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Jacobs Chuck Choice

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Noob here again.

I am finding Jacob's chucks and #2 tapers from $35 to well over $100. What do I really need? Do I need a 1/2" chuck or will a 3/8" suffice? I am not seeing the value in the expensive chucks. Is there something I am missing? (Note: I like key-less chucks, but I am no so lazy or think that I will be changing bits so often that I am willing to pay a bunch extra for key-less.)

Any suggestions?

Again, thanks in advance,
Andrew
 
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It would help the forum members respond if you indicated what you intend to do with the jacobs chuck.
Initially, I see myself using it with Forstner bits (perhaps 2" max) to make small boxes. I can also see using it for making pens. But I don't know what I don't know. I am not sure for what other applications it might be commonly used; hence my open ended question.

Thanks.
 

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If you are looking to get a Jacobs chuck to do things like hold a drill in the tailstock, then any will do as long as it fits the bits you expect to use.
I would suggest that you get one with a threaded hole in the end of the Morse taper to accept a draw-bar. If you end up using the chuck in the headstock, like for holding a sanding disk or something, where it gets side-pressure it will come loose without a draw bar (a draw bar is easy to make with some threaded rod). I have 2 Jacobs chucks because the first one I got didn't accept a draw bar, so had to buy a second.
 
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I would suggest that you get one with a threaded hole in the end of the Morse taper to accept a draw-bar. If you end up using the chuck in the headstock, like for holding a sanding disk or something, where it gets side-pressure it will come loose without a draw bar (a draw bar is easy to make with some threaded rod).
Thank you. I had seen the descriptions indicating that the taper would accept a draw bar, but I am enough of a noob that I did not know the purpose of the draw bar. I still do not know what one for a wood lathe looks like or how it is constructed. What I am finding in searches does not seem to fit what you describe. Can you point me to something that would clarify this for me?
 

Dave Landers

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the taper would accept a draw bar, but I am enough of a noob that I did not know the purpose of the draw bar. I still do not know what one for a wood lathe looks like or how it is constructed. What I am finding in searches does not seem to fit what you describe. Can you point me to something that would clarify this for me?
Here's a couple thousand words:

1570D90D-0BD8-447F-8346-007F9FD539A9_1_105_c.jpeg170D1623-4AAC-4BF4-91DD-A6948D8088FC_1_105_c.jpeg
Draw bar goes thru the headstock to hold the Morse taper in place in the spindle - keep it from working its way loose.
Home-made with a threaded rod, a fender washer, nut(s), and a homemade handle epoxied in the end. Rod is cut to whatever length works for the lathe spindle and Jacobs chuck.
 
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Thanks guys. The pictures certainly help. But I am left wondering how this would work on my lathe. So, I have a taper with a threaded rod attached, coming through the headstock to the other side where I have something made to hold the end tight against the hand wheel to hold the taper/chuck tight in the headstock spindle. Right? But on the side opposite the chuck, I do not have a hand wheel that I have seen on other lathes. I have an plastic orange cover over the pulley. Plus, the center of the pulley is threaded. (I have not measured, but it looks to be about 1/2".) Do I need a taper that has the same threads as the pulley? Do I go with a threaded rod that is smaller than the threaded hole in the pulley? I am a bit perplexed as to what I should do here.

Thanks again,
Andrew

Headstock.jpg
 
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Most of the time you’re using the chuck in your lathe it’ll be in the tail stock. Drilling into turnings, boxes, pen blanks, etc. There, if you need to secure it with a draw bar, it’ll snug up against the hand wheel, but won’t be spinning. That’s the work’s job. Takes a moment to get used to, as when not turning, you’ve always had your work stationary and your bit spinning.
 
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NO. I got the same lathe.. Your spindle taper will be a #2 Morse taper (MT2) , those threads might be used to add on your own handwheel or accessories... However as you may find when you go to change your drive center, your knockout rod goes right through that hole.. if you want to use a drawbar, you'd find some all thread rod that passes all the way through those threads (and if you use the existing threads to make a handwheel your handwheel bolt will have to be hollow or you'd have to remove handwheel any time you want to knockout your drive center)
 
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Hmmm. Maybe I misunderstood. I can understand using it on the tailstock to hold the taper tight and keep the assembly from spinning. But will I ever use the chuck on the headstock and thus need a drawbar?
 
