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Cheap chucks from ebay.

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Alastair Spencer14/02/2017 20:11:19
2 forum posts

I've just bought an ex-school Boxford STS 10 20. It's in pretty good shape apart from the Pratt Burnerd 125mm chuck has a missing tooth on jaw number 3. The scroll looks ok. When you compare the cost and availability of replacement jaws, prices are pretty high as is the cost of a new Pratt Burnerd chuck. There are however a selection of Chinese chucks on ebay which are quite cheap.

Has anyone got any experience of these cheap chucks? The prices are tempting!

Tim Stevens14/02/2017 20:39:50
1584 forum posts

Most of the 'standard' suppliers who advertise in the right side column and in MEW etc have stocks of Chinese and Indian chucks. It makes sense to me to contact two or three for advice and information. Tell them the sort of work you need the chuck for, and then chose to buy from the one who is most helpful.

I have a feeling (based on experience) that some of the stuff on ebay* is manufacturer rejects sold on for next to nothing. What else can you do with a bad batch but try to get something for it?

*other sites are available, but I expect you knew that.

Regards, Tim

Tractor man14/02/2017 20:44:04
426 forum posts
1 photos

Hi Alastair.

Snap I have just bought the self same model of lathe. Very happy so far.

Does yours have a D1 3 mount? I have a Pratt burnard on one lathe and a foreign HDM on he other and they are equally good in my opinion.

I also have a Colchester 4 jaw independent and a Chinese 4 jaw self centering and again both are equally good.

But I'm greedy and have a PB multi size collet Chuck and an arc eurotrade ER 32 collet Chuck too quick make round stock holding much more accurate.

Let me know what you think of your boxford.


Neil Wyatt14/02/2017 21:35:43
18990 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

Welcome to the forum Alastair,

My most recent chuck purchase was a Zither one from ASrc Euro, it's Indian and i have no qualms about its quality.


Roger Provins 214/02/2017 22:20:10
344 forum posts

I've bought India made chucks, very good value and nothing wrong with the couple I have.


Ady115/02/2017 10:47:52
5063 forum posts
734 photos

Those cheap chucks can be amazing value

I got a bunch of decent MT1 tailstock chucks for 9 bananas a pop

just swap 'em about when you need a different sized tailstock drill

Bob Rodgerson15/02/2017 11:05:09
611 forum posts
174 photos

Caveat Emptor. If you look at my youtube videos you can see just how appealing some of these things can be. The chuck in question was bought new at the thousand engine rally in Cheshire and is a shining example of poor quality control.

Just search Bob Rodgerson

Ady115/02/2017 11:16:05
5063 forum posts
734 photos

When the price is the equivalent of a bottle of wine or an indian curry then it can be worth the risk of buying one before getting more.

A buddy of mine got a 40,000 pound Merc ten days ago and it's back into the garage tomorrow.... having already been in on Monday....

mark costello 115/02/2017 15:36:50
711 forum posts
12 photos

Bought a Gator Chuck from All Industrial for a 15" Clausing Colchester and it works well.

Speedy Builder515/02/2017 16:21:03
2590 forum posts
207 photos

just 1 tooth missing, Join the club. If the chuck is OK at smaller gripping diameters, I would not replace it, just be careful when you swap jaws about / grip large stuff

MalcB15/02/2017 16:27:07
257 forum posts
31 photos

Like quite a few others I have ended up with a collection of chucks.

At the moment I have only the one Chinese chuck being the RDG HBM 125mm self centring 4 jaw chuck. This is quite a quality piece of kit for its money and I wouldn't hesitate to buy or recommend another HBM chuck if cost is prohibitive.

I have a Pratt Burnard 160mm 3 jaw and one of their 200mm 4 jaws plus a 6" 4 jaw slim body chuck of theirs.

My favourite two chucks by far however, are a 160mm TOS 3 jaw and a new TOS 125mm 3 jaw ( which i aquired at knock down price ). They have more sensitivity and feel more precise than the Pratt. All mine are D1-4 mount either direct or on backing plate.

For a Quality lathe like you have I would seriously recommend looking at getting a deal on a new TOS chuck. The self centre 3 jaw normally becomes the most used chuck and if you can stretch to it I would choose this one carefully.

I do have a Bison 160mm slim bodied 4 jaw chuck D1-3 direct mount surplus if you are stuck for one, Needs a chuck key.


Edited By MalcB on 15/02/2017 16:30:30

Edited By MalcB on 15/02/2017 16:31:46

MW15/02/2017 16:28:55
2051 forum posts
51 photos

It all crucially depends on what sort of standard concentricity we can expect from a properly fitted chuck, holding a nominally sized bar.

I'm guessing we're looking at a repeatability of 0.01mm-0.03mm on most lathe chucks made new today, if you want it any better than that you'll need to spend some bucks!

I bought a zither slim bodied 4 jaw chuck not so long ago like some other folks have mentioned and I rate it pretty highly by the looks of it. I know that the above preponderance only applies to self centring ones.

Michael W

Edited By Michael-w on 15/02/2017 16:32:11

Alastair Spencer15/02/2017 17:28:09
2 forum posts

Thanks for all the replies. A lot to think about! It has a D1 3 mount. I found the broken tooth problem because the chuck was stuck about halfway open, so I dismantled it to see why. I haven't used a lathe much since I was at school so I'll need to start practising again. It is a three phase dual voltage machine so I have wired the motor for delta and am running it from an Invertek drive which I am pretty impressed with. I have mounted a 5K ohm pot under the direction change switch to control the variable speed facility of the drive which could be quite handy.

