Hopefully a fairly new woodturner will see this and be able to take something away from it.
I got into turning over a year ago and immediately became addicted. There’s not many areas of woodworking where you can make something worthy of display faster than on the lathe. In only a couple of hours, you can cut out a blank, turn a bowl, and have it sanded and finished. I’m an ‘immediate gratification’ type of person so, for me, woodturning is a ‘no-brainer’, I love it.
This post is going to assume that you have your lathe, 3-4 basic turning tools, face shield, and sharpening system. We’ll go on to assume you are able to reproduce the grinds on those tools consistently.
I want to talk about chucks. The lathe chuck (or scroll chuck) is probably one of the most versatile accessories you can add to your setup. This single device will save you time, increase your accuracy, reduce stress, enhance your enjoyment, and save you money. Not only will it hold a bowl blank while you remove the innards of your next masterpiece, it can be used for so much more.
Here are some examples of the different things I have created for use in conjunction with my chucks.
1. A variety of different sized jam chucks that all have a ‘dovetail’ cut in the bottoms so my chuck can receive them in an instant.
2. A variety of smaller fixtures that simply fit inside the jaws to hold one end of small globes for finishing.
3. Sets of wooden ‘soft jaws’ for holding delicate things like bracelets.
Being, pretty much, self-taught by my friends on the internet, some books, and an awesome Del Stubbs DVD, I made more than my share of mistakes when it came to purchasing ‘the extras’. I bought some tools and accessories that could probably have waited several more months.
If I had it to do over again, I would purchase my lathe and equipment in this order.
2. 3-4 basic tools
3. Face shield
4. Slow speed bench grinder
5. Sharpening system (In my opinion, the Wolverine system is the easiest)
If possible, I would say buy all of this at once. If you put off any of these items and end up being addicted to turning, hear me now. The rest of them are coming to your shop very soon, regardless. Pay now or pay later. It’s up to you. (grin)
I’m using the Teknatool line of chucks for my woodturning. Why? I was drawn to them for 3 reasons. Price, Quality, and Interchangeability. They are a great ‘bang for your buck’. The interchangeability is evident in the fact that nearly all of the accessory jaws will fit all of their models.
I have two chucks for my Jet 1220. The Supernova2 and the G3. There is not a great deal of difference between the two. I believe the G3 may weigh about a pound less but it is very substantial. On my 12 inch lathe it can swing everything the Supernova2 can. On bigger lathes, you might be able to outgrow it. I purchased them, like most of my tools, on Ebay. There is a gentleman running a store that can beat Woodcraft’s price on both of these chucks by more than $25.00 each with free shipping. I think that’s hard to beat. Link to Chucks on Ebay. (Where you buy them is your option)
Here is a picture of one of my babies. It looks like a beast on the 1220 but it’s more than capable of handling it. For a 10 inch lathe, you might opt for the G3. I’ll be following up this post with more on the various things I’ve created to increase the versatility of my chucks.