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A kitchen table workshop. Tool grinding problems

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Steve Crow28/05/2019 14:21:00
200 forum posts
62 photos

I've had a Sherline lathe for about a year now and I'm very happy with it. It came with a nice sharp set of 1/4" cutting tools.

My problem is that I live in a one bedroom flat and my workbench is the kitchen table. It is not practical to use a bench grinder in this environment so I've been fettleing the cutting tools using a diamond stone etc.

It feels like I'm fighting a losing battle keeping them sharp so I'm considering getting some tool holders and inserts.

There seems to be a bewildering array of angles, shape and grades of inserts and I'm not sure where to start. I will be using brass, mild and silver steels in roughly equal proportions. Most of the work will be with sub 6mm bar stock.

I would like to start with a RH turning/facing tool and then get others as necessary.

Do I need different grade inserts for different materials?

How do they cope with interrupted cuts?

Alternatively, maybe someone has suggestions for sharpening tools without a bench grinder?

A lot of questions I'm afraid but I know that you are a helpful lot.


Jeff Dayman28/05/2019 14:28:31
1787 forum posts
45 photos

Do you have a car or motorcycle Steve? if so you might be able to rig up a bench grinder with a 12V motor and power it with the car / bike battery. Maybe a card table or folding chair could be worked into a lightweight portable base for the grinder that could be transported by the car or bike. You could take it to a car park or store parking lot to do your grinding if noise is an issue at home. Just food for thought.

Ian Parkin28/05/2019 14:48:07
765 forum posts
185 photos

Whats the problem with a bench grinder?

noise or mess or size or expense?

If its noise and expense let me know and i'll post you something

Edited By Ian Parkin on 28/05/2019 14:48:26

Roger Woollett28/05/2019 15:10:06
115 forum posts
4 photos

If you keep them sharp you do not need a wheel. Get some diamond laps like these

Diamond laps

I have a similar size lathe and find all I need is a quick rub with the finest grade to keep tools sharp.

Chris Evans 628/05/2019 15:25:33
1624 forum posts

Buy a tool holder that takes a DCMT0702 tip. Use the same holder for a DCGT0702 tip. These should do all you need providing you run fast enough. The "MT" designation is for moulded tip geometry and good all round usage. The "GT" designation is for a ground tip mainly sold for aluminium but good for light cuts and good finish on steel.

Steve Crow29/05/2019 10:19:06
200 forum posts
62 photos

Thank you all for your suggestions.

Jeff, I don't have a car or bike. I live in inner London so I don't need one.

Ian, the problem with a grinder is mess and noise. I can only just get away with turning and milling and it's attendant swarf and brass dust in the kitchen. Spraying HSS dust and sparks all over the place would not go down well with the other half. The neighbors wouldn't be too happy either.

Roger, i have a set of similar laps but I've chipped a few tools and need to remove quite a bit of metal.

Chris, I've looked up the inserts and toolholders you mentioned and they look just the thing.

My next question is are all holders and inserts created equal? I've looked at the JB cutting tools website and they seem quite reasonable with a good range of sizes and geometrys. Can anyone recommend these?

I know that a lot of you swear by HSS but the insert route seems very convenient if a bit more costly.

At the end of the day, i don't get much workshop time and i just want to get on with cutting metal!

Thanks again, Steve.

Bazyle29/05/2019 13:41:12
5125 forum posts
199 photos

As you are in London have you considered joining SMEE and using their workshop facilities. Don't be overawed by fancy grinding set-ups. A battery drill in a wooden holder and wood rests will do and can fit in a shopping bag. Then tell the wife you are walking the dog and grinding in the park.

mechman4829/05/2019 13:45:48
2626 forum posts
407 photos

Then tell the wife you are walking the dog and grinding in the park...

Ooooh matron ; you are awful! devil


Simon Williams 329/05/2019 14:06:00
491 forum posts
78 photos
Posted by Steve Crow on 29/05/2019 10:19:06:

My next question is are all holders and inserts created equal? I've looked at the JB cutting tools website and they seem quite reasonable with a good range of sizes and geometrys. Can anyone recommend these?

To answer this "sub-question" - yes I can very definitely recommend JB Cutting Tools, Jenny and her husband are two if the nicest people you could wish to meet and will see you right. Usual disclaimer. I've dealt with them for years at the various shows and I always look forward to meeting them.

But I suggest you need to ring her up and describe what you want to do, as the usual choice of inserted tools may not serve you well. Many carbide tools/inserts are intended for use with effectively unlimited power and a rigid machine, it sounds as if this may not be the case in your circumstance. Jenny has a range of inserts for just the application you describe but they may not be obvious on her website. I think you want the extra sharp ones with no chip breaker.

