I've been struggling with the learning process on my little Atlas 12" lathe. I finally got the tool post/ crosslide worked out with the HUGE improved one off eFray, now I'm looking to learn about sharpening bits.
Does anyone know of other websites? I found these two examples of jigs for sharpening bits, any comments / improvements?
Also, one mentions a book, "Screwcutting in the Lathe" by Martin Cleeve. Anyone read this, and is this a worthwhile book?
Here's the two homebrew jigs:
For threading tools I just use the Starrett thread gage and hold the two up to the light.
I think it is $12.
440, The book I think is exceedingly worthwhile, there's a wealth of info, especially on cutting metric threads on imperial lathes.
It's written by a guy who knew what he was talking about and made his living with a small 7" bench lathe, a real eye opener.
Jigs:- Either looks pretty competent and there are a miriad of variations on the same theme, making one is a good way to learn.
For a newbie with a lathe of your vintage, South Bends '' How to run a lathe'' will get you on the right road, you'll be flyin' solo in no time.
Take care. Sami.
This was one of the steepest areas of the learning curve for me. Read all the manuals bought the videos. Taught in school to grind freehand on 10" Baldor grinder. It worked but not very well. It came together for me when I purchased The American Gunsmith Institute video by Darrell Holland. These tapes are expensive but worth every penny. The older books are better in my opinion on HSS because they were using lower powered machines like the home machinist.
Over on the Chaski forum (Home Machinist), there is a man with username "Harold V". He appears to have a lot of time in the trade nd has done a good job of writing several articles on that forum about grinding HSS bits.
Another member has combined all of his writings in a downloadable format that should cover most all you need to know about grinding HSS bits, including chipbreakers.
It's all stuff that those of us who have been in the trade for years have learned long ago, but IMO, for those starting to learn the trade, it's a grat single source of info on the subject.
NOTE: This is "Home Machinist" NOT "Home Shop Machinist"
South Bend long ago sold a tool grinding jig, here's a couple links to a repro:
As you can see in the links, the block has the the back rake angle built into the bottom of the tool, and the insert can be rotated to the side clearance angle desired. Original SB examples are very rare (and VERY expensive).
This seller (no affilation) sells other repro SB stuff, and recently added this to his offerings, which should give you some ideas.
Don't make to big an issue of how to sharpen a cutting tool. As you progress you will find that it is not as important as you think it is.
As you experiment with cutting edge angles you will find what works best on each material. The Machinery Handbook has a good section on the angles to use for different materials and as you try them you will find what works for you.
Don't get caught up in making fixtures to sharpen the tools. Learn how to do it free hand. I use a fixture to grind my threading tools on a surface grinder but that is the only one I use.
You will find that a heavy feed cut will need more leading relief on the cutter than when fed slowly. The angle will have to be greater than the helix produced by the feed or the bottom of the cutter will rub the material being cut.
Remember, there is no way to make one fixture that will sharpen a tool that will work for all aplications. Therefore, you would have to have a shelf full of fixtures. If you look at a lathe tool grinder you will see the table on each end with the wheel is adjustable. Why do you think that is so??? Could it be so you can set the angle to what you need for that tool for a certain cut???? Think about it a while.
Here's a link over at the Sherline website on grinding tool bits freehand:
I have the full set of Southbend bit jigs, I have found them very handy. As I recall there is an article in the H.S.M. magazine on building a copy .
There was a very good book published by Atlas on how to run the Atlas or Craftsman 12" lathe. The title was Manual of Lathe Operation, and there were many editions. If you have a choice, get one from about the same date as your lathe. In other words, don't get a 1936 edition if you have a 1970 lathe. Both Atlas (Clausing) and Sears sold the book. You should have that book even if you have no others. I am not sure if Clausing still sells the book, but the phone call would be free. 800-535-6553 Some originals and reprints or scans are available on eBay.
I do have, actually two different copies of the Atlas manuals, one considerably older. I also recently ordered the book "Lathe Operation and Maintenance" by Edwards--and am waiting for it now.
I will CERTAINLY consider getting the book by Cleeve.
So far as sharpening freehand, this is simply not an option. I'm 59, with a certain amount of vision problems, and progressing osteo conditions, which now affect my hands and fingers. Hanging on tight, even with vise grips, to a tiny tool against a hot wheel is simply not gonna work, anymore. Cold weather makes it infinately worse.
Getting old sucks, and I'm really not that old.
Now, off to check some of the info on here, so far.......
My Sheldon lathe book"The Care and Operation of a Lathe" makes reference to a "grinding holder" (pg. 26)to hold small cutters for grinding. It resembles a straight tool holder with a handle type shank to hold cutters instead of just using your fingers. This seems to be safer & more controlable than trying to hold a small cutter on a grinder wheel by hand.I keep getting visions of bloody knuckles & finger tips without such a holder.I just mention this in light of comments about holding cutters by hand. The holders mentioned above are pretty neat as were some of the other fixtures mentioned at those sites.I always look deeper into sites posted and almost always find more interesting things at those links.
Also, I found this thread, which contains a wealth of info, even though it's SB related, mostly. This guy, mentioned in the thread, has archived a tremendous amount of old books
Further, I just commited for this thing. Do you guys think this was a fairly good buy? The new price is nearly twice this much
Enco has the Phase II set on brand new for about $89. The only diff is that auction had pieces to retrofit a G4000. I've had 2 of those Phase II sets and wouldn't want to be without it on any lathe. Very nicely made, much better than similar "800Watt" and Shars sets.
It's a good buy.
Hey 440, take a 3/4" diameter, 12" long piece of cr steel and dril a hole in the end in the lathe so a 3/8" tool bit will slip in. Put a set screw in the side to hold the tool in. Now you have a handle to use to free hand grind the bits. Make them for all the sizes you use if it works for you.
OK - Alternate tack. Get the preground HSS bits from Travers then to sharpen them you can do it by hand with a diamond hone.
I bought a binocular microscope to see what was going on.
PS You fingers should not get hot because you need to keep dipping the tool in water.
"fingers should not get hot"
That isn't the problem, it's arthritic related problems, and later this winter, COLD fingers.
So who is Travers?
There is an outfit that advertises in Home Shop
Machinist  that sells HSS insert tooling and
the inserts to go with them. That's another
 true name: Drive Your Wife Crazy Bridgeport
in the Basement Magazine.
The HSS insert tooling that Jim Rozen mentioned are available from Arthur R Warner Co. These people know HSS and produce a really fine product. No association, just impressed with their product line.
...excellent choice...you won't regret the purchase...
I will CERTAINLY consider getting the book by Cleeve.