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A easy way to catch tiny parts on the lathe

Wm. R. Robertson

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It is one thing to turn little tiny pieces, it is another to find them when you are finished if they have gone flying off. One method I often use is to put a piece of wire in the tailstock and run it through the holes, this is great for say making washers. But you have to move the tail stock each time you do another part. In this case I was doing a lot of thread spools out of boxwood. When I cut them off they had such a backspin on them when the hit the tray laying on the bed they bounced right off. What was needed was a try closer to the work so I came up with this. Just take a plastic box and cut a hole in it to slide the tool rest through. Now when I cut the parts off they drop down and spin around in the box but don't jump out. Sure saved a lot of time and achey knees chasing those little guys.









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This is a great idea... parting off is my least favorite activity, but I can see that this is probably really efficient.


Is that an indexing fixture at the left of the headstock?  I see the collet.  I'm really puzzled - how do you take a picture when your hands are in the picture?  Are all of you having someone else take pictures or are you using a timer and tripod?


I think I see a power switch behind the headstock, and then belts to the motor.  What is in-between the switch & the motor? I'm trying to read what is printed, but I can't get it in focus enough to read the stamp.


What is the order of operations that people make wooden spools?


Do you drill the center hole for the spool of thread, before or after cutting the exterior of the spool to accept the thread.  Assuming that it is easier to wind the thread on while it is still mounted on the lathe - and then you part it off as the last step.  Since it is so small, does it matter on the order of operations?


For all of our needleworkers who are reading the forum,  In your museum trips have you ever seen how thread was distributed in the 17th century?  I would imagine the spools of thread would be different then our current shape of spools today.  I went to look at Stumpwork and other historical needlework at the metropolitan museum in NYC the two years that I attended the Guild Show, and I do not remember ever seeing any fibers with a piece being worked.... I'm going to have to digging through some books.



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  • 1 month later...

Tamra, It looks to me like that lathe is the version Bonnie Klein sold for woodworking, it used the Taig Lathe bed but with custom head and tail stock as well as tool rest. There was indeed an indexing plate available for it that was installed as shown in this photo.  It did not come with a switch or motor unless you ordered it with one. I suspect that metal unit with the writing might be a variable speed control that someone put on it.


The Klein lathes are no longer being sold but every once in a while they show up on the Seattle craigslist as she lives in Issaquah, WA which is just a few miles East of Seattle.

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That is a Taig lathe put together by Bill Robertson.  What you are calling a speed control is a capacitor for the motor.  The index wheel is also made by Bill.  Taigs are wonderful little lathes and are very accurate. (I wish I still had mine). They are a good lower cost alternative to the Sherline. Sherline chucks can be used on the Taig with a spacer which is a real bonus. There are a lot of second market accessories for the Taig. On this lathe Bill has also adapted the Sherline collet set to fit the Taig.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As an alternate idea, here is something I did the other day that worked really well (but only for parts that have holes in them).  I had some uber-tiny parts with axial holes, so I chucked up a dressmaker's (sewing) pin in my drilling tailstock, put it into the hole on the workpiece, and then when I parted off the workpiece the pin kept the part from flying around the workshop.

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