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Can anybody give me any advice about knurling and knurling tools for reel seats?

I have a 12-inch Grizzly lathe, and have slowly taught myself how to make ferrules from tube. Now I'd like to give reel seats a try.

I gather that most people don't recommend one of the pressure type knurling tools on small lathes because of possible damage to bearings and cross slides.

Looking at the catalogs (MSC, McMaster and Travers) they all list scissors type knurlers (though I'm not sure they will fit my lathe). But the wheels available seems limited. Does anybody use scissors type knurlers and do the accept standard knurling wheels?

Any advice on knurling would also be appreciated. Do I need to precisely measure the circumference of the knurl and purchase wheels accordingly to prevent double cutting the knurl?  (Bill Hoy)

    I have the Homier 7 x 12 mini lathe.  I purchased a scissors knurler from Little Machine Shop and it works just fine.  I just finished a depth gauge base, and used the knurler on it and it worked very nice.  The knurling wheels are the standard size, so if you have to replace them, you can get them just about anywhere.  This web site is dedicated to the mini lathes and mini mills, and also stocks a lot of replacement parts for most mini lathes and mini mills.

    Another question to the guys that are doing rope knurls on their stuff.  What kind of tool are you using and where do you get it?  (Mark Wendt)

      I make my rope knurls the poor mans way.  That is, without the official rope knurl rollers.  When I'm turning down the cap or ring or whatever, I simply leave a small band of metal at the place where I want the rope to be.  Make the band about 1/2 to 3/4 of the size of your desired finished rope width because it will get flattened and spread out during the knurling process.  Use knurl rollers that make a simple straight diagonal line pattern, right or left, it doesn't matter.  When these rollers are forced into the little metal band take care not to go so far as to knurl anything else but the band but get as close as you can to the non knurled surface.  If you press to far you will have to clean up the marks.  Now once it is knurled give it a good buffing to help round over the knurled band so it looks like a rope partly submerged in the surface of the piece.  Its better to use rollers that make a close line pattern but if you have wider! pattern wheels they will suffice.  It will take a few tries to get one looking presentable but I really do think they look as good or better than the official rope knurl rollers make.  Oh, and if you want two ropes close together, try to knurl them separately, that is, one at a time.   (Jim Harris)

        I haven't tried changing the wheels yet, but it looks like the axle is a press fit into the scissors jaws, and the wheels spin on the axle.  I'm going to order a set of wheels that have the knurling going in the same direction, so I can experiment with the "poor" man's rope knurl.  It kind of depends on the material as to what speed you run the lathe at.  I haven't knurled anything harder than brass yet on my 7 x 12,  so I've been spinning at about half speed on the low speed range, and on the brass it came out pretty nice.  From what information I've gotten on the 7 x 10 mailing list, if you're going to knurl something that's longer than a couple of inches, you need to use the tail stock to support the piece, because the knurler can put quite a bit of side load on the bearings.  The biggest difference between knurling and cutting on the lathe, is when you cut, you're removing the metal by slicing the metal away.  When you knurl, you're actually "pushing" metal away from the knurling lines, and forcing the metal to flow into the valleys between the ridges.  That's why it puts more pressure on the piece, and in turn, on the head stock's bearings.  I've knurled two pieces so far with the scissors knurler, and I've set the gap between the wheels so that they ride on the upper and lower 1/3 of  the piece  (it was  1 - 1/2" in diameter), then slowly moved the knurler into the piece, until it started knurling, then moved the compound to knurl the length that I wanted, then pushed it in a little more, and moved the compound backwards over the area I had just knurled.  Repeated this until I got the correct depth of knurl that I wanted.  Came out pretty nice.  I made a clone of Russ Gooding's depth gauge base out of brass, and it came out pretty nice.  Once I get the pictures developed, I'll scan them in here at work.  (Mark Wendt)

          Try opening the gap between your rollers to the point where they just squeeze your work.  Back it off and close the gap just slightly more.  Turn on the lathe and push the rollers into the work slowly to the point where the wheels are riding at top and bottom.  Not on the sides.  This takes all the pressure off your bearings because the forces are opposing and you won't need the tail stock unless your knurling something long.  This is the beauty of the scissors knurl.  Now, slowly move the rollers across the surface to the end.  At this point you probably don't have the full depth of the knurl so pull the knurl back off the work and go over it again in the same direction, only this time close the gap between the rollers slightly more.  Repeat until you're happy.   (Jim Harris)


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