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Hmmm. Maybe I misunderstood. I can understand using it on the tailstock to hold the taper tight and keep the assembly from spinning. But will I ever use the chuck on the headstock and thus need a drawbar?
Depends on what you plan on doing.. there's times it can be handy to be able to chuck up something in the headstock.. A Jacobs chuck might serve as pin jaws for some turnings .. you might want to use it to drill (bore) a hole down a long tube or something... or you might want to mount a drum sander.. All sorts of possible uses.. But no you don't really NEED to .. but if you ever do want to mount your jacobs in headstock, you probably will want a drawbar, so it's always nice to have that option for your MT2 taper (especially if your taper is separately threaded, so jacobs chuck is then replaceable as well) ... So I'd recommend getting one (if you can afford it) with the capability to add a drawbar... It is also nice to have drawbar even if you are using it only in tailstock - especially if you are drilling (and the HF lathe tailstock does not have much of a "range", so to drill deeper holes, you often have to back up and re-position tailstock.. and doing that, frequently the jacobs comes loose and then you have to shut off lathe, pull tthe jacobs and drill bit out, and snug it back in again and start over!) So, yeah I'd say you'd be better off getting the Morse Taper with capability to add a drawbar to it... (and replaceable jacobs chuck.. so if your chuck suffers damage, you can replace it) Matter of fact, MT2 taper is also a common size for drill presses - so you might even (if lucky) find a use drill press somewhere (or a junked one for free at the junkyard) and knock out the chuck and spindle.. if it's MT2 taper, you got a free jacobs chuck for your lathe!
 

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Doesn't look to me like you'll ever use a drawbar on that lathe. There's no hand wheel or anything like that I can see where the draw bar would sit on the outboard side of the spindle.

But, as Brian mentioned and I'd recommend - get a drawbar-capable Jacobs chuck because it's just more useful in general.
 
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Excellent guys. Well explained. I believe I now have a clue and can pick out an appropriate taper for a Jacob's chuck. Now to do some shopping.

Thank you!
 
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Doesn't look to me like you'll ever use a drawbar on that lathe. There's no hand wheel or anything like that I can see where the draw bar would sit on the outboard side of the spindle.

But, as Brian mentioned and I'd recommend - get a drawbar-capable Jacobs chuck because it's just more useful in general.
Yeah with the orange plastic plug (to keep fingers out) removed, there is enough room to fit in a drawbar bolt or all thread rod with a flat washer.. I was thinking about making a home made handwheel for mine, but then I noticed I hardly ever would use it anyway (there's 2 flats for a spanner on the inboard of the threads on the drive side, so I just use the spanner when I need to hold something steady - HF lathe does not have any indexing) The view in his photo above is just the outboard side of the drive spindle, (and one of the reeves drive pulleys sits on that) nothing really complex about it at all, but could have a drawbar run through, no problem... but I myself just never saw any use for it (so far, yet) although I can think of a few situations it might be nice, I just haven't gotten to those yet.. :)
 
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...but could have a drawbar run through, no problem...
I was thinking the same, but right now I cannot think of a use for it that wouldn't be better performed by other tools I already have. If I wanted to run a buffing wheel or sanding disk off the lathe then it seems it would be better done using the threads I showed in the image to place it on the outboard side of the headstock. It would be much more secure than clamping it in a Jacob's chuck. But I'm a long way from those type of modifications.
 
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I was thinking the same, but right now I cannot think of a use for it that wouldn't be better performed by other tools I already have. If I wanted to run a buffing wheel or sanding disk off the lathe then it seems it would be better done using the threads I showed in the image to place it on the outboard side of the headstock. It would be much more secure than clamping it in a Jacob's chuck. But I'm a long way from those type of modifications.
Would have to make sure of the threads first.. I never looked further on mine, but if they are right hand thread, probably won't work for that - soon as you apply anything to the wheel, it can just spin the threads loose again..
 
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Pens are generally turned on pen mandrels, if I understand correctly, and not something held in a Jacobs chuck. The mandrel should be more accurate, unless you get a really good Jacobs chuck.