There are many insert holders on the 'net, and no they are not all created equal. Buying stuff off ebay is fraught with peril, it's such a specialised bit of expertise and the descriptions can be misleading even when they aren't supposed to be. So it's time to phone a friend AND ask an expert. I'm sure Jenny will be pleased to hear from you.

A second option is to find someone who will return your existing HSS tools to something you can hone and keep sharp. I'm up for that though I'm in West Gloucestershire so we can do it by post. If you want to pursue this send me a PM and we can take it further.

Best rgds Simon

Ian Parkin29/05/2019 14:06:18
765 forum posts
185 photos

Steve I was going to post you this gratis if you think you may use it


Martin Hamilton 129/05/2019 14:11:27
168 forum posts

I now have a Sherline lathe after owning a number of much larger lathes over the years. I must say Sherlines are certainly an underrated lathe, they punch well above there weight on what they can do & its accuracy. I use mainly carbide inserts these days on the Sherline but as well as HSS tools, the carbide inserts these days are very cheap from the right sellers & with carbide inserts you do away with grinding all together. I still have a grinder for HSS & other tools, i use inserts that are intended for steel & inserts intended for aluminium. The aluminium inserts work fantastic not only on aluminium but great on steel including silver steel, the steel inserts which are even cheaper than the aluminium ones also work good on aluminium & other metals.

AdrianR29/05/2019 14:32:36
418 forum posts
22 photos

You could also consider a tangential tool holder. e.g. The Diamond tool holder from Eccentric. They are available in the UK too. Or there are a number of designs to make your own. The advantage is you only have one face to sharpen, which would be a lot easier with a diamond hand lap.

Steve Crow29/05/2019 14:57:55
200 forum posts
62 photos

Thanks again for all the replies!.

Bazyle, I have considered joining SMEE, I've chatted with them a few times at Ally Pally. The thing is, we are on different sides of London and it will take me about an hour and a half to get there on public transport. My time off is limited and i do like to spend it on my projects. Something to think about on retirement though!

I'm not sure about this outdoor grinding though and I haven't got a dog!

Ian, that is such a kind offer but I will have to turn it down. There is the "no grinding in the kitchen law" and I'm also rather short on storage space. But thank you so much.

Simon, JB sounds just the ticket, it is good to know that companies like that still exist. I will definitely contact Jenny when I return (I am in Crete at the moment). Now I think about it, I'm sure I've seen them at Ally Pally. Again, thank you for the kind offer regarding tool sharpening. I will decline as i don't like to put people out but I do appreciate your offer.

Martin, that is very encouraging as I wasn't sure that inserts were suitable for such a small machine but now I am going to give them a try.

There are such generous and helpful people on this forum, thank you all!

Martin Hamilton 129/05/2019 16:26:21
168 forum posts

I get the following inserts from Banggood, yes there a Chinese supplier but these inserts work great @ an even better price. Go to Banggood & put in the product id number.

DCGT 0702-AKH01 @ £7.77 for 10 inserts product id 1089860.

CCGT 060204 @ £7.43 for 10 inserts product id 1068569.

DCMT 070204 @ £3.52 for 10 inserts product id 1081767.

CCGT 060204 @ £4.00 for 10 inserts product id 1055821.

I like the first inserts listed the best but the other 3 are also very good indeed, i also have around 12 insert holders with various inserts in them. Holders are from the same suppliers & have had no problems what so ever with the quality of the holders including insert boring bars. I use the 10 mm x 10 mm holders but you can use any holder from 8 mm up to 12 mm on the Sherline + i have the 6 mm, 7 mm, 8 mm, & 10 mm insert boring bars as well from this suppliers.

Martin Hamilton 129/05/2019 16:40:09
168 forum posts

I also use one of the cheap quick change tool posts from this supplier on the Sherline, this is a copy of the A2Z tool post that is no longer made & was popular on Sherlines. If you look on Youtube the A2Z tool post is used on a number of Sherlines. Again this tool post works fine on Sherlines for such a cheap price around £26 with 4 holders, with extra holders available @ just over £4 each. Again i have had no problems with this tool post on the little Sherline, probably a little fragile for the more larger much heavier lathes but great on Sherlines.

Edited By Martin Hamilton 1 on 29/05/2019 16:43:12

Austin O'Hara24/01/2020 23:25:25
20 forum posts
10 photos
Posted by Martin Hamilton 1 on 29/05/2019 16:40:09:

I also use one of the cheap quick change tool posts from this supplier on the Sherline, this is a copy of the A2Z tool post that is no longer made & was popular on Sherlines.

Martin, on the BangGood site there are two such QCTP's. Is the one shown below ( ID: 1195154) and priced at £42 the one for a Sherline?

Cheers, Austinqctp.jpg

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