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How do y'all protect the ferrules from getting messed up by the chuck?  I was working with some test metal, and my three jaw chuck kept marking the metal.  Am I missing something?  (Jason Swan)

    I use a collet chuck, not a 3 or 4 jaw.  Get one, you'll like it much better.  (Bob Nunley)

      Take a look in J&L's catalog for ER32 collet chucks and collets They'll fit the morse taper on your lathe and you can buy the collets one at a time for what you need. A chuck will crush your ferrules. Bob is right.  (Dave Norling)

        Looks like I need to get some collets.  I have seen them in catalogs, but I don't yet know what they are.  I'll figure it out, though.  (Jason Swan)

          A collet is the thing that holds the bit in your router, although I think a lathe collet is a little different physically.  (I haven't used one either.)  (Neil Savage)

        I am looking at a J&L catalog, which chuck and collets exactly are you referring to?  (Jeff Ragan)

          Catalog #73 page 1133  Import ER collets and chucks chucks come in morse taper, straight shank or R8 shank.  (Dave Norling)

        I bought a whole set of collets that do not fit my mini lathe. I will let them go for a good price if anyone is interested. New in box, individually boxed never used. I procrastinated too long to return them.  (Adam Vigil)

          If you have a mini-lathe, the 7x size, go to Little Machine Shop.   All the tooling  on the  site  is  made  for  either  the mini-lathe or mini-mill.  And Chris is a real nice guy to do business with.  No financial interest, just a very satisfied customer.  (Mark Wendt)

      There is an easier and cheaper way to  use collets in your lathe.  Instead of taking the chuck off the lathe every time I want to use a collet to make ferrules, I use a collet chuck from MSC.

      This is a long tube with a large nut on the end of it. The tube goes into the chuck and then you place the proper size Erickson collet into the end, slide your tubing into the collet and tighten the nut.

      As long as your lathe chuck is accurate, this is a very good way to do ferrules and it is a lot cheaper than buying collets to fit the Morse taper and you don't have to remove your chuck every time.  (Dave LeClair)

        Are you using a standard sized lathe, or one of the 7 x ../14 sized lathes?  Will that collet chuck from MSC fit the mini lathes?  When you're using the collet chuck, are you opening the jaws on your main chuck wide open?  And, last but not least, what type of collets does that collet chuck handle?  How many collets can that collet chuck chuck, if the collet chuck could chuck collets?  (Mark Wendt)

          Dave has a REAL lathe! Actually he has 2, but the one I so generously offered him $20 for is a South Bend 9x tool room bench mount I believe. It's nice and Dave has it tuned. The chuck he's running on it costs  more than my SUV. Anyway, Dave, maybe you can throw out that collect chuck part number?  (Eamon Lee)

            Check out MSC catalog page 1601 Erickson straight shank double angle collet chucks. I have #85145308 model 08 stub nose. Will hold collets from 1/64 thru 36/64 . Price  #110.13

            Page 1591 - DA Double Angle Collets Series 100 Collets can be bought individually or in sets. Collets are priced from around $11.00 to $30.00 per collet, depending on the size.

            If you are going to be running tubing through this, there is a stop screw inside that you will have to remove. This is there as a stop for when you slide your ferrule or what ever into the collet, it won't go all the way through into the tube. It just unscrews.

            This is what I use when making ferrules or working on ferrules in my lathe. It works for me.  (Dave LeClair)

    The poor man's collet for ferrule making is paper... typical Xerox type copy paper.  Cut a strip and wrap it around your ferrule and if you don't crank down too tightly with the chuck you won't mark up the ferrule.  (Kyle Druey)

      The problem with three jaw chucks gripping tubing is that the chuck deforms the tubing at three points, IE, it becomes slightly "triangular" in cross section.  Collets grip the tubing uniformly and spread the force around the entire circumference.  (Ted Knott)


I'm trying to do some facing on my Lathe and I'm kinda confused on how to make my lead screw stop turning. I’m using the instructions on the Mini Lathe web site and I’m lost on putting the tumbler gear in the neutral position. any help would be appreciated.  (Dave Henney)

    Assuming you own one of the Chinese 7xX lathes:

    1.  Take the cover off of the change gears on the left end (as you normally face it) of the lathe.

    2.  Adjust the lever on the back of the headstock until you are able to see that the small gears it controls are disengaged from the change gear set.  (The lever has a VERY strong spring on it that is intended to keep the lever in one of three detents to hold the setting.   The middle  detent should disengage the lead screw.)

