Nova2 vs Vicmarc: Advice please

Nova2 vs Vicmarc: Advice please

Post by Jerry Hal » Mon, 31 May 2004 06:08:54



The new Nova 2 with 75 mm  jaws is about $7 less than the Vicmarc 120
(5-1/2) with 2-1/2" jaws at the Aussie site discussed earlier.  As a new
turner on a PM3520A which would you advise?  Vicmarc is proven, Nova2 is a
bit new but a natural evolution.  Both seem to have some sort of indexing
feature, but I don't know how useable that is.  Both have hex keys and
closed backs.  Vicmarc maybe a bit more hefty.

Any comments appreciated.

Jerry Hall

 
 
 

Nova2 vs Vicmarc: Advice please

Post by Bill Rubenstei » Mon, 31 May 2004 08:51:10


Let me see...

With Vicmarc you have a history of fine products and good support.  With Tech you have a
history of quality control problems, issues of poor design, redesign and more redesign,...,
new products because the old ones just are not getting the job done...

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

I use Oneway chucks, btw -- a Stronghold and a Talon -- both first-rate, problem-free chucks.

Bill


Quote:
> The new Nova 2 with 75 mm  jaws is about $7 less than the Vicmarc 120
> (5-1/2) with 2-1/2" jaws at the Aussie site discussed earlier.  As a new
> turner on a PM3520A which would you advise?  Vicmarc is proven, Nova2 is a
> bit new but a natural evolution.  Both seem to have some sort of indexing
> feature, but I don't know how useable that is.  Both have hex keys and
> closed backs.  Vicmarc maybe a bit more hefty.

> Any comments appreciated.

> Jerry Hall


 
 
 

Nova2 vs Vicmarc: Advice please

Post by Lyn J. Mangiamel » Mon, 31 May 2004 09:16:55


There are several factors to consider in purchasing a new chuck.

IMO one of the most significant factors is does the chuck have available
  jaws sets that most meet your present and future turning needs. A
chuck is no better than its jaw sets, and its jaw sets can function no
better than the precision of the chuck to which it is mounted. Thus I
don't believe you can consider them independently.

This is not quite as much of an issue as it was even five years ago, as
most of the major players have worked hard to develop a range of jaw
styles. Teknatool and Aximinster have the widest range, Oneway has
almost caught up with the jaws available for its Stronghold (but not IMO
for the Talon), and Vicmark follow at the rear with still a varied set
of choices.

But again, the widest range is not necessarily meaningful for you unless
you are ever apt to be so varied in your turning tastes that you will
need a chuck to do every sort of turning task. So again, try to look to
the jaws available with an eye to how they meet your present and most
likely future needs.

Teknatool has one advantage over all of the others, in that all of its
main series of jaw sets will fit all of its chucks. There is presently
one very large jaw set (and likely in the future there will be 2-3 more
jaw sets that will only fit their largest chuck), but all their other
many many jaws will fit all of their current offerings. This IMO is
significant advantage for many, as quite a few turners eventually
purchase a second, or upgrade from their first chuck. It is infinitely
frustrating to have a moderate size chuck, have several jaw sets, and
find out that those jaws won't install on your new larger chuck. You can
not move  your Talon jaws to the Stronghold, you cannot move the jaw
sets from the smaller Aximinster or Vicmark chucks to their larger
models, but you can with the Teknatool chucks, with any Nova or
SuperNova jaw set fitting on the new SuperNova 2 or Titan chucks. This
means a lot to me, but of course, if you believe you will never purchase
another chuck, it can be a moot issue.

Vicmarks have a outstanding reputation for precision and smooth
operation, perhaps not quite as precise as the big Axminster, but
otherwise notable so. I haven't yet obtained a SuperNova 2, but given my
experience with the Titan, my guess is that is will be significantly
more precise than its predecessor, of which I now have seven and have
liked using them.

In all my years of turning, I have yet to use indexing for any reason,
and I doubt I ever will. Now this isn't to say that indexing won't be
essential for some turners how carve or route or drill their turnings on
the lathe, but for typical bowl, box, hollow form work it is unlikely
you will ever use it. If you should require it, many lathes have
indexing built in and IMO again, this is preferable to lines scribed on
a chuck. So from my perspective (and I am sure others will give theirs)
indexing on a chuck is pretty useless.

