Newbie looking for first chuck

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Forum topic by Eddie posted 01-31-2014 05:54 PM 3317 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Eddie's profile


212 posts in 2154 days

01-31-2014 05:54 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shopsmith


Hey guys,

I am really new to the lathe and have used my shopsmith to turn a bowl with a faceplate but thats it.

I would love to get a 3 or 4 jaw chuck

Besides the chucks that specifically say they work with shopsmith, what are my options?
The shopsmith has a 5/8” unthreaded arbor.
The drill chuck attaches with a set screw on the flat spot.
I have seen adapters to convert the spindle to a 1×8tpi—is that more common? I would prefer to not have to buy adapters

I have also been looking on grizzly’s site and they have 3 & 4 jaw chucks that are 5/8” unthreaded. How do these secure? Would they be a direct fit?

While I appreciate purchasing quality equipment the first time, I also know that I will not have the money to buy the nicer chucks for years (and i’d like to try a chuck before commiting to the larger price too)

Below are examples of what Ive been looking at

1”x8tpi 4 jaw—

5/8” unthreaded 4 jaw—

5/8” unthreaded 3 jaw (self centering)—

Please advise

11 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


2478 posts in 2337 days

#1 posted 01-31-2014 07:56 PM

Would rather you buy this style chuck than those Grizzly chucks you listed.
I know nothing your about Shop Smith, would rather see you spend little more money and get something other than those knuckle buster chucks you are asking about. If Shop around might find better prices.

Grizzly has some nice 4-jaw scroll chucks but not sure if will fit your shop smith without an adapter.

Most of your mainstream chuck makers Nova & Oneway have chucks to fit your lathe, did not look at Vicmarc.

-- Bill

View TerryDowning's profile


1103 posts in 2320 days

#2 posted 01-31-2014 08:08 PM

I have and use a Shopsmith and purchased the Barracuda 2 from Penn State Industries along with their Shopsmith 1×8 TPI adapter. It is a decent chuck setup and does the job.

When I purchased mine, Shopsmith was not selling the Nova yet, If I were to do it over again I would go with the Nova set from Shopsmith. These go on special a couple time a year. Go to and sign up for there email specials.

A scroll chuck is a precision tool and you should not scrimp on it. It really is a false economy.

the 4 jaw un-threaded fron grizzly is NOT a scroll chuck and is not self centering.

-- - Terry

View ddockstader's profile


158 posts in 3464 days

#3 posted 01-31-2014 08:12 PM

I have 2 Shopsmiths and use both of them extensively for turning – pens, bowls, tool handles, you name it. First get an adapter:

I own a Barracuda 2 chuck. It’s not the top of the line, but it works amazingly well and is relatively cheap. It has a broad set of jaws that can handle about anything the Shopsmith can. If you are just starting out with turning, you may eventually upgrade to another chuck, but this one is really good and will get you a long way down that road (it is an addiction and you are just starting down that road).

Personal opinion, but I think this is the best way to start turning on the Shopsmith. And it will get you a long way.

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3435 days

#4 posted 01-31-2014 08:34 PM

I have no problems with the Economy 4 jaw chuck. Penn State has one

I have the Wood River 4 jaw chuck, basically the same thing for $10.00 more and no extra jaws.

FWIW, a lot of folks prefer the barracuda chuck as they have problems with the 2 lever system of the economy chuck. I have big hands so the levers are a non issue for me… If you have small hands though, spend the extra on a one handed chuck…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Eddie's profile


212 posts in 2154 days

#5 posted 01-31-2014 08:42 PM

Thank you guys for the replies.

dbhost—that chuck looks like a great deal.

For those that know about the shopsmith—

If the chuck’s description says 5/8” unthreaded, does that mean it will work with the shopsmith arbor out of the box (without any adapter)? Would it have a set screw like the drill chuck?

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3788 days

#6 posted 01-31-2014 09:21 PM

Whatever you do don’t buy a 3 jaw chuck for woodturning, as this will be an engineers chuck.Please make sure for woodturning you buy a chuck that’s designed and dedicated for wood, otherwise you will find it won’t hold well, and also you’ll crimp the wood etc. It’s the jaws which ultimately are important .Please read up on these and buy only what you need until your certain you need upgraded chucks for different woodholding, I.E larger or smaller jobs. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Wildwood's profile


2478 posts in 2337 days

#7 posted 01-31-2014 09:36 PM

Eddie, why do you think provided those links and asked you to break out your wallet? Nothing against PSI chucks & adapters but NOVA & Oneway have been supply chucks for Shop Smith for a long time.

Like Scotsman said those Grizzly chucks work well on slow speed metal lathes, not so hot on a wood lathe!

-- Bill

View Eddie's profile


212 posts in 2154 days

#8 posted 01-31-2014 09:43 PM

Scotsman, thank you! I had no idea that 3 jaw are frowned upon. Grizzly had them titled wood chuck so I assumed they would work.

Wildwood—I’m not sure I understand the first paragraph? And I didn’t see a place where Scotsman said do not buy a grizzly chuck. He was mentioning not getting a 3 jaw

View Wildwood's profile


2478 posts in 2337 days

#9 posted 02-01-2014 04:18 PM

Eddie, Scotsman also recommended you educate yourself little more before buying a chuck.

Did any of the Shop Smith owners tell you not to buy a Grizzly chuck?

All three of these Grizzly chucks are bare bones metal late chuck designed to run on slower speeds than a wood lathe. Trying to hold work and adjust/tighten each jaw on or off the lathe a real pain. All three chucks make turning risky without tailstock support while turning.

“I would prefer to not have to buy adapters.” Almost all wood lathe chucks require a threaded insert!

Nova 5/8” Plain Insert

Shop Smith recommends Nova G3 to do lathe work because of size & weight of that chuck. That chuck is key operated vice Penn State tommy bar chuck. Nova chucks require a threaded insert to fit your headstock spindle. If buy from Shop Smith threaded insert/adapter is free but still paying for extra jaw set that comes with that deal. That is why provided link to Packard Woodworks, and said shop other vendors for best price for a G-3 Nova chuck.

Penn State chucks come with a two threaded inserts at no charge but need a threaded spindle adapter to fit your headstock. Penn State chucks also small and lightweight includes more jaws, but a tommy bar chuck.

At the end of the day buy what you want! I am done here!

-- Bill

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3288 days

#10 posted 02-02-2014 07:04 AM

The 5/8” unthreaded chucks have a 5/8” hole in them, and you can cut your own threads in them, or have
a machinist cut them. Some unthreaded chucks take a bolt on adapter, but they will usually state so and
give you a list of the adapters available.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View RolfBe's profile


28 posts in 2017 days

#11 posted 02-04-2014 05:59 PM

I recently bought this chuck and love it. It comes with an adapter to match you lath threads. So if you ever get a new lathe with different thread it is not a problem.

-- "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can" Hawk G4 ss, New Nova 16-24 DVR XP

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