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  • Cheap 4 jaw chucks any good?

    I'm looking for a 4 jaw independent chuck to put on my Logan 200. Looking on e-pay I see dozens of new asian chucks for $80 to 150. Are any of these worth getting? Otherwise I see $750 chucks but that's approaching what I paid for the lathe. Is there anything in the middle?

  • #2
    Look for a Vertex, they more expensive, but much better quality.

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    • #3
      I'd get a used Buck or similar 4 jaw for that kind of money, as long as the jaws and screws were in decent condition. from what I've read cheap asian 4 jaws can be a bit of a gamble - some are perfectly fine, others have slots milled at odd angles and so on.

      What are the spindle nose dimensions? I have a back plate for a Logan (1 3/4 - 8tpi) that came off a 6" Buck 4 jaw.

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      • #4
        Hi,

        They can be since each jaw is independent they don't require as much accuracy in construction. Downsides to CCC 4 jaw chucks are general lack of soft jaw mounting and being a bit light and flexible. None of which should be surprising at the typical price point they go for.

        I tend to think while you can buy better chucks, they are cost effective for as much as most people use 4 jaw independent chucks.
        If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

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        • #5
          For an independent 4-jaw I dont see any issues. Keep chasing the needle till she is dialed in then get to cutting.

          Now, Im sure some of them are no good. Like wont hold tight, jaws canted, soft screws too soft and more.

          Skinner chucks seem to come up on e-pay often and they are inexpensive and good. JR

          My old yahoo group. Bridgeport Mill Group

          https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...port_mill/info

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          • #6
            I had a 1980 jet with the 6" chuck that came on it when the lathe was new and a 1983 1440 Goodway lathe with the original 8" chuck. Both are direct mount so neither uses a backing plate. Both saw daily use. Cleaned and ground the jaws on both when I got them. I've used expensive chucks in a profession environment and I have to say that the 2 import chucks I have, seem to me to be just as good. I also have a new 6" import chuck I bought on ebay for a rotary table. I know which I would buy.
            Charlie

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mattthemuppet View Post
              What are the spindle nose dimensions? I have a back plate for a Logan (1 3/4 - 8tpi) that came off a 6" Buck 4 jaw.
              the Logan 200 (10 inch lathe) has a 1 1/2 by 8 tpi spindle
              Thanks all for the input so far.

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              • #8
                I have a no name 6" 4-jaw that I got from Shars (I think). It's the same as the Chinese ones you see all over eBay. I can't say anything bad about it other than the edges were not de-burred very well, but that is typical of cheap Chinese stuff.

                I will note that the ad photos showed a hollow-bodied chuck, but what they sent was solid-bodied. That was good because I was able to make the backplate quite a bit smaller and front-mount the chuck instead of using the factory M8 holes on the back.
                Location: Northern WI

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                • #9
                  Just about any 4 jaw that was not made for a wood lathe (yes, there were some) is better than no 4 jaw.

                  Yes, cheaper chucks can be good. (Or not)
                  3751 6193 2700 3517

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan

                  If you look closely at a digital signal, you find out it is really analog......

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                    If you look closely at a digital signal, you find out it is really analog......
                    ...and if you look really, really, really, really closely (should be maybe twenty more "really"s there), you find it's once again sorta almost digital.

                    -js
                    There are no stupid questions. But there are lots of stupid answers. This is the internet.

                    Location: SF Bay Area

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dalee100 View Post
                      Hi,
                      they are cost effective for as much as most people use 4 jaw independent chucks.
                      Unless the 5c collet goes in a 4 jaw lives in my lathe. I have a 3 jaw with bell mouth jaws that I am afraid to grind because of bed wear so 4 jaw is the chuck of choice.

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                      • #12
                        I have two four jaw independents at the museum, a cheap nasty Chinese 160mm and a 6" Toolmex Polish beauty. The Toolmex has tight jaws numbered to match their slots is made from SG iron, but is a slim bodied lightweight. For heavier jobs, the cheapie has to be used, it has sloppy jaw fit and takes longer to get dialled in. I would like a 160mm Vertex to replace it, but the Chinese one will have to do for the forseeable future.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by oxford View Post

                          Unless the 5c collet goes in a 4 jaw lives in my lathe. I have a 3 jaw with bell mouth jaws that I am afraid to grind because of bed wear so 4 jaw is the chuck of choice.
                          And that's why I said "most people".

                          I might suggest treating yourself to a proper 5C collet chuck for your lathe - you are worth it!. A much better quality of life if you use collets a lot.
                          If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dalee100 View Post

                            And that's why I said "most people".

                            I might suggest treating yourself to a proper 5C collet chuck for your lathe - you are worth it!. A much better quality of life if you use collets a lot.
                            I use it when needed, maybe 50% of lathe use. I have royal lever closer on a L00 spindle, it’s probably 2-3min of change over time from chuck to collet. I see no real advantage of spending money over the current setup.
                            Last edited by oxford; 11-29-2020, 08:34 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Our 12.5" 4 jaw was runs about $200 new. I think smalltools in Cleveland OH has TMX plainback versions for about the same price. And honestly, it's not bad. It was out of balance, one adjuster screw has a tight spot, and the cam pin screws protruded out the back and required a little bit of grinding. Definitely some annoyance, but otherwise, it runs very true, grips tight, and generally works fine. One thing I have noticed, is that the Chinese really have to play a hard game to compete with English, Polish, and American chucks. For example 95% of the Chinese chucks I've seen are fully ground on the jaw clamping surfaces, whereas the name brands are often only machined. The jaws on a brand new Bison have a little play on one I'm trying to sell, yet what I think was an HHT yama was perfectly tight. A 12" Pratt Burnerd has obvious forging marks on the jaws, yet the Chinese ones looked perfect.

                              I wouldn't shy away.

                              Our 12.5"
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                              An 8" I sold. Just perfect. Whole chuck was one of the nicest I have ever touched. Seriously a beauty in every way.

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                              Contrast that to this Burnerd. Scaley jaws, and their tool was dull leaving a burr when it made the teeth. Little things, and largely cosmetic, but kinda sad when the Chinese are out-finishing the best rated chucks.
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                              21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
                              1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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