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My lathe journeys. #39: ... Made a new lathe tool rest

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Blog entry by JoeinGa posted 09-16-2015 03:24 PM 1365 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 38: ... Replaced the lathe handle I broke. Part 39 of My lathe journeys. series Part 40: ... Pine? Really? THAT'S pine?? »

I’ve been using the “standard” tool rest that came with the lathe, it’s that basic piece of cast “pot metal”. I actually have several sizes but they’re all made of the same cheap crap.
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I’ve been oogling those nice ones made from round steel stock, but Boy-howdy! are they ever proud of them things!

Well, yesterday I broke one of the cheap ones I had. This one was not actually cast from one piece, but the head is held onto the stem with a set screw. Here’s a few pix of the break. You can see that there was a big void (flaw) in the casting, causing one of the ears to snap off.
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I was looking for something else and ran across a nice straight piece of 5/8” steel rod, and decided to try and make myself one of the round style ones.
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I printed out a picture from the Interwebs so I could see approximately how the curves go and then drew a rough shape to use as a pattern.
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Then I used two MAPP hand-held torches to heat the rod to cherry-red and started bending. Took about 20 minutes to come up with a shape I liked.
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I know that they say you aren’t supposed to weld to that cast crap, but figured I’d give it a go anyway. And “THEY” were right. After I welded it and let it cool, I gave it a rap with a hammer and sure enough, it popped right off. .

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So I cleaned up the rod on the grinder and set out on “Plan B”. I thought that maybe I could weld it to the stem. I didn’t take a pic but I actually used 3 big clamps to get the stem absolutely 90* to the bar.
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My welds are not the prettiest, but like I always say “It aint gotta be pretty to be functional”. You can see above that it’s about 10.5” straight across, and almost 12” tip-to-tip.
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Here’s a comparison showing what I was using for turning the inside of the bowls. The old one is pretty “beefy” and sometimes it wouldn’t even fit inside some of what I was trying to turn. This rod should be MUCH NICER to use.
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I decided not to paint the top edge. I figured the tools sliding along it will mess it up anyway, so I only painted the bottom side.
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I haven’t used it yet, the paint was still wet when I took these photos, but I’m pretty sure I’m gonna LIKE IT! So more than likely if I can find some 25mm round stock to cut up for the stems, I’ll be making some more of these.
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Once again. thanks for looking. Comments always welcome
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-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward



10 comments so far

View WoodNSawdust's profile

WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 643 days


#1 posted 09-16-2015 04:01 PM

Very nice. Can you actually weld using only MAP? I would have thought that you would need Oxygen too.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Porchfish's profile

Porchfish

751 posts in 1999 days


#2 posted 09-16-2015 04:23 PM

Nicely done ! You should see my welds ! and I use a mig welder to boot….mine are functional and BUTT UGLY !

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7934 posts in 1847 days


#3 posted 09-16-2015 04:55 PM

Nice Joe! I’ve been wanting to do the same unfortunately I don’t have a welder. I asked around if I could braze with a mapp torch and got conflicting answers, most said no, some said yes.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7487 posts in 1474 days


#4 posted 09-16-2015 05:59 PM

Thanks guys.
Porchfish, my welds are also butt-ugly but the 4.5” grinder fixes most of that, and the paint hides the rest. LOL

The little torch I have is what I used to call a “propane torch”. But the bottles say MAP GAS on them. I only used that to heat and bend the rod. I have a 110V Lincoln wire welder that I used to weld.
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-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Dutchy's profile

Dutchy

2022 posts in 1635 days


#5 posted 09-16-2015 07:13 PM

Looks good.

-- My englisch is bad but how is your dutch?

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

5247 posts in 1510 days


#6 posted 09-16-2015 08:12 PM

Joe, that is the way to go. You did a super job on that curved one. I did the same thing using a barbell weight bar. It was 1’’ and that is what I needed for the nova tool rest. The curved one was on a 5/8’’ bar from the old lathe screwed on like yours. Took it off and welded it to the 1’’ bar. Then I made a 8’’ wide bar also and in the process of making a 4’’ one. My neighbor does the welding for me. Even if you buy the bar you save a lot a money.
Now do we call you Joe, Bampy or Motormouth? Lol

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7487 posts in 1474 days


#7 posted 09-17-2015 12:25 AM

Thanks Dutchy. One of these days I’m gonna start building toys, and I’ll be coming to YOU for lessons!

Thanks Dave, There’s a guy in my tiny town that has a machine shop. I talked with him a few months back and he mentioned he had some pieces of 25mm stock if I ever need any. Oh, and you can call me anything except “Late for lunch” LOL

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Chris's profile

Chris

331 posts in 3553 days


#8 posted 09-18-2015 02:14 PM

Cool, great job Joe!! You did a great job on the curves and overall build. Looks good!

Yeah, many of those common cast tool rests are cheaply made aren’t they? That was a pretty deep void. Wow! Could actually get someone hurt. The one you have now should hold you well for years.

Just fyi, I have used gun bluing paste to blacken (darken) metal projects before and it turns out nicely. If you were concerned about some rust issues on the top of the tool rest forming , perhaps you could give it a wipe or two of that. I just purchase the small tubes off of ebay.

I wish I had a MIG welder like yours. I had a cheaper brand and ended up selling it to someone which wanted it more than I did. I have been ‘in the need’ for a nice one for a very long time. As they always say, “Maybe one day.”

-- Chris Harrell - custom callmaker "Quacky Calls" Eastern NC. http://www.quackycalls.com

View Roger's profile (online now)

Roger

19886 posts in 2271 days


#9 posted 09-23-2015 02:28 PM

Wow, Joe. What ya doin, breakin everything/??? LOL Careful out there man

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7487 posts in 1474 days


#10 posted 09-26-2015 08:39 PM

I’ve been using the new tool rest and I LIKE IT! It’s solid as a rock, and plenty long. I dont foresee needing a longer one any time soon.
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I’m turning a piece of black gum. Lookit how nice the colors are in this! I’ll be posting the finished piece soon.
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-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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