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Sticky bolts on chuck

Roger Wiegand

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So twice now I've had the bolts that hold the jaws on one of my Vicmarc chucks freeze solidly in place. The first time I managed to strip out the hex drive in the bolt trying to turn it and had to drill it out and re-tap the hole. Yesterday I had about four of them where I had to use the small equivalent of a breaker bar to loosten them. I'm not really capable of gorilla strength in putting them on, I just do it by hand with an allen wrench. There's no evidence of any corrosion.

Any suggestions? Do people use some sort of lubricant on them to prevent this? Having to budget an hour to wrestling with these bolts is a serious impediment to changing the jaws!

I did discover that you can buy a packet of 100 of the correct bolt from McMaster Carr for the price of one replacement set from other suppliers.
 
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I believe the screws get sticky from turning green wood....but whatever the reason they do get stuck. If after a turning session u remove the jaws each time u will need only 1 chuck instead of a chuck for each jaw set. Do not even let the jaws set overnight.
 
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Good machine thread and a tapered seat to boot. Oh, and no washers. When installing you should seat the bolts, then give just a bit of pressure. Even with that small amount of torque the bolts will 'pop' loose. Nothings wrong there, just know how to deal with it. You'll find that lubing the threads makes no difference.
 
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I have had the same experiences and I do not tighten them really at all, just good and snug. I came to the same conclusion that it was from turning the wet wood but still had no visible corrosion.
I just recently scraped the threads across a block of bees wax and only removed the screws once since using the bees wax but there was no issues in doing so.
 

Roger Wiegand

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I should say I went for multiple decades without having this problem, including one Vicmarc for the last ~15 years. This has occurred since I acquired additional chucks and larger jaws for the chuck in question. Never happened with my original Nova chuck. Green wood turned with all of them.
 
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Not sure why the jaw screws would suddenly start giving you problems. I do lube mine with paste wax, threads and shoulder, and I’m careful to only snug them up. It doesnt take much and they can be a b*tch to get out.
 
Joined
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One trick I was shown by a machinist was to take a flat punch larger enough to cover the hex hole in the screw and give it a couple of good hefty blows with hammer. This does two things m one is to flatten the burring around the hex hole (amazing how much this deforms with the constant in and out from the Allen key) and secondly it breaks the seal /freezing of the screw threads. Then before you put the screws back just dip the tips in some Copper-lube or similar stuff that prevents nuts and bolts from sticking.

Also make sure you have a good quality Allen key or hex wrench. And that it is the correct size, the difference between Metric and Imperial can be slight but enough to burr the hole.
 

Bill Boehme

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What Marc Banka said. The angle on the flat head screws is just slightly different than the countersink angle so that the outer edge of the screw head makes contact first. This provides the necessary breakout friction to keep the screw from vibrating loose and is the reason that you hear a snap as the screw breaks loose. If you want to lube the threads I suggest using Permatex copper-filled grease. That is what Oneway uses and what some turners mistake for rust because of the brown color. Don't overtighten the screws or there will be hell to pay getting them loose ... they are self-locking so a flick of the wrist should be sufficient tightening torque. When loosening the screws make sure that the hex key is fully inserted. If the hex key has worn rounded corners, grind the worn part away.
 
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For me that's the beauty of having multiple chucks, you never have to remove the jaws. I tighten the screws as tight as I can get them just to make sure they don't come loose as the jaws are not coming off any time soon.
 
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Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
What you need to do is break those screws free under power, and there is a tool that's designed to do just that......impact driver. For hex head screws, get a set of socket hex drivers. You strike it with a hammer, and it makes loosening stuck screws easy. Note: There are directions for use on the case of this photo.....

-----odie-----
81ETwFtvgpL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
 
Joined
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This is another reason why I use the Axminster brand chuck. I just crank out one set and crank in another set. With previous chucks I have had that problem. The Allen heads are not that deep and tend to distort over time. I would use new screws every so often as a pre-maintenance solution.
 