When I make a box, I hollow it out by hand and only use a hand held drill bit to set the depth to hollow. Using a giant Forstner bit works, but the fun of woodturning to me, is woodturning, rather than drilling. A 2" Forstner bit would need a pretty strong motor and might be tough for a Morse taper to hold just with friction. Others on the forum do more drilling of this sort and could advise. In my experience, a Jacobs chuck hasn't been as frequently used as my common sense told me before I bought one.
 
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NO problems here, Ive used all sorts of drill bits from forstner to plain old HSS bits anywhere from 1/4 inch up to 2-1/8" (biggest forstner I have) .. the HF lathe handles it pretty well - although you make the point about accuracy- just the way the HF lathe is built, it is far from any sort of precision , but one can work with it.. A few things to keep in mind however - you need to go very slowly (bigger the drill, the slower you go) and very frequently have to back all the way out (or as far as the short reach of the HF tailstock lets you) to clear cuttings and chips (about every 1/2 to 3/4 inch or so at least.. you get a feel for it when the flutes fill up and can't clear any more..) if not, they do like to jam the bit in the wood (any lathe would- it's more to do with the drill bit's ability or lack thereof to clear the drilled chips) Also, work as slowly as possible and allow time for drill bits to cool off - they can become very hot very quick.. more so , surprisingly, in green wood... (and the heat causes steam and expanding wood fibers, making the bit stick even tighter), So.. be VERY watchful about grabbing or feeling the bit.. often they don't show any outward signs of being hot until you accidentally touch them (ask me how I know!) .. sometimes waxing the bit often with paste wax (bear in mind your plans for finishing though) can offer added lubrication.. (apply with a paper towel! Hot bit will will make hot wax very quickly!) Plan on not having your holes perfectly centered on an HF lathe - even brand new ones have a bit of runout which may vary from almost invisible, to "send it back and get a new one" out of whack.. (according to what I have read) But if you pre-drill a bit of a pilot before turning it on (use the little dimple from live center) they'll tend to go in nice and straight.. though tailstock when not locked down can wobble like mad... also I recently found when drilling bigger holes, it goes much faster if you drill by "sizing up" - start with smaller bit, then jump up a few sizes at a time (forstner bits are hard to do that with, but I have managed.. just have to hold bit steady and be sure of your work piece being very secure and running perfectly true, and work very slowly.. much like trying to start an unsupported cut before you get a little ledge for the bevel... very very light, delicate movement needed.... )
 
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Thank you everyone. I have a 1/2" chuck on order. It will accept a drawbar.

I am planning to have more of my shop setup complete today, so I can turn on the lathe and see how it works. The previous owner did not complain of runout. We shall see.
 
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To ensure a new chuck with a Morse taper, or even an older, well-used, chuck will be up to the task, checking contact points might be a good idea.
  • Coat the chuck's shaft with layout ink then slip it into place
  • Remove the chuck and see where the ink has been scraped off - there should be at least two points of contact (bare metal showing where the fluid has been removed by good contact with the internal shaft) around the circumference of the shaft. If not, it will not run true, will slip, and/or have other problems sooner or later. Often sooner.
  • Wipe off excess layout ink
  • Repeat the process for the tail stock if it, too, has a Morse taper to accept those accessories.
In a perfect world a drawbar should not be necessary, but if one is needed be careful when putting tension on the assembly - there should be just enough to keep the chuck in place. It won't take much tension to lock the chuck in place almost forever.
 
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Update regarding the threading on the outboard side of the headstock spindle.

It is 1/2" - 12 TPI Left Hand Threading. The odd threading is the original British Standard Whitworth dimension, which since it is long obsolete it makes it tough to find. From what I can find Jet made a handwheel for the JWL-1236, which is essentially the same lathe as the Harbor Freight 34706. I'm having a hard time identifying the correct repair/replacement part, so I've written Jet and asked. I've failed to find any threaded rods or bolts. I've written a couple of manufacturers. Only one has responded. They do not make that threading. I have found a die I can purchase. Depending upon how Jet responds buying the die and a steal dowel may be the only option.

