Best Wood Lathe Chucks (2020 Reviews)

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If you have been using any one of the wide variety of tools out there that are designed to secure your work piece in place while you are turning it, you need to consider switching to a wood lathe chuck. These devices are really unparalleled when it comes to securing a strong grip on your workpiece and preventing any kind of slipping.

Read on to learn more about the different kinds of chucks, how you should choose what chuck will work best for you and your wood turning needs, and, of course, the very best chucks available on the market today.

​Snapshot​! Best Wood Lathe Chucks

​In a hurry? Here are our top picks​:

Best Overall
Runner-up
Best for the Money

Comparison Chart of the Wood Lathe Chucks

Product

Our Rating

​Price

PSI Woodworking CSC3000C Barracuda

​Best Overall

Nova TK-48246

​Runner-up

Wen LA4444

​Best for the Money

Mophorn K72-250

Best 4 Jaw Wood Lathe Chuck

VEVOR 3-Jaw Lathe Chuck

Best 3 Jaw Wood Lathe Chuck

Nova 48266 G3

Best Bowl Chuck for Wood Lathe

PSI Woodworking TM32

Bet Pin Chuck for Wood Lathe

What Size of Chuck Do I Need?

There are benefits and drawbacks to the different sizes of chucks on the market today. You first want to consider how many jaws your chuck has. Four jaw chucks are, of course, bigger than three jaw chucks.

Often this means that those larger chucks are also heavier and more unwieldy to work with – or, more stable and sturdy because of their weight, depending on how you look at it. Also, larger chucks (four jaw chucks are usually around 8”) tend to have more overhang.

​How to Choose a Wood Lathe Chuck

​Don't know much about wood lathe chucks? Don't stress. The top things you should look at follow:

Number of Jaws

We are going to get into this quite a bit later on in the article, but there is a difference between 3 and 4 jaw chucks that goes deeper than just their size. If you want to work with oddly shaped work pieces, you are going to want to go with a 4 jaw chuck.

Strong Grip

The whole point of a chuck is that it maintains a serious grip on your work piece, without slipping. Slippage can not only mess up your project, it can also be extremely dangerous if your work piece flies out and hits you.

Safety Features

Expanding on the strong grip situation, you should also look for a chuck with additional safety features if you can find it. Like any power tools, chucks can cause serious injury, and like any power tool, the odds of injury go up if they are not operated properly. Look for a chuck that is easy to operate and may have additional safety measures such as an anti vibration grip.

Quick Take: Best ​Wood Lathe Chucks

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best ​wood lathe chucks:

  1. ​Best Overall: PSI Woodworking CSC3000C Barracuda
  2. ​Runner-up: Nova TK-48246
  3. Best for the Money: Wen LA4444​​​

Review of the Best Wood Lathe Chucks

We have compiled a comprehensive list of all of the most awesome wood lathe chucks available on the market today. Enjoy!

​Best Overall:
​PSI Woodworking CSC3000C Barracuda

PROS

  • Very efficient
  • Can be tightened with one hand
  • Great for turning pens, chess pieces, ten inch bowls
  • Jaws hold your work in place steadily and are self-centering

CONS

  • Does not have a reverse mode

Our Review

We were huge fans of all of the bang for your buck you get when you choose to go with this product over other options. The Barracude comes with a bunch of accessories, including four sets of jaws – two sets of round jaws, one set of step jaws, and one set of one-inch pin jaws.

It also has its own tightening key, spindle adapter, and wrench, plus a case to hold it all together. And, you can add on more accessories with optional additional purchases, such as the specially designed alligator jaws. There isn’t much you can’t do with this product!

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Many users reported that this is a great all around lathe, especially for those who are new to woodworking. If you are a beginner to the process of woodturning, or you just like to experiment until you find your style, this is the option you should go with.

​Runner-up:
​Nova TK-48246

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Also has safety locks
  • Does not require an insert
  • Can be operated with just one hand

CONS

  • Not compatible with any non-Nova lathes

Our Review

If you are a little nervous around power tools, and you want to make sure you are taking as many safety precautions as you possibly can, you should probably go with this chuck option. Nova uses a patented TuffLock technology on their chuck grips, which reduces vibration levels.

Less vibration means less chance of your hands becoming fatigued and you potentially slipping up and making a dangerous mistake. And in case anything breaks or will not work properly, never fear: this product comes with a six (yes, you read that right, SIX) year warranty.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The jaw on this chuck is made of copper fused steel, which is unusual for chuck jaws. This alloy is self lubricating, which means it not only reduces your required maintenance work, but it will extend the product’s lifespan for years to come.

