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This is a question for all you mini lathe owners.  I purchased a 7X10 mini lathe which is ideal for making reel seat fillers, but I find that I can't bore out the fillers because there isn't room for the filler, drill chuck and the bit.  The filler won't go into the lathe chuck because it is too large for the chuck center hole.  Any solutions other than a bigger lathe?  I thought this one would be fine, and it would be if it wasn't for this.  Does anyone know if I can get a lathe chuck for a Shopsmith machine?  (Mark Petrie)

    Use your drill press and then turn the filler on a mandrel?  (Bob Maulucci)

    I have a 7x12 and do this with room to spare. Turn your filler .100 over size. Mount it directly in the chuck, center drill, bore it out 1/2 way using a parabolic bit. Turn filler around and repeat going far enough through to meet your first bore. If you use a 3/8 bit, use a 3/8 mandrel to finish turning your seat. I use a standard piece of 3/8 aluminum round stock with a centering hole cut in one end for a center and two 3/8 drill stops on either side to keep the filler still on the mandrel if it wants to play.

    I'm sure someone will have something simpler, but it works for me.  (Eamon Lee)

      I had a 7x10 and traded up to a 7x12 the first week because of the lack of space for this sort of work and turning grips.  There just isn't enough room for the Jacob's chuck in the tail stock when turning reel seats.  Maybe you could have the reel seat filler INSIDE the 3 jaw chuck, but I didn't think of this until just now.  (Brian Creek)

    Another solution is to bore your filler first on a drill press. Mount the block in vise, drill halfway, then reverse it and drill out the other side. Put your filler on a threaded mandrel and hold it in place with hex nuts. Of course, this only works if you have a drill press and a brad-point bit. You will then have all the room you need for turning.

    Center boring is more accurate, though.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

    I started out with a 7x10 and upgraded it to a 7x12 when Little Machine Shop started selling the bed extension kits.  Here's what I did.

    First, I was never able to get the drilling from both sides to center well enough.  There would always be some misalignment and the mandrel would wobble.  You wouldn't see it in the finished rod but I knew it was there.  I didn't have a working drill press when I started so I drilled on the lathe.  I drill all the way through the insert.  If it is off, the turning will bring it into true.

    You can either turn the block down to a cylinder using a woodworking "spur" or drill first.  The spur in a 1MT can sometimes be found at Harbor Freight for a couple of dollars.  Use a 1MT to 3MT sleeve to fit the headstock.

    To drill the block, I bought screw machine bits.  These are short drill bits and will allow you to start the hole.  When you have drilled the length of the screw machine drill bit, back it out and replace it with a jobber length drill bit and finish the hole.

    To turn the drilled block down to an insert, make a mandrel.  Mine is a 3/8" rod with a 1/2" end pieces that capture the rod.  One end is dimpled to run on the live center and the other is held either by the chuck or ½” collet.  Make the mandrel long enough to allow the tool post to move enough to turn the entire insert.  Mine pretty much takes up the entire bed.

    Now, the handiest addition I've found is a trim router.  These can be had for about $20 from Harbor Freight and down to $10 from Homier.  Set your lathe up for horizontal milling using a cheap vise as shown in "Varmint Al's" web page (~ $16 total for angle plate and vise) or get a Taig milling adapter ~$40.  Make an adapter to hold the router to the vise.  A PVC pipe coupling just larger than the router screwed to a piece of angle metal (al or iron) works well.

    Now you are set up with the wood turning in the mandrel and the router mounted to the tool post.  Turn both the lathe and router on and let the lathe power drive the router to turn down the insert.  When you have the insert turned to the desired dimensions, turn the lathe and router off, replace the router straight bit with the fingernail bit, position the router and perform the mortising.  A finished insert requiring only light sanding for finishing.  One note.  When you do the mortising, unplug the lathe.  It’s awfully easy to reach for the wrong switch and turn the lathe on instead of the router.