With a threaded rod one might be able to connect something like a rotisserie motor to drive the spindle at the slower speeds useful for finishing.
 
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Update regarding the threading on the outboard side of the headstock spindle.

It is 1/2" - 12 TPI Left Hand Threading. The odd threading is the original British Standard Whitworth dimension, which since it is long obsolete it makes it tough to find. From what I can find Jet made a handwheel for the JWL-1236, which is essentially the same lathe as the Harbor Freight 34706. I'm having a hard time identifying the correct repair/replacement part, so I've written Jet and asked. I've failed to find any threaded rods or bolts. I've written a couple of manufacturers. Only one has responded. They do not make that threading. I have found a die I can purchase. Depending upon how Jet responds buying the die and a steal dowel may be the only option.

With a threaded rod one might be able to connect something like a rotisserie motor to drive the spindle at the slower speeds useful for finishing.
Not sure I understand what you referring to. If you want a drawbar for your MT2 Jacobs chuck the 1/2"x12tpi (most likely a 3/8"x16tpi threaded rod) doesn't matter. You want it to go through the threaded part of your spindle - and it should. You might have to turn a small piece (cone shape ?- to center the all-thread in your spindle) and you can use a T-nut in a turned "handle" to tighten the drawbar.
 
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Not sure I understand...
Thanks Tom. The matter of the headstock spindle hole and threading came up regarding a drawbar. But that has been resolved. (Although thank you for your input.) Then we were discussing being able to add ancillary equipment (such as a handwheel) if we knew the spindle threading on the outboard side of the headstock. My update was only regarding that last matter.

- Andrew
 
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This is a follow-up to the side discussion about using the outboard side of the headstock. Jet never got back to me, so I searched for, found, and ordered the 1/2" 12TPI BSW LEFT HAND THREAD DIE. I picked up a piece of 1/2" bar stock at Lowe's, threaded it, turned a little grip from a 2 by 2, drilled the center, and glued in the threaded bar stock. I can now easily manually rotate items for lateral sanding between grits. Since I didn't thread it very deep, it removes quite easily. It was kind of expensive getting the die, but it has proven to be very much worth it.
 

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I can only speculate they are still finding it cheaper to use working old equipment and tooling than it would be to incur the experience of modernizing.
 
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Typically a drill chuck held in the tailstock is used to drill something spinning that's held in the headstock. Drill stationary, work piece spinning.

But, turn everything around with the drill chuck spinning in the headstock and the work pushed by the tailstock. This way your lathe is more like a drill press. In this setup you can drill work that's far too large to spin, like cross holes in a long dowel. A crotch center is used in that case (Google on "crotch center).

A draw bar is usually not needed with a drill chuck in the headstock unless in usage force might be applied that could pull the Morse taper loose, like using a buffing wheel, etc.

And, in the long run you'll never regret buying a quality drill chuck. Ever notice how the shanks of old drills are many times chewed up from slipping in the jaws of an inexpensive drill chuck?
 
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Forgot to mention in my previous post...if you buy a Morse taper shank for your drill chuck that accepts a threaded draw bar you may not be able to use that shank in your tailstock. The draw bar shanks are shorter and don't have the tang on the end that ejects the shank when the tailstock wheel is screwed all the way back.
 

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But, turn everything around with the drill chuck spinning in the headstock and the work pushed by the tailstock. This way your lathe is more like a drill press. In this setup you can drill work that's far too large to spin, like cross holes in a long dowel. A crotch center is used in that case (Google on "crotch center).
this is any easy way to drill lathe tool handle. after turning between centers I put the spur drive in the tailstock to keep the handle from spinning. Crank it onto the spinning spur bit and get a straight in line hole.
 

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this is any easy way to drill lathe tool handle. after turning between centers I put the spur drive in the tailstock to keep the handle from spinning. Crank it onto the spinning spur bit and get a straight in line hole.
I wonder what is the biggest Jacobs chuck for the tailstock? I just got a 1/2 in Forstner bit extension. I'm taking it to my machinist friend to have him make a 2MT adapter. Maybe a Jacobs might be cheaper.
 
