Grinding HSS Lathe Tools

I actually made these tools in the run up to christmas, but I never got round to writing a post about them, christmas being it’s usual hectic self. Work of this nature, where the diameter of the workpiece is large in relation to its thickness and where the piece is normally mounted from only one side, is known as ‘faceplate’ turning – even if you use a chuck instead of a faceplate. The bent-tail lathe dog with headless setscrew is considered safer than the dog with the square head screw because the headless setscrew reduces the danger of the dog catching in the operator’s clothing and causing an accident.

Beth Ireland made both of the tools I have from Allen wrenches, the kind with an extra-long leg. I have been turning bowls for a couple of years now and try to soak up as much info as possible. On a properly maintained tool with an established angle, this part is a touch-up process, not a laborious grind, and may be done several times during a turning session if maintaining a really sharp edge is necessary. It was used not for making practical objects, but for decorative work – ornamental turning.

Information on how to achieve maximum sharpness of cutting edges is a lot harder to come by, and that’s the real topic of this page. White lead can be mixed with either lard oil or mineral oil to form a cutting oil which is especially suitable for difficult machining of very hard metals. Here are some simple steps on how to make a small lathe tool rest using simple metal materials that you can easily source at the nearest hardware store in your area. We will also compare and contrast spindle turning on the spring pole and treadle lathes. After you have made a few tools successfully you may want to opt for a betterquality steel.

The chief advantage of using this method is that the work can be removed from the lathe and later replaced for subsequent machining operations without disturbing the trueness of the turned surface in relation to the center holes of the workpiece. If it isn’t sharp it rubs and rubbing leads to heat generation which destroys the cutting edge and the tool is blunt. Tool bits are identified by the function they perform, such as turning or facing.

Skew chisel – these tools are used for fine finishing cuts, bead work, planing cuts and trimming end grain. Think about the action of a plane on timber: you always cut ‘with’ the grain – if you don’t, the wood splinters up and leaves a rough surface. This lathe is easy to build, requires very little material, and can even be knocked down flat when not in use. Most lathe centers have a tapered point with a 60° included angle to fit workpiece holes with the same angle. Processing materials: wood, engineering plastics, soft metal (aluminum, copper, etc. If you think you’ll lake to woodturning with a vengeance, however, stepping up to a more versatile variable speed lathe is worth some thought.

The quick-change tool system (Figure 7-18) consists of a quick-change dovetail tool post with a complete set of matching dovetailed tool holders that can be quickly changed as different lathe operations become necessary. For example, to make a sheet metal bowl, a solid block of wood in the shape of the bowl is required; similarly, to make a vase , a solid template of the vase is required. There is always a square mortising bit (used for cutting mortises with a drill press).

The pulleys on the wheel spindle and motor shaft are interchangeable to provide proper cutting speeds for the various wheel sizes. One of the most important facts often overlooked by beginners is that the cutting face of the grindstone wheel quickly becomes dulled and clogged with metal particles. Here for sale i have a nice old precision model makers lathe made by Massachusetts tool Co Greenfield Mass U.S.A. for spares / repair. Rough and finish turning using these devices is basically the same as for turning between centers.


A self-driving lathe center is a center with serrated ground sides that can grip the work while turning between centers without having to use lathe dogs. In a metalworking lathe , metal is removed from the workpiece using a hardened cutting tool , which is usually fixed to a solid moveable mounting, either a tool-post or a turret, which is then moved against the workpiece using handwheels and/or computer-controlled motors. Experienced machinists have found the following shapes to be useful for different lathe operations.

A small faceplate known as a driving faceplate is used to drive the lathe dog for workpieces mounted between centers. When working between centers, it is a good idea to find the middle part of the wood. This system is hard wearing and reduces the risk of changing the properties of the metal. If you’re turning off a corner, start removing wood at that corner and gradually work your way back along the workpiece until you’ve reached the desired form. As the he brings the tool to the wheel, and especially when he removes it, he’s careful not to grind on the cutting edge. Maybe this will help fill in the gap left by my severe lack of turning content!

Machinist Table 7-2 lists specific ranges of cutting speeds for turning and threading various materials under normal lathe conditions, using normal feeds and depth of cuts. It comes with everything necessary and important for most types of turning – five speeds, a bearing center for the tail stock, a spur center and face plate – and can even be lengthened with an optional bed extension to accommodate stock long enough for table legs and balusters.

Speed changing is normally effected by moving belts onto different-sized pulleys but many newer lathes now incorporate electronic variable speed systems and a few have mechanical speed variation systems – like the one in our photograph which shows a PooleWood PW28-40 heavy duty lathe. I like box joints to be symmetrical from side to side so we ended up gang cutting the side pieces first and then cut the appropriate layout on the back piece.

She turned some simple handles, jammed the newly ground Allen wrenches in place, and the tools were ready to go. I would suggest taking your tools with you to your local turning club, or a Rockler, Woodcraft or similar store where someone can help show you how to re-establish and maintain the angles on your particular tools if they are way off. To make sure you receive our emails in your Inbox, drag them from the new Gmail Promotions Tab over to your primary Inbox.

The lathe speed should be set for a finish cut, and the feed is supplied by cranking the handwheel of the compound rest, thus producing a clean and short steep taper with an included angle of 60°. Whether you choose the convenience of pre-drilled blanks, or the myriad options available in undrilled blanks, you’ll need one specialty piece of equipment to complete the package: a pen mandrel The mandrel, together with a set of appropriately sized bushings, allows you to securely mount the prepared blank on the lathe. This tool is very useful when facing work to length, turning a shoulder, or cutting an accurate groove.

They’re typically not very sharp, may have negative rake and may have coatings that only function at high cutting rates that produce high temperatures. Since you already own a Powermatic lathe why don’t you and Nicole take up turning and make a series of podcasts showing us the learning curve. Check each lathe prior to operation for any missing parts or broken shear pins. I was not sure whether to put the page under tools or projects, but this seems to work.

The Woodturner’s Multi-Roll Sanding Pack contains 20 foot strips of 150, 240, 320 and 400 grit sandpaper – everything you’ll ever need for a small scale solid wood turning project. If you want to create your own tools, you can either create a new tool definition file from scratch (you will then lose all the demonstration tools) or you can add new tools to the existing ones. The grinder has a cardboard disc that is charged with polishing compounds and puts a mirror polish on carving tools. That edge is the simple guide system that will prevent damage as the cutting edge is stoned to perfection.

A mandrel should not be confused with an arbor, which is a similar device but used for holding tools rather than workpieces. The minilathe toolpost provides a gap of 5/8 inch, with 5/16 inch above and below the center axis of the lathe. All Axminster turning tools are made from HSS (High Speed Steel) which means that they are more forgiving of harsher sharpening routines; an advantage when using a dry grinder which is a preferred method used by some turners. I will show you a simple way to make a threading tool completely on your lathe that can do both external as well as internal threads.