Key operation is a major consideration for many. Frankly, the older
SuperNova had a rather unfriendly chuck key that was difficult to fit
into the gearing. The Talon/Oneway key is better, but really about the
minimum one should expect in a chuck. The Vicmark has traditionally been
viewd was having one of the most convenient of keys, it being a six
sided Allen wrench style. However, the new Titan and SuperNova 2 chucks
now use a ball headed hex key style that IME has been even nicer than
the Vicmark. The ball end is almost self guiding into the socket, and
allows the key to be approached a bit of center. It also allow the key
to be manipulated a bit off from perpendicular, which can sometimes be
handy when working with larger turnings that can crowd the space available.

There is more to be said and I am sure that others will share their
experiences. Frankly, it is hard to go too wrong with a quality modern
chuck from any of the major players: Oneway, Axminster, Vicmark or
Teknatool. Many have strong opinions about their chucks, but I would
suggest you consider just how many different kinds of chucks the person
has actually had experience with.

BTW, you can obtain my review of the Titan chuck here:
  http://www.fholder.com/Woodturning/lyn.html

I have chucks from the others, and really like the Talon for a mini
lathe, but I personally am partial to the Teknatool jaw sets and now the
new series of chuck bodies. Again, your needs and thus preferences, may
differ.

Lyn

Quote:

> The new Nova 2 with 75 mm  jaws is about $7 less than the Vicmarc 120
> (5-1/2) with 2-1/2" jaws at the Aussie site discussed earlier.  As a new
> turner on a PM3520A which would you advise?  Vicmarc is proven, Nova2 is a
> bit new but a natural evolution.  Both seem to have some sort of indexing
> feature, but I don't know how useable that is.  Both have hex keys and
> closed backs.  Vicmarc maybe a bit more hefty.

> Any comments appreciated.

> Jerry Hall

 
 
 

Nova2 vs Vicmarc: Advice please

Post by Jerry Hal » Mon, 31 May 2004 16:57:27


Lyn,

Thanks very much for your careful and thorough reply to my query.  I read
your Titan review, checked on the range of accessories you highlighted at
the Craft Supply and Technatool sites.  I think I see your points and they
make sense for me. A couple of follow-up questions:
1. Would you have reservations in getting the SuperNova2 at this early stage
in its production and release cycle?  It's my first chuck.  I presume you
would not have reservations, since it is an evolution of the SuperNova, and
an application of the proven design of the Titan.
2. Would you get the 50mm jaws or 75mm on a first chuck?

Thanks again,

Jerry

 
 
 

Nova2 vs Vicmarc: Advice please

Post by william_b_nobl » Mon, 31 May 2004 17:10:23


one consideration on the older novas at least was their horrible chuck key -
I actually wore out one chuck in a year or two of light use - the Vicmarc
chucks use an allen wrench - I'm much happier with the allen wrench for
tightening - I use my Super Nova with the smallest jaws only.

I think if you get one or two jaw sets you will be all set, don't worry too
much about it.


Quote:
> The new Nova 2 with 75 mm  jaws is about $7 less than the Vicmarc 120
> (5-1/2) with 2-1/2" jaws at the Aussie site discussed earlier.  As a new
> turner on a PM3520A which would you advise?  Vicmarc is proven, Nova2 is a
> bit new but a natural evolution.  Both seem to have some sort of indexing
> feature, but I don't know how useable that is.  Both have hex keys and
> closed backs.  Vicmarc maybe a bit more hefty.

> Any comments appreciated.

> Jerry Hall

 
 
 

Nova2 vs Vicmarc: Advice please

Post by gu » Mon, 31 May 2004 22:08:52


Jerry, Presently I have a Supernova for a couple years now and have
never had a problem with mine either with grip or quality. The only
real complaint you hear about Supernovas is the key and once you
figure it out it becomes a non-issue. Gripping power is fine as many a
poor crushed piece of wood will testify to. It seems that the
Supernova2 is just an evolution of convenience (the key). I like the
open back of the Supernova, makes cleaning a snap so the closed back
for me is moot. The Supernova is a medium size chuck where the Vic
120, Stronghold and Nova Titan are all larger. I don't have anything
against Vicmarc (I have a Vicmarc lathe) or Oneway. Their product
lines are awesome. Teknatool also has a good product line of
practical, reasonably priced equipment, the 3000 lathe IMHO is the
best lathe for under $2000 (former owner). One thing to look at as
Lynn said is the availability of jaw sets, frankly I think all these
chucks have the power to hold whatever you want, just match the jaws
to your work. Also, if you plan on getting another chuck later will
your present jaws fit? Is there a "bare" chuck offered (just a chuck
body) so you can add another chuck for less$$? I am going to get a
Supernova "companion" ($130 +/-) so my present jaws will fit and will
also fit the new Titan also. So my opinion, get a Supernova with a few
jaw sets from KMS Tools or check e-bay. You will still have a good
chuck and still have saved some $$. Good luck,  Guy
 
