Woodturning, The Early Years #1: Lets Talk About Chucks

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Blog entry by Matt posted 03-04-2009 04:15 PM 3234 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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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.

1. Lathe
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.

Teknatool Supernova 2

Thanks guys,

-- Matt - My Websites - - Hand Tools :: - Small Shops

12 comments so far

View BTKS's profile


1984 posts in 2885 days

#1 posted 03-04-2009 05:10 PM

Thanks for the input. Just pulled my lathe out of storage and have been wondering about additional chucks. This will certainly help.
Thanks, BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3242 days

#2 posted 03-04-2009 05:13 PM

Thanks for the post, Matt. I have a lathe on my wish list and every time I see how well a project “turned” out it moves the lathe one notch higher.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View 8iowa's profile


1540 posts in 3182 days

#3 posted 03-04-2009 07:47 PM

Thanks for the post. On Saturday, I purchased the SuperNova 2, Cole jaws, and 5/8” plain insert for my Shopsmith. It was the 10% discount day at Woodcraft so I’m happy. I had considered the Stronghold, but the SuperNova 2 seems to have almost as much capacity at less cost.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View ToddO's profile


80 posts in 3244 days

#4 posted 03-05-2009 02:56 AM

I just bought a Barracuda 2, I wish I had done it years ago. I bought the kit because it was the most complete kit for the price. I got 4 different jaws, small flat jaws, a screw chuck, and a drive center all for $200.00 at Penn State Industries.

-- Todd, Richfield MN

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 2909 days

#5 posted 03-05-2009 04:41 AM

I have an older Nova with the ‘dovetail’ jaws, and my brother-in-law just gave me a chuck made by PSI. I think it’s made in china, and looks just like a Oneway. Oneway’s chuck is good too.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3581 days

#6 posted 03-06-2009 01:00 AM

chucks are one thing that I’ve never seen (or noticed, anyway) at any wood show that I’ve attended.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View peruturner's profile


317 posts in 2783 days

#7 posted 03-15-2009 05:45 PM

Im happy with my supernova2 it works great ,and takes beating fairly well (turn daily 8 hours a day)

View toyguy's profile


1546 posts in 3258 days

#8 posted 03-21-2009 01:08 PM

I went for the one way talon. I have been very happy with it so far. The stronghold from one way is a bit bigger and able to handle a bit more capacity. I live in Ontario not to far from the one way’s factory. I like their products and I like to buy made in north America stuff.

One thing about one way chucks, the jaws for the stronghold will not fit the talon. When buying extra jaw sets you must get the right ones.

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View Karson's profile


35032 posts in 3821 days

#9 posted 03-21-2009 05:10 PM

Matt thasnks for the info. Great job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Ernest1's profile


21 posts in 3285 days

#10 posted 04-06-2009 05:19 PM

Matt, thanks for your help. I’m in the midst of a decision regarding the purchase of a chuck. There is a confusing aray of offerings and costs. I can’t afford to own a boat load of chucks so I want to make one purchase and be VERY happy with my choice. I’ve been looking at the Barracuda 2 from Penn State because it includes many extra jaws and looks to be a good value. I’d be interested to know what experience the Lumberjocks turners have had with this chuck. Such things as smooth adjustments, changing jaws, slop in the mechanism, robustness, breakage, etc. I’m not opposed to the SuperNova 2 if it is a better choice. Some feedback from the community would help. Thanks.

-- I started out with nothing, and still have most of it..... Ernest 1.

View peruturner's profile


317 posts in 2783 days

#11 posted 04-06-2009 06:28 PM

Hi if you see now the super nova 2 is cheaper by nearly $40 bucks at woodcraft

View peruturner's profile


317 posts in 2783 days

#12 posted 09-27-2009 05:19 PM

I will like to make another comment,do get the extra set screws from the maker of your chucks,you WILL strip them,after 5-6 times you change jaws,I had that problem ,lucky here in peru hand labor is cheap,went to my friendly bolts seller and luckily he had(metric)screws for my chuck(nova2) but the heads were a bit bigger,so my metal lathe man grind the heads to size and problem sold,bougt 4 sets of screws so I have plenty to go around,thanks

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