​Best for the Money:
​​Wen LA4444

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Good fit and finish
  • Feels nice and heavy
  • Has a wide range of speed

CONS

  • Has a tendency to stall out

Our Review

This product is full of pleasant surprises. First and foremost, it is fully assembled on arrival, so you can just get straight to turning instead of needing to scramble to put it together on your workshop floor.

Secondly, it can actually hold more sizes than is advertised, so there is a good measure of versatility with this chuck. It can be used for a wide range of different projects. It can also be reversed so you can use it to sand your finished product, which is somewhat of a rarity among wood lathe chucks.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

When you see the price point on this chuck, you are not going to believe that it can actually be any level of quality at such a low price. But we are here to tell you the opposite! This chuck is a steal of a deal.

​Best 4 Jaw Wood Lathe Chuck:
Mophorn K72-250

PROS

  • Big clamping range
  • Has a short overhang
  • Suitable for industrial use
  • Mophorn provides good customer service

CONS

  • Does not come with included instructions

Our Review

This chuck can do anything and everything! If you are looking for a versatile product that can help you tackle whatever project you have on your plate, look no further. All jaws on this chuck are able to be adjusted separately and independently from each other, meaning it can work with both regular and irregularly shaped work pieces.

Users report they are also able to use it for drilling, grinding, welding, centering, milling, and even engraving. And finally, they say it always runs true and it never produces any sort of wobbling at all.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

As the title of this review states, this chuck is a 4 jaw model as opposed to a 3 jaw model. This means it has a larger clamping range and can handle projects with complex shapes, as compared to a 3 jaw chuck which is typically more limited.

​Best 3 Jaw Wood Lathe Chuck:
VEVOR 3 Jaw Lathe Chuck

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Extremely versatile
  • Also works well for welding
  • Comes with both internal and external jaw sets

CONS

  • Some users report needing to double check the self centering mechanism

Our Review

The high quality materials used in making this product immediately caught our eye and our interest. Every part of this VEVOR chuck is made of either steel or cast iron, so you know that it can go the distance and it is certainly built to last. You will not need to be changing this chuck out every few years, that is for sure!

Its powerful grip should also be a reassurance to any woodworker who knows how it feels to have their work piece unexpectedly fly out of their chuck. You will not encounter any such problems here.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The easy mounting system on this chuck will save you a whole world of annoyance and hassle. Why can’t every other chuck incorporate what VEVOR has done here? You will be able to get up and turning in no time.

​Best Bowl Chuck for Wood Lathe:
Nova 48266 G3

PROS

  • Compact design
  • Has a strong grip
  • Has reduced run through
  • Can be adjusted with just one hand

CONS

  • Some parts of it are difficult to operate

Our Review

There really is not much that this chuck is not able to offer. Its locking set screw opens up the possibility of working with it while in reverse mode. It is much more compact than many of the other models we reviewed on this list, coming in at just about four pounds. That lighter weight means it will be easier to work with and will not wear you out too quickly during a long turning session.

Plus, its smaller size makes it easy to store in your crowded workshop. And users report it is vibration free, so say goodbye to that hassle!

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

One of the most striking aspects of this product is how easy it is to maintain and to take care of. The back can be opened in order for you to get inside and clean it properly to prevent buildup that will wear and tear on your chuck.

​Best Pin Chuck for Wood Lathe:
PSI Woodworking TM32

PROS

  • Self centering
  • Great for drilling smaller holes
  • Well made of high quality material
  • Durable, will work well for a long time

CONS

  • Not perfectly balanced

Our Review

Looking for the best chuck to help you with smaller turnings, perhaps with working with pen shafts? Look no further than this PSI TM32! As mentioned above when we reviewed the Barracuda, PSI makes some top notch products and this chuck is no exception. Its clamping action is smooth and straightforward.

It can also be removed very easily using the knock out bar. And, if you are sick and tired of grappling with your chuck key every time you need to make an adjustment, you need to go with this chuck and its keyless adjustment system.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This product is fantastic for holding tiny drill bits. Users report that this chuck does what is advertised, and can grip on to drill bits all the way down to bits that are 1/16 of an inch. If you are working on smaller projects, this is the product for you.

Wood Lathe Chuck Types

​While many wood lathe chucks may seem the same, there are actually different types. We tend to prefer grouping lathe chucks by mechanism, as their method of grip tends to offer specific advantages and disadvantages.

4 Jaw Independent Chuck

To get more into the 3 jaw vs. 4 jaw chuck debate, let’s give you a little bit of additional info about a 4 jaw chuck. As mentioned previously, 4 jaw chucks have 4 jaws (imagine that) that operate independently of each other. This means that you can adjust the jaws to be able to hold work pieces that may have irregular shapes.