Breva15/02/2017 20:33:37
89 forum posts
7 photos


I'm not sure if a spare no. 3 from another similar Burnerd chuck would fit without centring issues. Maybe some of the experienced members on here could advise.

The reason I ask is that I have a spare no.,3 which came with my Bantam lathe. I most likely will not use it and if solves your problem then you are welcome to it.

I have put a few pics in one of my albums.


JasonB15/02/2017 20:43:41
22555 forum posts
2634 photos
1 articles

The other alternative is to bide your time and watch e-bay and you can pick up new old stock branded chucks.

Myself and Nick_G both got 5" bison 3-jaws still boxed for less than the cost of a similar sized indian chuck and he also got a multisize ciollet chuck again for very little money, he has a 10 series boxford too.

As for manufactureres returns/rejects I'm happy with my 5" 5C collet chuck which cost me £20 and half hour putting it right to less than 0.0005"TIR


Mikelkie15/02/2017 21:24:18
129 forum posts
13 photos

Bought two of those chinese chucks, but don't tighten too hard, seems the scrolls are not very hard

one chuck developed bad runout on holding 20mm which i use all the time. Very nice when new though.

Rik Shaw15/02/2017 22:56:05
1480 forum posts
398 photos

The 5" Chinese three jaw and the Chinese made four jaw which came with my WARCO WM250 are both very good as regards quality. For hobby oriented machines I would say that they are very adequate indeed. I have no complaints and would recommend them.


Nick_G16/02/2017 18:26:35
1808 forum posts
744 photos
Posted by JasonB on 15/02/2017 20:43:41:


Myself and Nick_G both got 5" bison 3-jaws still boxed for less than the cost of a similar sized indian chuck and he also got a multisize ciollet chuck again for very little money, he has a 10 series boxford too.



I make the remarks here as I have the same lathe as the OP, so relevant.

I think we were just plain and simply lucky and saw them at the right time. (10 of them) - If I had to make a guess about those it would be that the seller did not realise what they had.! (think £100 ish from memory)

When I saw them I was initially reluctant to buy as they were too cheap to be true. Knowing Jason was a fan of Bison kit I let him know about them also. I then had a nosey at the sellers other items for sale and it was all brick-a-brac batches of all sorts. Nothing else was engineering related so I took a guess that they had come to the seller in a batch of something else and bought one. I think what possibly happened is they they saw they had acquired 10 125mm chucks and net searched what would be a good price to shift em quickly and not realising the premium paid for Bison. - The above may or may not be the reason why they were so cheap. But it's a fair guess.

Yes I did manage to grab a brand new Burnerd Multisize. Again I was very fortunate. The guy I bought it off thought his machine had a D1-3 spindle. It didn't it had a D1-4 so was useless to him. I stole it for £300 as nobody else bid. I dread to think what they 'should' cost new. He was far from a happy-chappy having to let it go for that I can tell you.! Also got a new and unused set of collets to go with it from a different source. It's fantastic, a beautiful piece on engineering in it's own right. TBH it's a bit wasted on my Boxford. It deserves to on a much higher grade machine really.

Both the above were lucky opportunities. I don't think they could be relied upon again even if one was willing to bide ones time a Jason suggested.

I also have a new Pratt 80mm chuck. It pains me to say this as a patriotic Brit but the Bison has a better feel to it. sad

ER32 import chuck from ARC is excellent.

4 jaw 100 Vertex is very good value for the money.

I also have a Bison 160mm which is again very good. ........... BUT.!!!

I say the BUT because this is the important bit IMHO. All of the above are on quality backplates except the Bison 4 jaw. (multisize Burnerd does not need one) and they all run very true. Except the Bison 4 jaw which has one of the cheap (£50 mark) backplates fitted. It never goes back true.! However it's a 4 jaw so it does not matter as it gets dialed in anyway each time.

So my advice on this is that if you want very low run out it does not matter if you have a very expensive chuck or not. It's only going to be as good as the weakest link. i.e. you need to put your hand in your pocket to the tune of £80-100 extra on top of the chuck price for a quality D1-3 backplate. Unless of course the chuck has the D1-3 fitting already incorporated like the Burnerd does.

As for run out of a chuck. How much does it really matter anyway.? It's a nice thing to have low run out when remounting partially machined parts etc. But it's a luxury to hobby machinists like most of us here. When we take the 1st cleaning cut on a bar there should be zero run out left. - If it's hyper critical the use of a 4 jaw dialed in is going to be the best option anyway.

Hope the above helps, Nick


Edited By Nick_G on 16/02/2017 18:27:00

Edward Crouch19/02/2017 22:14:25
15 forum posts
2 photos

I've got a few Chinese/Indian chucks. I'm happy with them. I'll never ever trust a chuck for concentricity anyway. Imho independent chucks are the way to go cos you can clock em in. I've stripped and rebuilt mine, and that is well worth doing even brand new because sometimes the assembly cleanliness isn't great, and there are a lot of burrs. Strip, degrease, deburr with a small DMT stone, reassemble with quality grease, and they're fine. My 3jaw SS that came with my Warco 250 is very good actually. Interestingly I wouldn't trust the front face for flatness. When the castings are machined it seems to relieve a fair amount of residual stress and sometimes the front face of the chuck can vary by a tenth or so.

Well, that is my admittedly limited experience. YMMV.

Michael Briggs19/02/2017 23:21:44
220 forum posts
12 photos


I'm guessing we're looking at a repeatability of 0.01mm-0.03mm on most lathe chucks made new today, if you want it any better than that you'll need to spend some bucks!

= 0.3937 to 1.1811 thou, please let me know where I can purchase a standard one, regards, Michael

Edited By Michael Briggs on 19/02/2017 23:25:30

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