Saturday, October 17, 2015

Nova G3 vs. Nova Precision Midi lathe chucks

I've been using a Nova Midi chuck but wanted an upgrade. So when I spied an open box G3 on Amazon Warehouse with 2 sets of jaws for $124 shipped, I bit. The G3 was supposed to be direct threaded for 1x8 threads but instead mine was threaded for 1-1/4x8. No problem, I ring Amazon on the blower (opened a chat with customer service) and told them I would keep it if they gave me credit to buy the proper insert. No problem says Amazon and within 2 days my insert had arrived.

G3 (left) and Precision Midi (right)
The Midi was purchased used and came with 2" and 1" jaws, a woodworm screw, allen keys, and tommy bars for around $50; not a bad deal. The G3 also came with 2" and 1" jaws, a woodworm screw, allen keys, and the wrench doohickey; for a little less than $124. My lathe is still not 100% operational so I haven't turned with the G3 yet so this is not a proper review although I don't believe a review is really necessary. [Update: I have used the G3 a good bit and it performs equal to the Midi although I prefer it since I can scroll the jaws one handed.] The G3 is among the most popular lathe chucks sold and Teknatool makes high quality chucks. What I am doing is comparing size and heft of the two chucks since the G3 looks considerably bigger so you'd expect it to be beefier, but is it?

G3 (left) and Precision Midi (right)

So in about every way, the G3 dwarfs the Midi so you'd expect it to be a heavier duty chuck. But as you can see in the pictures above, the G3 is mostly hollow. Placed on the scale, the G3 weighs in at 55 oz., or 1.56 kg.; the Midi weighs 53 oz. or 1.50 kg. The 2 oz. difference is the G3 has a threaded insert, the Midi is direct threaded for 1x8. They are essentially the same weight.

Precision Midi

Nova G3
One advantage the Midi has over the G3, and it's pretty significant to owners of gap bed lathes, is that being shorter it allows more room for turning platters. The G3 is so long it renders the gap on my Delta 46-111 useless. Of course the main advantage of the G3 and why I wanted to upgrade was that you can open or close the jaws one handed while using the other hand to steady the wood blank or bowl. The Midi chuck requires 3 hands unless your lathe comes with a spindle lock. So was the G3 really an upgrade? It's sounding less and less so, but the G3 also has set screws on the spindle threads so it can be reversed. The Midi has no set screws and if you reversed the lathe it would spin itself right off the spindle.

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