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A Woodturner's Guide to Chucks and Jaws
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AWFS: Nova's Quick Change Lathe Chuck is a Game Changercomments (2) July 25th, 2013 in blogs
Since their introduction back in the 1980's, four jaw chucks have become the preferred method for mounting stock when turning hollow forms like bowls, as well as a variety of other project types. They're easier and faster to use than faceplates-especially for beginners.
The trouble is, lots of turners I've seen tend to accumulate multiple chucks-each with a different set of jaws on them, so as to avoid the finicky procedure of jaw changes that take several minutes and keep you away from your turning. That pretty much defeats the purpose of a chuck with interchangeable jaws.
Nova seems to have changed the game however, with the introduction of their new Infinity Quick Change Chuck System. Nova's new chuck uses a spring-mounted index pin for each jaw to achieve the "quick change" result. Simply depress a pin, and slide out the jaw. You can swap out an entire set of jaws in under 30 seconds.
Is Safety an Issue?
Lathes are inherently dangerous tools-just like any other piece of machinery in the workshop-so my first question involved the chances, and consequences, of an index pin or spring breaking. In the event of a failure, centrifugal force will keep the jaws in place. A wedge on the jaw slides locks into place with the direction of rotation. As the RPMs increase, so does the effectiveness of the lock keeping things held together. Of course, this won't help you in reverse.
Upgrades are Available
Chucks are expensive, and that begs the question: how much is it going to cost me to get into Nova's new system? Luckily, turners can purchase upgrade kits for their older Nova chucks, as well as jaw upgrade kits that allow you to keep the jaws you have and just swap out the slides. Here's the general breakdown:
• Infinity Quick Change Chuck System: $389
• Infinity Quick Change Chuck (no jaws): $349
• Retrofit slides to upgrade older chucks: $149
• Jaw Retrofit Kit: $39
More Changes to Come
Also of note regarding Nova's parent company, Teknatool, are its plans to branch out into other types of woodworking machinery. Expect to see some developments in the drill press and bandsaw areas in the near future as Teknatool moves to broaden its woodworking catalog!
posted in: blogs, AWFS, woodturning, chucks, nova, infinity, teknatool
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