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The VersaChuck
The Universal Woodturning Chuck System

The VersaChuck is a four-jaw self-centring scroll chuck designed by The ToolPost for use by woodturners.  It is based on an engineering chuck of robust design, mounted on an interchangeable backplate (ISO standard style) which carries the VersaChuck showing its versatility - fitted with four different jaw types from four different manufacturers. (No, you'd never use it like thi, but it makes the point!!)spindle mounting thread, allowing the chuck to be adapted to fit onto a variety of lathe spindles.  The name "Versatile Chuck" is no accident nor idle boast!  The unique feature which characterises the VersaChuck is the provision of mounting jaws which are compatible with the accessory jaws produced by various leading manufacturers of chucks, the intention being to free the woodturner from the tyranny under which each manufacturer's chuck is capable of carrying only the jaws from that manufacturer: the VersaChuck is designed to be compatible with as wide a range of jaw types as possible, regardless of manufacturer.  In addition can be supplied with dovetail jaws designed to give an excellent grip in both compression and expansion mounting modes ( annotated jaw dimensions diagram here) .  An extended chuck key, which locates into either of the two square recesses in the body where it engages the captive pinions, allows easy one-handed operation and is supplied as standard with the chuck.  This truly is the most versatile chuck on the market and with an affordable price tag that belies its high quality. The end of the search for the ultimate chuck?

(The image shown above, right shows the VersaChuck mounted with a mix of jaws from the major jaw manufacturers, and is for illustration purposes only: please don't try using it in this mode.)

The Versachuck System comprises several elements from which the user can choose the parts required to best suit his/her purpose.  The elements to select are as follows:-

  1. The chuck body - this is essential for all users and includes the chuck key. Choose this first!
  2. Next slect a backplate to fit your lathe spindle.
  3. Now choose mounting jaws , onto which workholding jaws are mounted - usually at least one set is required: select these to suit the workholding jaws you plan to use
  4. Workholding  jaws (aka "dovetail jaws") - these are optional as you may already have suitable jaws from other chucks - otherwise make your selection next
  5. Optional accessories such as screw chuck, mini faceplate etc.

Those elements should be selected from the following sections, as required.  You choose to buy as much or as little of the system, as is required to meet your needs.  The whole principle here is flexibility, enabling you to buy exactly what you need.  If you are unsure, give us a call.

Versachuck Body Only

The Versachuck is a 100 mm (outside diameter) scroll chuck.  This is derived from an engineering chuck design, giving the benefit of high precision, great strength and excellent gripping power within a compact outline.  The supplied chuck key is of the engineering type, with an 8mm square spigot fitting into a matching square socket, captive in the chuck body.  The chuck body is supplied without mounting jaws, which must be selected separately (see below). This is the core component of the system - all users need one of these!

 

Versachuck Backplates

A backplate to suit the lathe spindle is required, which is mounted to rear of the chuck using three M8 socket head capscrews (supplied, as is a suitable hex key).  The backplates incorporate a series of 24 equally positioned holes around the periphery, enabling the backplate and chuck to be used as part of an indexing system.  The backplates are interchangeable and are available separately, enabling the chuck to be modified to suit an alternative lathe, for instance when upgrading.

 

If you require a replacement backplate after changing your lathe etc. any of the listed standard backplates may be purchase separately.  (These backplates also fit the Axminster Super Precision chuck.) 

There are two special backplates shown here which are designed to enable you have a backplate threaded to match a spindle not covered by our standard range.  Most towns have an engineering shop where such a thread can be machined, or maybe you know a model engineer or similar, with an engineering lathe, who can do the job for you?  The reason for having the thread cut in your own locality is that such backplates need to be test fitted onto the spindle - onto which they should fit snugly.  The difference between the two backplates is that one is a slim type, generally suitable for threads up to around 1.1/8" diameter, whilst the HD pattern is much deeper from front to rear face to enable larger spindle threads to be accommodated.  Note that the backplate should be held by the shallow chuck register during screwcutting to ensure accuracy after mounting.