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Just to clarify, Jacobs is a brand name that like Kleenex has come to be used ubiquitously. So you can buy a jacobs style chuck cheaply enough, but a Jacobs chuck is going to cost you some money. :cool:

You can often get a chuck with different Morse tapers, so you should be able to get a MT2.

I'm not sure what you meant by a "1/2 inch extension", but a 1/2" chuck can grasp a 1/2" shank. However, it won't be a very strong hold and if you're trying to drive a big Forstner bit, the bit may spin in the chuck. A 3/4" chuck will hold better, but may not close down enough to hold small twist drill bits.
 
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Just to clarify, Jacobs is a brand name that like Kleenex has come to be used ubiquitously. So you can buy a jacobs style chuck cheaply enough, but a Jacobs chuck is going to cost you some money. :cool:

You can often get a chuck with different Morse tapers, so you should be able to get a MT2.

I'm not sure what you meant by a "1/2 inch extension", but a 1/2" chuck can grasp a 1/2" shank. However, it won't be a very strong hold and if you're trying to drive a big Forstner bit, the bit may spin in the chuck. A 3/4" chuck will hold better, but may not close down enough to hold small twist drill bits.
Yep. I got an off-brand 1/2" Jacob's chuck. It's pretty robust. All the Forstner bits I possess have a 1/2" shank. The largest bit I have is 2". The chuck will hold it securely, but Ihave to really tighten it down. I suspect when I eventually pick up a 3" or larger bit then I'll need to get a 3/4" chuck.
Thanks
Andrew
 

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Just to clarify, Jacobs is a brand name that like Kleenex has come to be used ubiquitously. So you can buy a jacobs style chuck cheaply enough, but a Jacobs chuck is going to cost you some money. :cool:

You can often get a chuck with different Morse tapers, so you should be able to get a MT2.

I'm not sure what you meant by a "1/2 inch extension", but a 1/2" chuck can grasp a 1/2" shank. However, it won't be a very strong hold and if you're trying to drive a big Forstner bit, the bit may spin in the chuck. A 3/4" chuck will hold better, but may not close down enough to hold small twist drill bits.
Well, yes, a 1/2 in shank extension Mark. I'm going to be looking for the 3/4. And I always go for the Brand name. It pays off in the long run.
 

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Just to clarify, Jacobs is a brand name that like Kleenex has come to be used ubiquitously. So you can buy a jacobs style chuck cheaply enough, but a Jacobs chuck is going to cost you some money. :cool:

You can often get a chuck with different Morse tapers, so you should be able to get a MT2.

I'm not sure what you meant by a "1/2 inch extension", but a 1/2" chuck can grasp a 1/2" shank. However, it won't be a very strong hold and if you're trying to drive a big Forstner bit, the bit may spin in the chuck. A 3/4" chuck will hold better, but may not close down enough to hold small twist drill bits.
Mark, I'm having a hard time finding a Jacobs chuck bigger than 1/2 in. If you have some time, maybe you can tell me where is a good place to buy one. I found a few on Ebay, I think, LOL, but the big one have a #3MT. I'm not opposed to other brands if they are good. Thank you and Aloha
 
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I'm headed back to Chicago from St. Paul, MN so I can't search easily right now.

I bought my chuck from Zoro.com, but I looked into chucks at various sites. At thi$ level the Morse taper component (I think it is called the spindle arbor) is separate from the chuck body and can be purchased separately. The spindle is connected to the body by a different type of taper, usually a J33. So one should be able to buy a chuck with different size MTs. But maybe a 3/4" chuck is too big for an MT2?
 
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@Emiliano Achaval I correct myself, the part which fits into the chuck body is called the arbor and it is sold separately. The "J" taper is a Jacobs taper, so perhaps that is what makes a chuck a jacobs chuck.
20210910_210226.jpg
Here is my itemized Zoro bill from 2018 showing the separate entries. I note also that my chuck is apparently 5/8" while the shank on my big 3" Forstner is half inch. Thing is, even if I had a bigger chuck at some point the arbor starts to loose its grip on the chuck body or the quill. I think drilling with a 3" Forstner is just a big ask.

I was able to find a lot of information (and refresh my memory) at the Mcmaster.com web site. I suggest you check them out.
 
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