    3.  Run the lathe to see that the feed screw is disengaged.

    Also, facing operations are best done with the saddle locked to the  ways.   One of  the methods  to do  this is  to close  the half-nuts on a non-rotating lead screw (neutral position as outlined above).  I'm assuming that this is what you are trying to accomplish.

    But a much better solution is to lock the saddle in position (with the half-nuts open) with several of the methods outlined in the Yahoo 7x10 site.  Making one of these saddle locking gizmos for your lathe is one of the projects that the lathe & a drill press are good for.  (Charles Schoettler)

    What lathe do you have. If a 7X10/12 from Grizzly, Harbor Freight or Homier, there is a lever on the back that has a neutral detent in it. Pull the Knurled handle and move it to the center detent. If you have one of these lathes and don't have a manual, go to the Harbor Freight site and pull up the lathe, from there you can download and print the manual.

    If a 9X 20, just pull and drop both gear select levers on the front of the lathe. This will disconnect the gears that drive the lead screw.

    I made a tumbler reverse and neutral lever for my 9X20. I keep it in natural about 90% of the time for polishing, face turning, drilling and cutting ferrule stations.  (Tony Spezio)


I just tried to turn nickel silver for the first time.  I have a 3/8" diameter rod that I want to use to turn the hardware for a hex rod case.  The plan was to turn 3/8" studs to attach the leather to the cap and tube.  Seemed like a good idea, but I just destroyed a carbide lathe bit turning the first stud.  Is there something unique about turning nickel silver or do I just change bits and try again?  (David Bolin)

    I'm assuming this is 18% nickel silver?  The 12% stock cuts like butter, but the 18% is another story all together. When turning 18% nickel silver, you want to make sure you have your bit exactly centered with the work, or a few thousandths below center line. Do not use a pointed cutter insert.  There must be a slight radius. Run the lathe at a medium speed. Around 400 to 600 RPM and use oil as a coolant/lubricant. You want to take fairly deep cuts on 18%. You will get a better cut if you take off .010 at a time, rather than .002 at a time. Run the cutter at a fairly slow speed. Not in back gear. Just don't have the cutter trailing too fast, or you will not get a smooth cut.

    Experiment a little bit and you will get the hang of it. I've turned hundreds of feet of nickel silver tube and bar stock. It just takes a little time to get things just right.

    Try turning Titanium some time, if you want an experience...  (Dave LeClair)


I ruined a couple male ferrules last week when turning the critical male slide. What happened was that the half nuts did not engage the leadscrew cleanly, causing the carriage to jump and the tool to cut a slight gouge. Since I don't do threading, I always had the thread gauge swung away from the leadscrew, and never thought much about it.  It finally dawned on me that If I engaged it, and waited for a major division to come up before engaging the half nuts, they would close cleanly every time. It works great, and must be easier on the half nuts, too.   (Tom Smithwick)

    Well I for one had not figured out why I had to "bump" in the carriage drive a couple of times once in a while.  Thanks for the tip, my start up will be much smoother and consistent now.

    Another tip I have read is to use the compound set at a angle and it's advance for a much finer control of final cut depth.  Advancing at a angle should make taking off only .0005" much easier to attain.

