Looking for advice on a Lathe chuck

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Forum topic by DogwoodNH posted 12-06-2012 04:08 AM 20849 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DogwoodNH's profile


2 posts in 3659 days

12-06-2012 04:08 AM

Topic tags/keywords: harbor freight 34706 lathe chuck supernova2 barracuda2 nova g3 question

I own a Harbor Freight 34706 lathe and am looking to get a chuck for it. I plan to do a variety of things with it such as bowls, bottle stoppers etc and my teenage son is also interested in turning pens (I’m sure I’ll be making these too). I don’t do a lot of turning I’m predominately a scroller and originally bought the lathe to make scrolled saw bowls easier (the sanding is a bear). I can see where turning can get expensive fast, it’s addicting and fun.

That said I’ve looked through several reviews here and elsewhere and am still confused and looking for direction from others that got there before me. I was originally leaning towards the barracuda2 from PSI but having read some reviews about fit and finish thought I might go with the supernova2 that Woodcraft currently is running a sale on (comes with 4 jaws for $199). My concern is the weight of the chuck, is it to much for this lathe and should I be going for the Nova G3 which is ~2.5 pounds lighter but costs more? I have had some slipping/power issues that I will be trying to address by getting a NAPA belt but don’t want to cause additional problems due to a chuck to big for the lathe. Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

14 replies so far

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 3222 days

#1 posted 12-06-2012 04:08 PM

I have the Harbor Freight 10×18 lathe. I bought 2 chucks for it. I bought one from Woodcraft and one from PSI.

They’re really, really similar. I feel like the PSI one was a better deal, since I got more jaws for it. Really in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with either. If my little lathe can handle these, your larger one should have no problem.


View jtbinvalrico's profile


37 posts in 3446 days

#2 posted 12-07-2012 05:57 AM

+1 on the PSI chuck… get a lot for your money.

View tomd's profile


2222 posts in 4845 days

#3 posted 12-07-2012 06:12 AM

I had that lathe for almost 10years before getting a new one. I purchased the barracuda 2 because it got good reviews and came with alot of jaws. Latter I purchased their utility chuck for $89 and the jaws are interchangeable so I can use two chucks. They are still my only chucks and I turned alot of small and large projects with no problem. PS: the chinesse belt is junk, mine wore out in a few months, got a good automotive belt and never had to replace it again, also it pays to once a year open the cover over the pulleys and lubricate the shafts.

-- Tom D

View bobasaurus's profile


3713 posts in 4259 days

#4 posted 12-07-2012 06:36 AM

I have the PSI Barracuda chuck and it’s great for the money. Wish I had a second so I wouldn’t have to change jaws all the time.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4184 days

#5 posted 12-07-2012 11:38 AM

Weight of the chuck should not be an issue. I had the steel tube model with a 1/2 inch head stock. I had an adapter and used a PSI chuck and it did not affect the motor or the mount. With a 3/4 inch head stock on your model, it should be able to handle the weight of either just fine.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3361 days

#6 posted 12-07-2012 11:41 AM

PSI. so it takes a couple wrenches, save 200$. If you’re going to turn serious bowls, I’d consider two PSI chucks, you’re going to want to leave one on the bowl if you need to take it off the lathe. If you don’t, you’ll be re-turning the outside to get it balanced. It’s better to just leave it on the chuck if you have to take it off the lathe.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View bondogaposis's profile


5986 posts in 3426 days

#7 posted 12-07-2012 02:02 PM

That Woodcraft sale isn’t so hot. I just got a supernova 2 at Amazon for $159 and free shipping.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View TheDane's profile


5958 posts in 4738 days

#8 posted 12-07-2012 03:35 PM

I have been using the PSI Utility Grip 4 Jaw chuck for about a year and a half … no complaints at all. I bought the additional jaw sets for mine and am considering buying a second chuck so I’m not changing jaws so often.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View waho6o9's profile


9018 posts in 3652 days

#9 posted 12-07-2012 03:54 PM

FREE Shipping!
Utility Grip 4 Jaw Chrome Lathe Chuck System: includes 2 jaws and FREE 8” Jumbo Flat Jaw

PSI has a sale going on.

View DogwoodNH's profile


2 posts in 3659 days

#10 posted 12-10-2012 06:08 AM

Thanks for all the input guys…decided to get the PSI utility chuck for now and get a barracuda down the road later on since the jaws will work on that as well.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4184 days

#11 posted 12-10-2012 06:20 AM

I have the utility chuck and it works rather well. However, one thing you should be aware of is that the mechanism opens and closes via a twist motion. It includes two tools and you have to use both hands to engage and disengage the chuck. This can make it a little clumsy when you are setting up a piece. The work can loosen if you get a catch. I tend to check the piece often to make sure it is secure. If it ever moves off center, use your tailstock to help reposition your work.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 3222 days

#12 posted 12-10-2012 03:19 PM

Amen to what David said. I stop periodically and make sure the chuck hasn’t loosened, especially if I’d had a bit of a catch. I find it easier to put the chuck on the piece off the lathe, then put the whole thing on the lathe. You can hand tighten it in place a bit, but I find it slips a bit when doing that, so I prefer to put it on the chuck off the lathe.


View RVroman's profile


163 posts in 3099 days

#13 posted 12-10-2012 03:32 PM

When I had that lathe I ran the super nova 2 on it for years. I later added the G3 to my collection. Both were fine, but the super nova was a bit of overkill, the G3 will do anything that lathe can handle. I am not familiar with the PSI chucks, but from what people are saying it sounds as though you need to use 2 tightening bars with it. The single wrench method of tightening both the super nova and G3 is a huge benefit over those that need 2 bars. (But, that is just my opinion).

-- Robert --- making toothpicks one 3x3x12 blank at a time!

View Mike67's profile


97 posts in 4411 days

#14 posted 12-10-2012 04:08 PM

I had that HF lathe for some time and used the PSI Barracuda2 (this is different from the PSI utility chuck, but the jaws do fit both models). Worked great for any bowl that lathe could handle. And BTW, the lathe tools from PSI are also pretty good for the price.

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