    Anyway, this is the way I have mine set up.  I really like these lathes.  I’ve never been sorry I bought mine.  (Onis Cogburn)


So, those of  you that have mini lathes, such as the Homier 7x12, can you tell me what kinds of things it will do for a rodmaker?  I can't decide if I should invest the bucks in a good lathe or just get an el-cheapo used for woodturning.   (Mark Bolan)

    Don't make the same mistake I did. I bought a good mini wood lathe figuring I could use it for most things, but by the time you buy the accessories you might as well have just went and bought a metal lathe.

    Upside is now I have a very nice mini wood lathe AND a mini metal lathe Life is sweet!!!  (Shawn Pineo)

    I've got a Grizzly 7x12 and I've found that it won't make coffee or cut the grass. 

    But it will do a lot of other things.  I've turned inserts, cork grips and made sliding band reel seats.  Recently I completed two rod tubes made to Garrison's specs.  The brass rings and collars on the rod tubes are near the limit to the 7x12 in my mind but with care it will work.  The difficulty is comes in holding your work and setting it up.  Once you have a procedure figured out, it does pretty well.

    I think one of the 7x12 would accomplish about everything you  would need. Although all of us, I'm sure, secretly lust after something larger.  (Tim Wilhelm)

    I turn Reel seat inserts, cork grips, make winding checks and ferrules, fit ferrule stations, fit male ferrules to female ferrules, make reel seat hardware and a whole lot of other things related and not related to rod making.

    Today I made a rotating rig for a fly tying vise.

    I tend to use it more than my 9X20 lathe.  (Tony Spezio)


I'm about to purchase a 7x12 mini lathe. Assuming it's suitable to make cork grips, what is the longest  grip size I can expect to make. Hopefully, some one out there  has gone through this before. Thank you.  (Mike Tracy)

    The 12" is the distance measured between centers on your lathe.  For that full 12" you have to remove the chuck, and put a dead center in the head stock.  Turning a grip on the lathe, mounted on a mandrel, you can expect to be able to work with lengths up to about 8 - 9" in length.  You have to take the thickness of the chuck into account for that.  (Mark Wendt)

      Not necessarily, I have a Grizzly 7x12 and I can turn something 12" long between centers. That's with the tailstock at the very end of the ways and a dead center in it, the shortest live center I could find cuts it down to around 10", still enuf to turn the 6" grips I usually make on the rod. I know some of the older  7x10 models made were as you say, so it pays to check.  (John Channer)

        Are you talking about mounting a dead center in the chuck?  The older 7 x 10's were 10" center to center, no chuck.  The newer ones (7 x 12's) I believe are actually 14" between centers with no chuck.  It could be the retailers are just calling them whatever they feel like, but in the machining world the designator usually refers to swing x distance between centers (no chuck).  (Mark Wendt)

          No, dead center in the tailstock where it belongs. My 7x12 has actual capacity of 12" from the face of the chuck to the tailstock with dead center mounted.  (John Channer)

            What make is your 7x12?  Better yet, who was the retailer that sourced your lathe?  (Ron Elder)

              Mine's a Grizzly, probably 7 years old or so now. It's a decent little lathe for what I do with it. I suppose if I were going to make ferrules and reel seats I would want a South Bend, but this'll do in the meantime.  (John Channer)

                I make ferrules and reel seats with my 7 x 12 machine.  Size isn't a problem with the mini lathe for those tasks.  (Mark Wendt)

      Considering you are sanding the grip to size rather then turning it in the conventional sense, do you think an extension could be fashioned for the bed that would allow a longer handle?  Since accuracy isn't an issue, all you really need is a means to support one end in reasonable alignment to the other, fixed, end.  (Tim Wilhelm)

        LMS sells a bed extension that will add another 14" to your lathe if you wanna go that far...   ;-)   Accuracy is still kind of an issue, since you still want the grip diameters at any point along the grip to be concentric to the mandrel.  If you don't end up aligning the tail end support pretty close to dead nuts on, you could end up with elliptic shaped grips.  I haven't formed any grips larger than 8" long, so to this point I haven't really had to worry about it.   (Mark Wendt)


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