Roger Wiegand

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OK, Permatex anti-seize is on order!

My frequency of jaw changing is much lower than it used to be now that I have three bodies. I still have six sets of jaws that I use with some frequency though, so haven't quite reached the point where I never need to change them. It's an aspiration though.

After being unable to budge the first one with any hand tool I managed to round the socket with an impact driver. (The Wiha hex drives are remarkably tough, as are their screwdriver bits. I used to go through several bits from the Borg in a day, since getting the Wiha Phillips and Torx impact driver bits the only time I need to replace one is when I lose it.
 
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I suggest and application od Never-Seez every once in a while.
Got a small jar at a local manufacturer to lube shotgun choke inserts. My father said they used it on spark plugs on C-47s in the PTO. Caution- that grey stuff is impossible to get out of clothes. Ask my wife.
Aside- Liquid Wrench works wonders, too.
 

Randy Anderson

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Good tip. Just now took a few minutes to break loose the screws on my two Oneway talon chucks and a few screws took a good bit of force to snap loose but, got them all done. Snugged them back up but not as tight as I maybe would have before reading this. Will try and make a note to break them free once in a while to make sure. I almost never change jaws so not a regular event.
 
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One thing about hex head screws these days, is the proliferation of metrics. Most of us have two sets of tools, because of this. It's pretty easy to get the wrong tool, and be tempted to use it, if it seems to fit. This tends to be a particular problem with hex head screws, as it tends to distort the screws.

I guess the world is going to standardize, and metric measurements make a lot of sense.....but, in the mean time, there is a lot of confusion caused by having both metric and SAE in common use.

edit: Especially for us old guys! :D
 
Last edited:
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Could we please, please, pretty please just switch over to Torx?!. One set of wrenches the world over, they are much easier to seat and seat more securely than allan wrenches.

In fact sometimes I think I should spend some quality time with the McMaster-Carr catalogue and look for replacement Torx head fasteners.
 
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I am buying the Supernova2 pro-tek chuck and one of the new features is new screws for the chuck jaws.
- 6 point star head jaw screws for better holding power and quicker fastening
- T-handled 6 point wrench for faster jaw changes

I have a psi chuck now with the hex bolt/allen wrench set up everyone is talking about here so I will use some of these tips.
Thanks
 

Roger Wiegand

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Could we please, please, pretty please just switch over to Torx?!. One set of wrenches the world over, they are much easier to seat and seat more securely than allan wrenches.

In fact sometimes I think I should spend some quality time with the McMaster-Carr catalogue and look for replacement Torx head fasteners.
Here you go: https://www.mcmaster.com/90236A155/
 
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One thing about hex head screws these days, is the proliferation of metrics. Most of us have two sets of tools, because of this. It's pretty easy to get the wrong tool, and be tempted to use it, if it seems to fit. This tends to be a particular problem with hex head screws, as it tends to distort the screws.

I guess the world is going to standardize, and metric measurements make a lot of sense.....but, in the mean time, there is a lot of confusion caused by having both metric and SAE in common use.

edit: Especially for us old guys! :D
That boat sailed long ago. The world uses metric. The map shows the country that uses imperial. The USA, liberia and mynamer.
Every other country in the world is metric! FAFF3E21-031E-4773-9546-8F85985B2489.jpeg
 
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Nov 4, 2011
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Bay Settlement, WI
I use a product called "Vibra-Tite VC-3 Threadmate" on my chuck's machine screws. It is a threadlocker that does not harden, but stays soft so it is adjustable, removable, and reusable. You can find it on Amazon.
 
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Oct 25, 2020
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Minneapolis, MN

Thanks, Roger! I've never had an issue removing the screws from my chucks (they've been a bit on the stiff side a few times, but I stop at "snug", never "tight"), but my Talon goes back to it's introduction in the late '90s, and my big Vicmarc to 2001, so the screws are getting long in the tooth. These look like the perfect replacement, and no more sloppy Allen heads.
 
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