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wood lathe tool rest


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A friend of mine has an old wood lathe and had trouble finding an S-type tool rest with a 7/8 post.  What I should have done was make him a sleeve for a smaller commercial post; instead I made him the one shown here.


I used 3/4 stock for the rest and 7/8 for the post, both in mild cold rolled steel.  The rest was shaped on a swage block, and then flattened out on the anvil.  I used a 2' length of rod stock for the rest because A) I didn't have a suitable pair of tongs and B) I felt that given how hard it was to move 3/4 stock I wanted to keep a good grip on it.  I cut it down to length after the forging.


A 1/2" hole was drilled in the center of the rest.  The post was turned down to 1/2" 3/4 " from one end, and shrink fit into the rest.  For the shrink fit I heated the rest to red with a torch and drove the post home with a 3 lb hammer.


I then filet welded over both sides of the post and used an angle grinder to clean up the profile.  I welded a bit of 1/4 stock on the post as a stop. It proved to be tricky for me to make a ring out of the 1/4" stock.  I do not have appropriate tongs for this; I used vise grips and did much of it on the anvil horn. I think that next time I make a ring I will have fabricated some sort of a jig for this task.


Though this was a lot of work, for what I thought would be a simple project, I learned that 3/4 is for sure the upper limit to what I can forge by hand at this time.  It took quite a few heats for me to shape the rest.  I also learned that I need to make more tongs!


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Thanks for your comments!  I am not a wood turner and I was copying another model my friend had shown me that was flattened in its profile. There is plenty of stock there to grind on if need be :)   I anticipate making a universal type tong today that will get me one tong closer to having all the tongs I need ;)


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I would radius the corners and smooth them up nicely.  If I had made it myself I'd have started with round stock and kept it nicely rounded, at least on the top.  One thing to avoid is any dips or nicks that can cause the tools to snag as they are slid along!  A sharp or even semi-sharp corner tends to let the tools dig in and create a nick.  The tools ought to have nice smooth radii on their corners as well!  Round top rests avoid changing fulcrums that will occur with flattened rest profiles... keeping the tool feed smooth and thus the turning as well!  Radiused corners are second best as they soften any such fulcrum transitions!  This is  nice job though and these can be fairly expensive so I am sure it will be appreciated!  I only offer criticisms for even better results in future!

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Thanks bigfoot- your comments are super helpful, and since the piece is still in my shop I will reinspect the piece.  I will also solicit feedback from my friend as he tries this and see what matters to him.  Thanks!  It is a bit of a strange exercise making a tool that I do not or have not ever used myself!


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