Scroll Chucks and Jaws

What Are Scroll Chucks?

Learn about scroll chucks and jaws from Sam Angelo… good stuff!

This started as a test post but when I started watching Sam’s video on Scroll Chucks and Jaws for Wood lathes I thought it would be perfect to post here for anyone getting started or just trying to understand what these pieces of machinery really are.

When I got started I was really confused when it came to scroll chucks, I had to watch many, many videos and do a lot of ready before deciding which one I wanted ….I wish I would have found Sam’s video because it really clears things up. Anyway…. enjoy the video and thank you Sam!


In this tutorial Sam discuses important factors in the selection of scroll chucks and jaws. His collection of scroll chucks spans tenon sizes from 3/8″ to 5 1/2″ as well as many profiles for various projects.



I saw it on Rockler Woodworking and Hardware

Rockler – Search Results for lathe chucks


 Couple comments from
the video on Scoll Chucks


Have you ever consider of buying wood lathe chuck quick change system like those two: 1- Barracuda 5 Quick Change Jaw Chuck System with FREE Pen Blank Drilling Jaws 2- Nova Infinity Quick Change Chuck System (you can also buy only some parts to make your old Nova2 chuck/jaws to make it/hose a quick change system). I’m starting looking and I think I’d buy the Barracuda 5 because it is seems to me to be a faster quick change system and I like to have many jaws options (4 sets of jaws and a central screw are included. The only thing with this choice is, after the price issue (I am in Quebec Canada), for the sake of security and speed, I would rather like to have an hexagonal wrench for jaws tightening instead of having a key that penetrates the chuck.

Hi Sam, I want to turn very small items. Down to 8mm or possibly even smaller if I can. I want to use the central machinery 10×18″ lathe from harbor freight. Could you possibly suggest which kind of chuck I should use?
Kmsan I think what you need to look for are “pin” jaws. You could buy a number of small scroll chucks, with or without the jaws: (Body only). Pin jaws can hold very small items. You can check the dimensions in the description of the jaws. Something like this—–

Home Made Wood Lathe Scoop Chuck

Home Made Wood
Lathe Scoop Chuck

I really enjoy woodturning and the longer I’m at it the more cool stuff I find out you can turn and tools you can build. In this article I’m going to show you how to make your own set of scroll wood chuck jaws that will fit any woodturning chuck.

Maybe you’ve had some questions on wood lathe chucks, sometimes called “scroll chucks” such as which one to buy or which would be the best lathe chuck for the money.

Now Using a SuperNova Scroll Chuck

I ended up getting the SuperNova 2 wood scroll chuck, it uses all the jaws that Nova makes ….I think ­čÖé I only have 2 sets of jaws as I write this but I’ve discovered that some guys/girls actually build their own custom jaws for their wood lathe chuck.

Turning Wooden Scoops

A while back I remember watching a guy turn a wooden scoop. Pretty difficult when you think of it, you have the scoop part and the handle part, both on different axis’s. You could probably make it a 2 piece project, in other words you could turn the scoop and handle seperately and then figure out some way to attach the 2 pieces.

I’ll cut to the chase because I was watching Alan from the youtube channel “As The Wood Turns” and he builds a set of jaws that can attach to your wood lathe chuck and works perfectly for turning the scoop after you have turned the handle.

Video on How to Make A Home Made Scoop Chuck

Watch how to Turn Wooden Scoop with Home Made Wood Lathe Chuck

Here are some of the better comments

This scoop is actually my Vicmark vm120 body with wood jaws mounted to the body. The jaws are made from an 8″ by 8″ by 1/2″ piece of Baltic birch plywood(the good stuff). The standard jaws were used as templates to mark bolt holes. The holes were then counter sunk and stabilized with thin CA glue.

The jaws are attached with bolts a little longer than the standard bolts to allow for the additional thickness of my plywood.

On top of the plywood, I glued 2″ thick cedar since that is what I had available. The wood can be anything stable and readily available. This wood is miter cut similar to a picture frame, drilled for outer bolt access, and glued to the plywood.

The jaws can now be customized to hold the current project. For my scoop, I drilled out the center a little smaller than my scoop bowl and removed two opposing jaws.

When the time comes that I have removed too much of the jaws for my then current project, I can either make a new set of jaws or tool off the cedar and glue on new wood pieces. As with any home made tool, please be careful and use your head. Start slow then increase speed to where you are comfortable then dial back a little. As with any home made tool, you are the sole person responsible for its safety and your own safety.


From Charles
I chose your design because it looked the safest. However when I tightened the jaws, the screws pulled the plywood apart. I tried three different ply woods and had the same problem. Still like the design, would like to offer a suggestion for those folks with a Nova chuck. For $19.95 you can purchase a ‘NOVA 6021 Soft Chuck Accessory Jaw Set” from Amazon and mount your wooden jaws on the jaw set instead of PLY wood. The nylon jaws are made to modify for any configuration you need.

Alan comments:
Let me summarize this discussion for others who read this thread. Charles’ original jaws failed because the screws pulled thru the plywood. He found a great solution with the NOVA Soft Chuck. So he is off and running.

Why did his plywood fail? Not all plywood types are equally strong. Some types are very weak and should not be used.

1. Common fir plywood has few, thick plies and many voids. This should not be used for this project
2. Most Hardwood plywood is similar to fir plywood. The only difference is the outer plies are hardwood. This should not be used here.
3. Hardboard, particleboard or MDF core plywood is heavier and no voids. However, the core does not have the strength for this application.
4. Baltic birch (or other similar names) has many thin plies and no voids. It is significantly stronger than the other woods noted. However, it is still wood and not as strong as aluminum or steel. It was adequate for my jaws but I applied CA to the screw holes and am very careful not to overtighten. Then use only at low speeds and avoid standing in the rotational plane.

If your chuck is a Nova chuck then use his solution.

home made wood chuck scroll jaws