 
 

Nova2 vs Vicmarc: Advice please

Post by Lyn J. Mangiamel » Tue, 01 Jun 2004 02:29:07


Hi Jerry,

1. You arrived at a more succint answer than I could have generated.

I will make a general comment. As you read, some have had issues with
Teknatool quality control and failure rates and there is some basis for
this. Here is how I see it. Teknatool is a small company. They recognize
that they must have there own niche as they can't just go up against the
big Taiwanese production facilities, or companies that can underwrite
their turning activities because they are a spinoff of a larger
successful nonturning related company. So what Teknatool has chosen to
do, and I greatly appreciate this, is to make innnovative products that
are moderately priced. There are clear "up sides" to this, and they are
well illustrated by the original Nova chuck and the Nova 3000 lathe. As
is mentioned in the Titan review, it was Teknatool who developed the
first commercially available 4 jaw scroll chuck--what has now been the
basis of almost all the scroll chucks. It was also Teknatool who
developed a way for a swivel headstock to be conveniently locked into
position with reasonable precision (previously, and still on most other
lathes,you have to re-align the headstock with the tailstock after
pivoting). Teknatool also brought us the first lathe (at least to my
knowledge) that had an easily extendable bed through additional
inexpensive bed sections. Of course, the most notable recent innovation
from Teknatool has been the DVR lathe with a new style of direct drive
motor which is integrated directly into the headstock (and no it wasn't
Poolewood, whose lathes I greatly admire, but whose motor was really
just bolted directly to the headstock rather than integrated into it).
Despite all this innovation, Teknatool has tried to aim their products
to the large mass of recreational woodturners, rather than just the well
heeled or professional woodturner for whom money was less of an object
when it came to obtaining ultimate performance or reliability under
extreme use.

So yes, some early models of Teknatool products have had some teething
pains, and Teknatool has been taken to task for this. And yes, some
Teknatool products are less robust than more deliberately rugged models
that have cost twice (or more) as much. The Nova 3000 or DVR are not as
rugged as a Stubby or Oneway lathe costing two to three times as much,
but interestingly, due to Teknatool innovation, they have some very
desirable features not found on most bigger, more expensive lathes
(repeatable position headstocks, the incredible smoothness of the DVR,
etc). Of course, many who have been quick to note the problems with some
Teknatool products have experienced, have failed to equally note the
usually exceptional support and generosity of Teknatool and its
retailers in resolving any problems. Quite a few people who had
problems, myself included, ended up with a replacement that was of far
greater value than the original.

There was also a problem with a all to large batch of jaw sets being
improperly stamped as to number. Of course then they did not fit
properly when matched by number for packaging (Teknatool chucks, like
many chucks, have each jaw section matched to a specific jaw slide).
This resulted in some quite legitimate frustration on the part of those
who obtained the mismatched (but seemingl correctly numbered) sets. So a
company makes say 10 thousand jaw sets without problem, through an
employee error say 200 bad numbered jaw sets make it into the field, and
there are now 200 turners who are justifiably unhappy. What comes next
is how these people were dealt with (and I think most would say they
were dealt with very fairly). Yet damage is done to the reputation of a
company and the credibility of the specific product, yet the design (and
usual manufacture) of the product is still as functional solid as ever.

So, to bring this back to the new SuperNova chuck. Interestingly the new
chuck is actually a rather conservative offering from Teknatool. As you
so aptly said, it as just an evolution of the SuperNova design and to a
great extent has brought proven chuck design pioneered by others (the
closed back, the external key operation--which BTW means non-direct
activation of the gears) to the SuperNova. So actually the SuperNova 2
is a very conservative advancement, though one with nice little original
features like the ball end hex key that is also found on the Titan.

