfect combination for me.

Now, if I were a new turner, I'd be very interested in the Easywood chuck with it's quick change jaws. However, having four Stronghold chucks overcome the the same inconveniences the Easywood chuck overcomes with the quick change jaw feature......although four of the Stronghold chucks are much more expensive than a single Easywood chuck, overall. :(

-----odie-----
Thank you, I will look into the easywood option.
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2020
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Location
Carbondale, CO
I recently bought a Easy Chuck with several jaw sets. I really like the ease of changing jaws. Built well and supports the wood well. I am having to get used to putting a dovetail on my tenons as used the Nova G3 before. I’d recommend the Easy Chuck but I’m kind of a newbie and haven’t tried a lot of different chucks. I just know I hated changing jaws on the Nova but is a breeze on the Easy.
Yes, I also hate changing jaws on the Nova.....that’s why I’m asking! ;)
 
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