    I'm fairly new with the metal lathe and all tips are appreciated.  (Mike Monsos)


OK, rookie machining question:

What's the trick to holding the spindle still on the lathe while tightening the draw bolt on a collet?  Seems elementary so there's gotta be a trick (or another tool I need)!  (Scott Bahn)

    On my lathe, I engage the back gear and that holds the spindle steady.  Not sure yours has a back gear though.  Many don't.  (Harry Boyd)

      I have the Harbor Freight 7 x 12.

      Neil suggested a strap wrench,  which sounds like a great idea.  I have a couple sizes of filter wrenches in the garage that just might work, I'll need to check on the morning after I get the truck out.

      All the ideas so far have just been the old "arm strong" method.  I thought for sure there was a tool or something to hold the spindle steady.  (Scott Bahn)

        Hmm, I had a look at that lathe and don't see a back gear.  My guess is that slow speeds are achieved electronically through the speed control.

        Is there any chance the spindle has a horizontal hole through it?  You know,  90 degree to the morse taper in the headstock?  If so, you could fashion some sort of tommy bar.  My Unimat lathe uses tommy bars extensively.  (Harry Boyd)

        The 3MT collets from Little Machine shop with the 3/8-16 draw bolt from the back.  (Scott Bahn)

          I had dreams about your drawbar situation last night (actually, I had dreams about 25 year old 6' tall well endowed blonde beach bunnies, standing in line screaming "I want a fat man!!! I want a fat man!!!", but I did think about your drawbar/collet situation) and just did a little search.  Look at this collet closer listed on ebay.  Can you possibly fabricate something similar to this to close your collets.  Doesn't matter if it spins with your spindle.  Just take a threaded rod, or right size straight round and thread it to fit your nut on the end of your collets, and make it the right length to stick out of the end of your headstock spindle on the back side and just tighten the handle.  I think you can buy these handles for $10 or so from MSC, Grizzly, Enco, Harbor Freight, etc. (Bob Nunley)

    I had one of those styles and all I could do was grab the spindle with my hand and hold it as well as I could.  It doesn't take much compression on a collet to get a tight hold on a workpiece, so you shouldn't have to use too much pressure.  Picked up a Logan 955 from one of our list members last week and it has a collet closer on it... flip of the handle and it's done!  Much easier.  (Bob Nunley)

      You might be able to hold it better with a strap wrench, maybe on the pulley?  (Neil Savage)

      WOW Bob! I bet that guy really regrets getting rid of the Ole Girl! Maybe a set of strips milled on a CNC machine for, maybe a quad 7'6" 5 wt ready for glue (Epon) would cheer him up and bring him out of the fit of depression he's, no doubt, in! (David Dziadosz)


I have just bought some Amboyna wood for turning and wondering if anyone on the list has turned this wood using the 7 by 12 metal lathe (mine is a Homier) and what problems you have had cutting it or turning it.

Any help would be appreciated.  (Tom Peters)

    I have had no problems turning it on my lathe, but I do remember it chipping quite easily (deeply). I was probably taking cuts too aggressively.  It's a beautiful wood on a rod!  (Louis DeVos)

    You need to learn how to grind your Cutting tool correctly. You need Positive rake on the cutting edges and enough relief so that the trailing edges do not destroy your cut.

    Take a look at this web site for instructions.

    For cutting wood a high rpm works better than low rpm when you get the stock round.  (Larry Swearingen)

      Also, with tropical woods many are allergenic to some folks and even carcinogenic, so be sure to wear a good face mask.  I prefer the ones which have a small valve so your out breath does not cloud your safety glasses.

      Amboyna Burl is terrific looking stuff. I know it is very hard, but I would think you would use a gouge, chisels and such lathe wood working tools, rather than metal working tools. Perhaps that is why one correspondent chipped.  But I have never turned it, so don't really know.  Why not contact the supplier for some tips.  (Dave Burley)

    I have turned it using wood turning tools and find it no different from woods such as Zebra Wood, Cocobolo. Mesquite, etc. I have not had the chipping problem mentioned, although I have not turned the burl. As noted, it is a pretty wood.  (Frank Schlicht)


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