Looking for advice on purchasing a chuck for a lathe?

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Forum topic by Matthew posted 02-21-2012 03:52 AM 930 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Matthew's profile


39 posts in 2446 days

02-21-2012 03:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi all,

I just given a Jet mini lathe….thanks to my father-n-law, and my plan is to get into turning pens and such. I need to purchase a chuck to try some other things but need advice on what to purchase. Really have no idea.

Any and all advice welcome and also if you have anything to say about pen making that’s great to.


-- Save every piece of scrap, the best things come from what others cast aside --

5 replies so far

View moke's profile


847 posts in 2198 days

#1 posted 02-21-2012 06:55 PM

You can turn a lot of things in a chuck, but pens really only require a mandrel….at least to start. Mandrels are inexpensive 20.00 or so. Start with a set of cheaper tools. There are many available, HF has a set…Steelex is on ebay a lot…etc. Do not buy the pen tools, they are too small and not needed.

The Jet mini is an awesome lathe. It will serve you well. The line of Jet mini’s have issue ocassionally with the power switches. If it begins to be intermittent order one right away from some on line parts place. Once they begin to fail they do not last long.

I am no expert an bowls or most other turnings but have made a LOT of pens. You are welcome to PM me if you wish and I can answer some questions.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2497 days

#2 posted 02-21-2012 07:30 PM

Many people think they need a chuck to turn a bowl. I used to think that also. Recently, I have sort of rediscovered the face plate. I still use a chuck on occasion but, when turning a bowl, my first choice is a faceplate.

Some may say “what about the screw holes?” and I say, “Learn to use a waste block”.

You may want and need a chuck eventually but don’t be in a hurry and don’t ignore the value of a faceplate.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3640 days

#3 posted 02-21-2012 07:46 PM

I bought this one shortly after purchasing my mini lathe. Not cheap, but I’ve never regretted it.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 2659 days

#4 posted 02-21-2012 07:53 PM


richgreer is right. Almost anything you can do with a chuck can be done with a faceplate and some waste wood. As a turner, your first purchase should be a chainsaw… Start checking the free section of Craig’s List several times a day. You’ll soon have more quality bowl and spindle material than you will ever use.

I bought a cheep chuck from Grizzly for my Delta Midi lathe last Winter. It takes 2 levers to tighten, but it’s more than 1/2 the price of other chucks on the market. I wasn’t sure I’d use it very much, but I have used it a lot. I just bought a full size Grizzly lathe and it has a different spindle size so to turn bigger bowls, I’ll have to buy another chuck. It also came with the duplicator to duplicate spindles. I’m going to order the same type chuck to fit my new lathe as well. Here’s the 1”X8” 4 jaw chuck I bought for my little lathe.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Matthew's profile


39 posts in 2446 days

#5 posted 02-22-2012 11:56 AM

Thanks guys
Mike…..I have a mandrel, I got it from Penn Industries….just interested in doing some other things also. Hoping to get my first pen done this week, I redoing my work room and will post some pics.

Rich, I will have to play with the faceplate

Charlie, the chuck you listed is on my short list already, it looks good

Hal, funny about the chainsaw….I was at work the other day and the maintance guy was cutting down an old tree on the school grounds, I asked him what itype it was…cherry, so I already have some collected. He even cut me some blanks.

Thanks again guys!

-- Save every piece of scrap, the best things come from what others cast aside --

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