Versachuck Mounting Jaws   (a.k.a. Jaw Carriers; Jaw Slides etc.)

Normally at least one set of Mounting Jaws is required and must be ordered specifically.  These are chosen from five styles, each designed for use with a different type of accessory jaw (i.e. with accessory jaws from different chuck manufacturers).  The following types are available:-

  1. Mounting jaws compatible with Versachuck jaws AND accessory jaws produced by Axminster Power Tool Centre for their Super Precision, Clubman (formerly "Woodturner's") and former Carlton chucks.
  2. Mounting jaws compatible with accessory jaws for the Nova and/or SuperNova chucks. These jaws also work with Sorby Patriot jaws.
  3. Mounting jaws compatible with accessory jaws produced by OneWay Manufacturing for use with their OneWay and Talon chucks.  (NB: Accessory jaws designed for use with the Stronghold chuck will not fit these mounting jaws.)
  4. Mounting jaws compatible with accessory jaws produced by VicMarc for use with their VM100 and VM90 scroll chucks.  (NB: Jaws designed for use with theVM120 and VM140 chucks will NOT fit these mounting jaws.).  Note that the Record RP4000 chuck is identical to the VM100, so its jaws will fit these mounting jaws.  We understand - though we have not tested - that the same is true of the Charnwood W836 chuck and the Rutlands Dakota XT700.
  5. Mounting jaws compatible with accessory jaws produced by MultiStar for use with their Titan compact scroll chuck.  (NB:  The jaws for the Multistar Duplex chuck do not have a conventional mounting surface and these are thus incompatible with the Versachuck)
 

Dovetail Jaws & Accessories

Sets of four dovetail jaws which mount onto the Axminster-compatible mounting jaws, each dovetail jaw being secured to the mounting jaws by two M5 x 10 or M5 x 12 mm socket head capscrews.  (suitable screws and a hex key are normally provided with each jawset.)  The range of jaws is shown in detail and can be ordered from the Versachuck Jaws page of this site. Annotated jaw dimensions diagram here

VersaScrew installed in VersaChuckA generously-proportioned screwchuck is also available, which mounts in the standard jaws of the VersaChuck, giving a sturdy "first-fixing", particularly suitable when bowl-turning.  The screw is 12.5 mm diameter and features a slim cross-section thread form to minimise disruption of the timber as it is screwed into place, whilst also easing the passage of the thread through the workpiece.  The screw is gold passivated for improved corrosion resistance. To further enhance the versatility of the VersaChuck we are supplying a mini faceplate - like an inverse of a faceplate ring - which fits the dovetail recess in the standard VersaChuck 75/60 dovetail jaws supplied with the chuck.  Using this faceplate you can mount several jobs, each on their own mini faceplate, and swap them without any loss of mounting accuracy (usually caused by changes in the timber's moisture content when using conventional direct chuck mounting).  The "footprint" of the mini faceplate is much smaller than most faceplate rings and thus constrains the design of the bowl/platter far less.

Finally, for those who like to swap between spindle turning and faceplate turning, without having to dismount the chuck to mount a drive centre, we have the four-prong 1" drive centre which mounts directly into the centre of the standard 76/60 jaws where it is retained securely by the internal flanges on the dovetail jaws but extends well beyond the front face of the jaws to permit safe and easy access along the whole length of the spindle being turned.

 

A final thought: the Versachuck body can corrode if it is subject to damp/humid conditions.  There are several "tricks" to avoid this possibility such as spraying with acrylic lacquer, waxing, WD40 etc.  However, there is an excellent solution in the form of Shield Technology active corrosion-inhibiting protection products suitable for use in the chuck box (if you use it!) or for direct application to the chuck body for long-term active protection.  Once you have used these products on the chuck you'll find myriad other uses around the workshop, garden and even the home.

*NB: Prices quoted in pounds sterling.
Value Added Tax will be added to invoices to EU residents excepting if a valid EU VAT Registration Number is provided.

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1997-2011 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley. 
Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice