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  1. #1
    Lynn Kasdorf is offline Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Leesburg, VA USA


    Do any of you have any suggestions for a book that would be a good overall reference and tutorial for lathe and milling machine operation?

    I suspect that taking a night class would be great, but I just don't have time for that right now.

    I have had a shop and been doing woodworking and misc shop stuff since I was a child, but have just recently put together a little machine shop. Current tools include RongFu mill drill, Atlas/Craftsman 12x36 lathe, Atlas 7" shaper, Atlas horizontal mill, 4x6 horizontal band saw, a chinese 8 1/2 x 18 lathe, a couple drill presses, grinders, etc.

    I have an intuitive sense of how various operations probably are done, but some things are a total guess to me at this point.

    There must be lots of books out there, but maybe there are one or two that are must-haves for the novice.

    Lynn Kasdorf

  2. #2
    crzypete's Avatar
    crzypete is offline Hot Rolled
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    New York State


    I don't know of a general book that covers everything, but for a nice old lathe like yours i love southbend's "how to run a lathe" very cheap and readily available on ebay- some are reprints some are originals. the pictures are fantastic and the writing concise, i still use it as a reference. search on ebay " how to lathe"

  3. #3
    Dee is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Lompoc CA USA


    Sometimes you can find these textbooks on ebay or bookstores,
    Machine tool operation by Henry Burghardt
    General Industrial Machine Shop by Harold Johnson
    Machine tool Practices R Kibbe
    J Neely
    R.O. Meyer
    W white.
    Also as the last poster said
    South Bend how to Book
    Atlas Clausing also has a book that is good.
    I like the textbook's as they are written so that a Dummy like me can understand.
    Also as an upside they are generally much cheaper!
    Dee Schuyler
    Lompoc Ca.

  4. #4
    Coldiron is offline Plastic
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Bisbee, ND


    how to run a lathe book is available @ for less than ebay, they also have lots of other how to lathe books

  5. #5
    Mike Henry is offline Stainless
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Batavia, IL USA


    The two "Machine Shop Practice" (vol. I & II) books by Moltrecht are pretty good. these come up for sale at Enco, J&L, etc. fairly often for $20 each or so. It's a decent intro to most of the tools in a machine shop.

    If you haven't already, get a copy of the manual, "Manual of Lathe Operation and Machinist's Tables" for your Craftsman from Clausing (they merged with Atlas and Atlas made the 12" Craftsman lathes). It's a 200+ page book similar to the SB "How to Run a Lathe" book. It runs around $20 plus postage. Contact info for Clausing is at:

    Calling is more reliable than email and they take credit cards.

    Mike, near Chicago

    Mike, near Chicago

  6. #6
    pgmrdan is offline Plastic
    Join Date
    Jul 2003


    My top recommendations after going through this same research about a year ago.

    1) I recommend Doug Briney's book, The Home Machinist's Handbook. ($18.95 at Border's.) I think it's VERY good because it starts from the bare basics. (This is what a file looks like. This is how to use it. This is how steel is made. This is how to read a micrometer.) The pictures show Sherline products but the information applies to other brands too.

    2) The best book for a beginner is The Amateur's Lathe by L. H. Sparey. It's better after reading Briney's book. The ONLY place I could find it is Brownells. ( I think) But brace yourself for the price. It's out of print but lists for $16.00. Brownells charges an additional 15%, $18.40. I asked them to ship it the cheapest way available and they hit me up for $7.25. BUT to get a used copy through Border's was going to cost me $32.00 plus tax.

    3) South Bend Lathe Works book, How to Run a Lathe. Check Little Machine Shop ( first. Some of the sellers on eBay will rip you off on the price and charge you double on shipping.

    These 3 books are my recommendations for a beginner. I just got into this about a year ago and these books are what I'm using based upon other recommendations.

    4) An optional book would be Machine Shop Projects by South Bend Lathe Works. It's a companion book to How to Run a Lathe. It has several good projects in it; nail set, plumb bob, screw driver, jack screw, on up to a 1/4 hp gasoline engine. But it only contains projects and refers to the other book on how to do things necessary to make the projects.

    Good Luck!


  7. #7
    stephen thomas is offline Diamond
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    downhill from Twain\'s study outside Elmira, NY


    I feel lucky that the book I discovered first was "Machine Tool Practices" by Kibbe, Neely, Meyer, & White (Staff of Mchine Technology Dept of Lane community college.)

    It was designed as a Community College text book, and as such covers all the basics, from ground zero. Not just the machine tools & accessories; but materials, heat treat practice, metrology (how to read and use the various instruments), tooling, and tooling geometry and maintenance, etc. My edition is 1979, so has very little on cnc. i think later editions had more on the cnc subject and newfangled systems like coordinate measuring machines.

    The Moltrecht 2 vol. set, recommended by others are very good as well and cover most of the basics inclduing materials and metrology. They are good for the home shop because they cover pre-cnc ways of accomplishing complex tasks; and machines like planers, shapers and slotters.



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