Delta Nova Reversible Chuck - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A 4-jaw self centering chuck that makes a great addition to anyone's turning kit


Delta Nova Reversible Chuck

Sooner or later just about every turner will purchase a geared chuck - it opens up a wider range of turning possibilities, and makes holding larger stock a lot easier.
The Delta Nova Chuck (46-461) is designed to be used with smaller mini or midi style lathes that have up to a 14" swing. This chuck is made by Teknatool for Delta. The Teknatool G3 chuck and the Delta Nova chuck have two differences. The Nova has serrated jaws, while on the G3 the jaws are smooth. The smooth jaws are less likely to mar stock, but threaded jaws provide a more secure grip. The Nova  also has an anti-release spindle lock (essentially two set screws) that ensures the chuck will stay securely mounted on the lathe spindle during forward and reverse turning applications.

The Nova chuck with serrated jaws
The Nova chuck with smooth jaws
The 46-461 is a key-operated, self-centering 4-jaw chuck that is precision made from hardened steel, and weighs in at just over 3 pounds when assembled. A heavy chuck is preferable, as it helps absorb vibration. There are four removable jaws that are mounted onto captive sliding arms by means of two screws per jaw. Reference numbers stamped on both the jaws and arms make the assembly process straightforward.

The only thing I don't like is the small Allen wrench. You need to use the short arm of the wrench to apply sufficient torque to seat the grub screw; the wrench doesn't entirely clear the top of the jaw, making the tightening process a bit awkward. An auto-stop features prevents the sliding arms falling out of the chuck when you fully retract the jaws. I like that the jaws and jaw sliders only protrude about 3/16" from the side of the chuck body, making for safer turning. I found that the jaws moved very smoothly, with eight complete revolutions of the chuck key completely opening or closing them.

Captive sliding arm
Jaws and sliders protrude 3/16" from the side of the chuck
The 46-461 has a 1" x 8 TPI direct thread, which means that it will fit on virtually any of the popular smaller lathes. However, if you have a different spindle thread on your lathe, no worries - you can buy a chuck insert from Teknatool. The insert is attached to the back of the chuck, and then onto your lathe. The insert is attached to the back of the chuck, and then onto your lathe.

Anti-release spindle lock
Chuck key is very effective
The self-centering feature on this chuck is very nice; each of the four jaws moves in and out simultaneously as you turn the chuck key, so that mounting or removing stock is super quick, and the four jaws can accommodate square, rectangular or round stock.

Sliding arms and jaws are labeled for accurate matching
Serrated jaws on the inside andandddovetail angle outside edge
There are, in fact, four ways to hold stock with this chuck. The first two methods use the sliding jaws. You can turn a dovetail recess (from 2" to 2-3/4" diameter) into the bottom of a work piece and then retract the jaws to expand into the dovetail recess. Bowl turners seem to like this method.

Alternately, you can simply compress the jaws onto your stock. This is the method I generally use, as I primarily turn furniture hardware - handles, pulls, plugs and the like - and tool handles. In compression (or spigot) mode you can hold round stock from 1-13/16" to 2-5/16" diameter, and square or rectangular stock from 1-5/8" to 2".

Wormwood screw
Screw mounted in chuck
You can also remove the jaws to mount small diameter round or square stock using the sliding arms. This enables you to turn stock as small as 3/16", and up to 1" for round stock and 11/16" for square stock. The 46-461 also comes with a wormwood screw. It's just a large diameter screw with a boss on one end that enables the screw to be held in place by the sliding jaws.

I find it a very fast and effective way to mount smaller bowls; simply drill an appropriately sized hole in the bottom of your stock (9/32" for softwoods and 5/16" for hardwoods) and then spin the stock onto the screw. The screw thread is 1-1/8" long, but when installed approximately 5/8" of the thread will be embedded into your stock.

Securely hold square stock up to 2" with jaws
Hold stock as small as 3/16 with jaws removed
There are limitations on the length of stock that you can safely mount on the 46-461. The following chart gives the work holding capacities.

Woodworm screw10" (250 mm)4" (100 mm)600
Dovetail operation12" (310 mm)4" (100 mm)600
Spigot operation4" (100 mm)6" (150 mm)850
Jaw slide only operation
1" (25.4 mm) (round)
11/16" (17 mm) (square)
6" (150 mm)850
Jaw slide only operationup to 5/16" (8 mm)*6" (150 mm)1800*   
*for smaller diameter
The design of this chuck results in excellent holding power whether you are gripping stock in expansion (dovetail) mode or compression (spigot) mode. The outside edge of the jaws have a dovetail profile (for holding stock with a shallow dovetail recess turned on your stock) and the insides of the jaws are serrated and bite into whatever they're holding, providing high tear-out strength. I mounted the chuck on the Delta 46-460 lathe, and it runs as smooth as butter; no vibration whatsoever.
The 46-461 makes a great addition to anyone's turning kit. It's got everything that you need to turn stock up to about 4" by 12", or as small as 3/16" x 6". Plus, as your turning skills improve you can take advantage of the various chuck accessories offered by Teknatool.



  • 4-jaw self-centering chuck
  • 2" jaw set
  • 1" x 8 TPI direct thread
  • 3-1/2" diameter
  • 2-3/4" projection
  • 3.1 lbs (assembled)
  • Auto-stop jaw slides
  • Anti-release spindle lock
  • Expansion (dovetail) mode capacity: 2" to 2-3/4"
  • Compression (spigot) mode capacity: 1-13/16" to 2-5/16" (round stock) and 1-5/8" to 2" (square stock)
  • Compression mode with jaws removed: 3/16" to 1" (round stock) and 11/16" (square stock)
  • Wormwood screw capacity: 10" diameter x 4" long
  • 2 year warranty
  • Includes: wormwood screw, chuck key, hex wrenches, instruction sheet

AVAILABLE FROM:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
MODEL #:46-461
Carl Duguay, December 2010
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