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Oneway Stronghold Chuck
Compact power for the big jobs
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 2-4-2011
When I got my Powermatic 3520B lathe I wanted to get a chuck that was capable of holding the material sizes this lathe can handle. I have used a Oneway Talon Chuck for years on my smaller lathes and continue to use it on my JET 1014 today. Considering my success with the Talon the Oneway Stronghold Chuck was the only real contender for my big lathe.
The Oneway Stronghold Chuck kit shown in this review comes with the chuck itself, a set of #2 jaws, a T-handle hex wrench for changing jaws and the threaded bushing, the special T-handle wrench for driving the jaws an instruction booklet. This kit came with the threaded bushing for my lathe but you can buy that insert separately and the chuck kit without an adapter.
As I have come to expect from Oneway their Stronghold Chuck exudes quality everywhere you look. There is no plastic anywhere because there is no room amongst all of the precision-machined steel. The 8-lb vibration absorbing weight of the Oneway Stronghold Chuck is confined in a 4-1/2”-diameter nickel-plated body. That bit of shiny ends the glitter and “glam” stuff. The Oneway Stronghold Chuck is all business and meant to last a very long time.
The Oneway Stronghold Chuck is a single wrench, four jaw scrolling chuck that uses a large T-handled wrench to tighten and loosen the powerful jaws. Scrolling means that all four jaws move equally when the wrench is turned. That makes centering the stock in this chuck automatic and eliminates you having to grow an extra arm or two when working alone in the shop. All of the gear drive components are made from high quality steel and precisely manufactured, insuring smooth, dependable operation.
The gearing that drives the scrolling jaws applies a surprising amount of power to hold the large and heavy objects that the bigger lathes can work with. I expect that the Oneway Stronghold Chuck can hold more than is reasonable for even my Powermatic 3520B but I no reason to find out. With a little common sense use the Oneway Stronghold Chuck can handle virtually all of your needs safely.
Rather than cut threads in each Oneway Stronghold Chuck they opted for a removable taper lock threaded bushing that contains one of a wide range of available spindle threads. Later if you change to a lathe with a different spindle thread you replace only the thread bushing and keep on using the Oneway Stronghold Chuck. That can represent a huge cost savings that for the average woodturner can make the difference between getting a new lathe or not.
Oneway has put a lot of engineering into their jaw design and that effort is very evident when you start mounting wood in it. The jaws have a stepped profile that lets them lock onto round or square stock. The #2 jaw set that is included grips round material from 1-3/4" to 3" and square material from 1-3/8" to 3"-diameter. The outer faces of the jaws have a small angle that lets them expand into dovetail shaped recesses from 2-1/2" to 4"-diameter. Between the taper on the outside of the jaws and a slightly dovetail shape to the recess in your project the Oneway Stronghold Chuck gets a very secure grip while staying out of the way.
Oneway offers a full range of accessory jaws that screw right onto the Oneway Stronghold Chuck. Between the Oneway Stronghold Chuck itself and the jaws that you can put on it, the range of work-holding possibilities can really expand your potential project list.
One of my favorite things about the Oneway Stronghold Chuck (and the Talon) is the Wood Worm screw they developed. This 1/2" x 1-1/2" RH jumbo wood worm screw has oversized threads on a very stout shaft to grab wooden blanks and hold tight. The “back end” of the Wood Worm is machined to fit into the Oneway Stronghold Chuck jaws and lock in place.
This Wood Worm screw is great for mounting large bowl blanks and many other project types. Apply the tailstock to steady the wood at least initially and you can do nearly all of the rounding and shaping of the sides and bottom of a bowl. Cut a recess in the bottom and you can then turn the blank around to finish the inside of the bowl. That same holding power can be applied to platters and many other projects that you can think up.
In the Shop
Note: This review has taken longer than any other I have done, partially because I forgot about it for a while but mainly because I was using this chuck almost constantly. Suffice it to say that the Oneway Stronghold Chuck in the accompanying photos and video has been stress tested longer than any other tool I have reviewed!
I love tools that are overbuilt for the job and the Oneway Stronghold Chuck certainly fits that description. I am sure they could have used somewhat lower quality materials and probably less of metal overall but that’s not how they build things. If the Oneway Stronghold Chuck wears out in one persons’ lifetime that person has done an extraordinary amount of heavy-duty turning. Chances are that for mere mortal folks like you and I, the Oneway Stronghold Chuck will be like new forever.
Operating the Oneway Stronghold Chuck is as simple as it looks. Insert the T-handle wrench in one of two access holes in the body and tighten the jaws as needed. That wrench has a pin machined into its end that engages a hole in the gear mechanism to prevent miss alignments that could damage the gearing. This is a nice, very tough system that lets you apply a bunch of holding pressure without straining enough to make your face red.
The jaws are probably the most underappreciated part of the Oneway Stronghold Chuck. The design along with the quality of the manufacturing means that the jaws grip wood exceptionally well. Both the inner and outer sides work equally well without lots of special preparation. Cut a decent recess and the Oneway Stronghold Chuck can grab into it very firmly. It took me a little while to become confident in that holding power but in a bit over four years of evaluation I have never had a piece come free or even loosen up much. The wood can still crush a bit and you should stop once in a while and see if the jaws need a bit of tightening but the Oneway Stronghold Chuck grips wood better than any chuck I have used.
The Wood Worm is remarkable in how well it holds wood. If you drill the correct size pilot as they tell you in the manual the Wood Worm simply will not slip. I use the Wood Worm far more than I thought I would simply because it works so well and holds so tightly. The bottom lug on the Wood Worm makes installing it in the Oneway Stronghold Chuck easy and insures that it is not going to come loose while turning. It just works as they say. It’s as simple as that.
If you have a mid to large capacity wood lathe the Oneway Stronghold should be high on your list when shopping for a chuck. It is very well made, easy to use and will probably outlast all of us. Factor in the wide range of jaw sets that bolt up to the Oneway Stronghold Chuck and the list of potential projects that it can handle is virtually endless.
With a street price of $286.99 without a thread adapter and $299.00 (2-3-2011) with an adapter the Oneway Stronghold Chuck is one of the better values we can get in woodturning. Its versatility and quality will make your life at the lathe more fun, more productive and safer. If you don’t have a chuck for your lathe yet, or are tired of fighting the one that you have, check out the Oneway Stronghold Chuck. You deserve it!
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