Okay, let's get back on track. @gmercer_48083
(Gary) is considering a small, budget wood lathe. He asked about a chuck and probably is not interested in one that weighs more than 100 pounds. Here are my responses:
The Harbor Freight lathe looks identical to the Excelsior lathes that I have seen. I know several people who have the Excelsior lathes, and they are all pleased with them.
The Excelsior lathe is a good starter lathe. I wish it had a variable speed control, which I find useful. You can change speeds, but it requires a belt change, which is inconvenient. Still, it is a good value and will serve you well.
The Harbor Freight and Excelsior lathes have the same fittings:
-> Morris Taper #2 (MT2) tapers on both headstock and tailstock.
-> The head has 1 inch x 8 TPI threads.
If you buy one, you will need the above info frequently.
Most people who are doing wood turning today are buying four-jaw, self-centering chucks. When you buy a chuck for your lathe, that's the kind you want. Don't get a chuck with independent jaws.
A lathe chuck can be used mostly for face turning objects like bowls and platters. (Compare it with "spindle turning.") The jaws have a slight dovetail angle to them, which lets them expand into a recess that you make in the base of the bowl, or contract around a tenon that sticks out from the base of the bowl. Either way works.
The four jaws attach to the jaw slides with small screws. Once you have the basic chuck, you can buy many sizes and styles of jaws to use with it.
I have a Nova G3 30th Anniversary chuck set, which is supposedly a limited edition. It will fit the Harbor Freight lathe. I bought it because it comes with a variety of popular jaw sizes in a nice plastic case. I worry that it might be too expensive for Gary, who is on a tight budget.
I bought the pen jaws for it, and really like them. Even better, they fit inside the plastic case with the other chuck parts.
I became aware of the Nova G3 30th Anniversary set last Spring, but I didn't own a lathe at the time. When I got a lathe a few months ago, the sets were gone. I found one seller that must have had overstock and bought one of the last ones available at the time.
The funny thing is that they came back again recently, but it appears that they are starting to disappear again, too. If you want one, grab it now. I have no idea if this is a recurring theme, or they will go away for good.