2. OK this one will be short. Of all my chucks, here is the approximate
order of usage of jaws for the kind of work I do (mostly hollowforms and
  bowls): Teknatool #2 jaws; Teknatool PowerGrip jaws (the smaller
original set); the Oneway #1 pin jaw set (I use them on a Talon, but
they can be fitted to a SuperNova with only the slightest of
modification); the Oneway Jumbo Jaws fitted to a SuperNova; the
Teknatool 38mm Spigot Jaws (I wish I had the 45 mm set too); and now the
new Titan sized large PowerGrip jaws.

Now my needs and priorities may not match yours, so don't put too much
stock in my preferences. I find the #2 jaws (i.e., the standard 50 mm
jaws) to be the most versatile size, and indeed this is what many other
turners and manufacturers have found, which is why they tend to be the
standard jaw sets which come with most chucks). You will see that I
quickly branch out to a much larger and a much smaller jaw set. The
standard PowerGrip jaws are some of my favorite jaw sets and one of the
reasons I am partial to Teknatool chucks (remember, that the pairing
must be considered as one, both chuck and jaw--and this is a good
example). I use these jaws a lot for bigger work, and though I really
prefer face plates for hollow forms, I go with the Powergrip jaws any
time I don't use a faceplate (say if I know I'll have to be removing and
replacing the turning). The Oneway #1 extended "pin" jaws are great for
smaller work and natural edge pieces and offer a bit more holding in
"pin" mode than their Teknatool cousins. Particularly if you don't have
access to vacuum chucking (and if this is your first chuck, you almost
surely don't and won't soon in the future), a Jumbo Jaw/Cole Jaw set is
most helpful for reverse turning of bowls. I started with the Mini-Jumbo
jaw set because at the time it was the only one that would fit on my Jet
Mini, then it was just a natural progression to get the Oneway Jumbo Jaw
set for my larger lathe (both are mounted to SuperNovas), but since that
time Teknatool has come out with a smaller set of Cole Jaws to
compliment their standard Cole Jaws (BTW, this is another example of
Teknatool innovation, them being the first to offer this style, with
Oneway and others later copying the Teknatool Cole Jaws).

I haven't seen the 75 mm jaws yet (at least I don't think so, I know
more new jaw sets are on their way, and I'm not sure if this is one I've
seen) so they may be something different, but if they are only a larger
version of the #2 jaw set, I think you will probably do best starting
with the #2s and then determining your needs from there. Rarely will one
be content having only one jaw set, so I'd say go with the most
versatile now, but recognize you will likely get one or two other sets
in the future. Of course if what you really want to do is mount 16 inch
hollow forms or bowls, go straight to the PowerGrip jaws.

Lyn

Quote:

> Lyn,

> Thanks very much for your careful and thorough reply to my query.  I read
> your Titan review, checked on the range of accessories you highlighted at
> the Craft Supply and Technatool sites.  I think I see your points and they
> make sense for me. A couple of follow-up questions:
> 1. Would you have reservations in getting the SuperNova2 at this early stage
> in its production and release cycle?  It's my first chuck.  I presume you
> would not have reservations, since it is an evolution of the SuperNova, and
> an application of the proven design of the Titan.
> 2. Would you get the 50mm jaws or 75mm on a first chuck?

> Thanks again,

> Jerry

 
 
 

Nova2 vs Vicmarc: Advice please

Post by Jerry Hal » Wed, 02 Jun 2004 13:46:30


Guy, Lyn, William, and others

Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed consideration of my needs.  I have
decided to go with the Vicmarc 120 as my first, but most certainly not my
last chuck.  But as you all say I wouldn't go wrong with either.  My
"reasoning" is that:
- Definitely want a hex key driven chuck, based on the feedback I have
gotten here and with a local "mentor" with a variety of chewed up keys.
- Am not one to try something that is just new out the door (Nova 2), and
that I haven't been able to talk to someone with direct experience.
Especially for my first chuck, and ordering it all the way from Australia.
I am sure by the end of the year there will be a lot of Nova2 users to talk
to, but my need is now and I am risk adverse.
- Like the idea of having one bigger chuck for the PM3520A, and can always
get smaller chuck such as the Nova2 as my interests grow.  I doubt I will be
wanting to swap the basic jaws out of the Vicmarc as I understand I will be
likely to use the 2-1/2" most of the time.
- I have actually had some hands on time with the VM120 recently, so I know
what I am getting.

So, unless my reasoning is wobbly, I will be ordering the VM120 in the a.m.

Thanks again.  You have all been most kind.

Jerry