4 Jaw Combination Chuck

The exception to what we just talked about above is the 4 jaw combination chuck. With this type of chuck, the jaws are not independent of each other, so it can’t be used on differently shaped work pieces. This chuck is on the larger side and is great for high levels of uncomplicated projects.

3 Jaw Chuck

Again, as previously mentioned, 3 jaw chucks are a great choice if you need to make very precise turns, as they can be fine tuned and adjusted using their included chuck key. One thing to consider with 3 jaw chucks, though, is that they typically can’t run in reverse.

​Comparison Overview : How Does It Stack Up?

Lathe Faceplate vs. Chuck

Faceplates tend to be more secure than chucks because they are attached to the work piece using screws. This quality makes them an excellent option if you are going to be working with a larger piece, such as a big bowl. Chucks, however, are more versatile and can be used for a wider range of different kinds of projects.

Wood Lathe Chuck 3 Jaw vs. 4 Jaw

You have seen the terms “3 jaw” and “4 jaw” thrown around in this article, but what actually is the difference between the two? 3 jaw chucks require keys to adjust, meaning that if you want to make very fine, precise adjustments, you should probably go with a 3 jaw chuck to get as close as possible. 4 jaw chucks are more adaptable and can be used on work pieces of varying shapes.

Lathe Spur vs. Chuck

Lathe spurs have more limited uses than lathe chucks. Most often, lathe spurs are using for spindle turning, so if you anticipate having a high number of those kinds of jobs, you might want to choose the spur over the chuck. Otherwise, you are probably going to want to go with your chuck.

How to True a 3 Jaw Lathe Chuck

If your 3 jaw lathe chuck is not running true, it can really foul up your wood turning projects. There are a lot of different opinions out there for the best way to true a 3 jaw lathe chuck, but some of the most helpful suggestions we could find were loosening up the bolts that secure the chuck to its back plate, adjusting your chuck, and then increasing the number of bolts when you re-tighten things back up (some users said they doubled the total number of bolts).

How to Use a 4 Jaw Lathe Chuck

​In looking at your chuck, notice the rings on its surface. These rings are used to align the four separate jaws.

  1. ​Set your work piece in the center of your chuck’s four jaws, and tighten the jaws just to the point of securing the piece in place (use your chuck wrench).

  2. ​Place your dial indicator on top of your work piece.

  3. ​Spin the chuck to see the different angles at each jaw. Make sure you always spin it in the same direction!

  4. ​Find the highest angle and the lowest angle.

  5. ​With your lowest angle, loosen the jaw just a little. With the highest angle, tighten the jaw just a little.

  6. ​Check again for your highest and lowest angle (which should be closer to each other than they were before).

  7. ​Continue to make adjustments until your dial is reading the same angle for all chuck jaws (it will likely never hit the exact same angle, but within a thousandth of an inch is a good goal).

Conclusion

Wood lathe chucks can be a real gamechanger when it comes to any sort of project that involves turning – whether it includes working with wood or not! You should invest in a chuck that is versatile and can help you to accomplish a wide range of different projects. ​

Other things to look out for with a chuck are enhanced safety features, and long term durability: the last thing you want is a chuck that is going to break after just a few grips. We promise that you will not be disappointed with any of the chucks from our list above!

People Also Ask

We are going to go a little bit more in depth on some of the most commonly asked questions regarding wood lathe chucks:

What is a Lathe Chuck?

A lathe chuck is a device that holds your work piece in place while you are turning it for your project. It attaches to your lathe and grips your work piece using a set of jaws, which can vary in number.

What is a 4 Jaw Chuck?

A 4 jaw chuck is a chuck with – wait for it – 4 jaws. Often, these jaws operate independently of each other, meaning they can be adjusted to grip your piece at different angles. This quality makes them great for working with irregularly shaped work pieces.

What is a Chuck Key Used For?

A chuck key is used for tightening and loosening the grip your chuck has on its work piece. Some chucks require a key to operate, others only need a key to help make very precise adjustments to the grip on the work piece.

How Does a Chuck Work?

A chuck uses a series of jaws (ranging in number from three to four to six) to grab onto your work piece and hold it steady while it is turning. This ensures that whatever you are trying to accomplish with your piece, whether that is grinding, drilling, or something else, will be applied consistently across the piece.

Are Lathe Chuck Jaws Interchangeable?

The answer is – it depends. Some lathe chuck jaws are specifically designed to be used with certain kinds of chuck models. Others are fairly interchangeable between different kinds of chucks. Check with the manufacturer info if you want to be 100% sure.

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