Easy Chuck by Easy Wood Tools - Tool Review
by Jeffrey Fleisher
New Market, VA
Click on any picture to see a larger version.
The Easy Chuck by Easy Wood Tools
is a high quality tool using a unique design concept to provide both strong holding power on your lathe and minimal down time when changing jaw sizes.
The Easy Chuck is best know for its easy to use Snap-Lock Technology (SLT), which makes it very fast and easy to change the jaws on the chuck. I'll discuss this feature a little later in this review but there are a few other features that stand out on this chuck as well. They have added what they call the 'Zoom Ring' to quickly change the opening size of the jaws. Instead of having to turn the chuck key repeatedly to make gross large changes to the jaw size, you now just twist the zoom ring to quickly size the jaws. Another understated feature is how the jaws are designed as an integral part of the body of the chuck. On other chucks that I own, the jaws sit on the surface of the chuck and are screwed to the face of the chuck. On the Easy Chuck, the jaws actually slide into a channel in the body of the chuck and become part of the chuck itself. There is no chance for any screws to shear off if you have a severe catch.
The Easy Chuck system has a
variety of jaw sizes that are sold separately
. The chuck comes with a 1-3/8" Easy Dovetail Jaw but a variety of other sizes are available.
Other sizes include : 2-3/8" dovetail jaws, 1/2" Reach Dovetail Jaws, 1-3/8: Reach Dovetail Jaws, 3-1/2" Reach Dovetail Jaws and 3-1/2" Stepped Dovetail Jaws.
The first thing you notice when opening the box is the overall quality of the system....from heftiness of the box and packaging materials to the quantity of items included with the chuck. The fit and finish of all items is first rate!
The Box includes:
One 4" Easy Chuck with 1-3/8" dovetail jaws
One Chuck Key – 5/16" Hex T-handle
One Jaw Key – 1/8" Hex Ball Driver
One 1" Spindle Washer
One Easy Chucking Screw
One DVD – The Woodturning System
Two spare Hub Set Screws
Two spare Master Jaw Springs
One High Gloss, full color Owner's Manual
One Easy Wood Decal
You quickly get the philosophy of the company when you read the paragraph next to the description of the spare master jaw springs in the owners manual. It says "under normal usage we do not anticipate the need to replace a Master Jaw Spring, but if you ever do damage a spring, you will need to replace it. Having a spare part is "peace of mind" for you." Very nice customer service!
I also purchased a set of
1/2" Easy Reach Dovetail Jaws
. Having the two sets of jaws and the ability to easily change between them is the reason that I purchased this chuck. In my shop I am continually changing between these size jaws on my current chuck. I make bowls for a local craft store and I make
for Shenandoah Tool Works (
see last month's article by my partner, Norm Reid
). Each of these jobs requires a different set of jaws.
On my old chuck I needed to remove 2 screws for each jaw and then reinsert them with the new jaws.
For this article I timed myself to remove and replace them with a different set of jaws. It took twelve seconds to remove the two screws on one jaw and then another twenty-two seconds to remove the jaw, replace it with another jaw, and then reinsert the screws. That is thirty-four seconds per jaw for a total of a little over two minutes to replace them. That really doesn't sound like a lot but when you're in the middle of something and need to try something different it does give you 'pause' to think "I have to stop and change the jaws."
I did the same test with the Easy Chuck system. Before I even timed myself I realized I didn't even have to remove the chuck from the lathe! I could just 'pop' each jaw out, in place, and then I could slide the new one in while still on the lathe.
A jaw kew is included that fits into a hole on the end of the jaw and releases the spring snap-lock. When the 'keeper' mechanism is disengaged the jaw will pop out about a 1/4". You simply slide the jaw out and slide in the new jaw.
The new jaw simply slides into place and you can hear and feel a snap when the jaw is locked into the chuck correctly. What were my timing results? It only took me about 30 seconds to replace all four jaws! Not a scientific analysis but you get the idea!
Changing the jaws is fast but how does the chuck work on the lathe? I've already said that this is a solid piece of equipment. The jaws are made with a ten degree dovetail gripping feature.
The jaws can chuck your work by both gripping onto tenons and expanding into recesses. The dovetail shape provides a mechanical connection between the jaw and the work-piece.
These two pictures show the chuck gripping a tenon on the bottom of a bowl. The dovetail shape ensures that the tenon won't slip out of the grip of the jaws. For safety reasons and for good alignment between the bowl and chuck, you should bottom-out at the surface of the bowl and not the jaw base...as shown in the close-up photograph.
You can also cut an angled recess into the bottom of your bowl (project) and open the dovetail jaws into the recess. This photo shows the jaws bottoming out again on the bottom of the project and not the base of the chuck. As this is not as strong a gripping approach as with a tenon, the Users Manual goes into quite a bit of detail on cutting the recess, describing the amount of surrounding wood required around the recess and depth of the recess.
Also, after changing the jaws on the chuck, I can quickly and easily mount a birdcage awl handle ready for finishing.
As the company name Easy Wood Tools implies, the Easy Chuck is an easy to use and extremely well built piece of equipment. As with their other tools, the Easy Chuck is 100 percent designed and manufactured in America. It may sound like a cliché but the Easy Chuck allows you to spend more time turning and less time adjusting and messing around with jaw changes. I would highly recommend this chuck for your shop!
CLICK HERE to find out more about the Easy Chuck by Easy Wood Tools
Jeffrey Fleisher has been a woodworker for approximately 20 years and a professional woodworker for the past 6 years. He is the president of his local woodturning club, the Woodturners of the Virginias and past president of the Northern Virginia Carvers. You can see some of the furniture he has made at www.jeffswooddesigns.com. He can be reached by email at