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Lathe tooling

and shimming

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Jed Martens22/07/2019 09:33:51
85 forum posts
54 photos

My new lathe (Warco gh600) is on its way, so I need to buy some tooling for it. It comes with a 4-way indexable tool post, that takes up to 12mm tooling.

I intend to go for indexable carbide tooling, as I don't have the experience or tools to accurately grind my own HSS tooling. And a lot of my planned projects use stainless steel.

Reading threads on here, Glanze tooling seems to be highly regarded. From their website, it looks like I can get a range of tooling for LH/RH turning/facing, internal/external threading, boring and parting for less than £200.

So that's my plan. Please tell me if I'm missing something!

I understand that with this type of tool holder, the tool needs to be shimmed to bring it up to centre-height. What is the best material to use for shimming?

Thanks in advance


edit : I think my shimming question has been thoroughly covered in this thread...

I quite like the beer can idea. Must empty some cans first...

Edited By Jed Martens on 22/07/2019 09:42:46

Edited By Jed Martens on 22/07/2019 09:43:27

Plasma22/07/2019 09:51:40
443 forum posts
1 photos

Hi Jed.

Not sure of the exact type of toolpost your new baby has but I'm sure you will be able to make good efficient use of it until you decide to swap to quick change tool post which is in my opinion better than a single rotating tool post.

As regards Glanze tooling I have several of their tools and not experienced any problems with them. In fact I've just ordered an internal threading tool from them direct.

Shimming depends on how much you have to raise the tool, I have a box of bits of ground flat stock, old feeler strip etc that will deal with most situations.

But I now have multifix swiss quick change tool posts on both my lathes so shims are not needed for those.

Main thing you would benefit from is a tool height gauge of some description but have a look at a recent thread about that topic and you will get an idea that there is more than one way to skin a cat, whatever works for you is fine though.

Best regards plasma

Mick B122/07/2019 09:52:31
2084 forum posts
121 photos

Almost anything will do!

I've used paper and cardboard, plastic and metal packing strip that came with items in the post, bits of 5 and 10 thou shim, pieces of hacksaw blade with the tooth set ground off and I don't know what else.

The toolpost on my Warco WM250V will take 12mm tools too, but what I've made is a packing piece from a piece of 1/2" square section BDMS with a step 0.250" thick and the same wide milled into it. Then I only need shim to offset anything I've ground off the top of an HSS tool, and my 2 Glanze tools (8mm shanks milled down to 1/4" ) fit straight in without further packing.

There'll be people telling you to buy a Quick Change Tool Post, and when I was doing this for a living they did often save time and faffing about. But the ones I used were difficult to cock over at an angle to get into awkard corners so you needed a bigger selection of tools. I've not bothered to find out if that's the case for the common model engineering variants, 'cos I'm not doing for this for pay and I cope easily with I've got.

Edited By Mick B1 on 22/07/2019 09:53:50

Vic22/07/2019 10:03:08
3014 forum posts
8 photos

I have several insert tools that get mounted in a four way tool post. Two have thin gauge plate epoxied to the bottom of the holder, one has thicker steel bolted to the bottom of the holder. This keeps them permanently on centre height. I also have another bigger tool holder that I carefully skimmed the bottom off until it was on centre height. I only have a 8 x 14 lathe but it can take tool holders up to 14mm so I use 12mm holders with bonded spacers or cut down 16mm holders.

Jim Nic22/07/2019 10:29:13
363 forum posts
202 photos

When I bought my Warco lathe (admittedly a while ago) it came complete with a set of indexable cutters which as you would expect fitted perfectly without the need for shimming and have served me well for 9 years.

Are you sure you need to be buying cutting tools?


David George 122/07/2019 10:36:35
1715 forum posts
500 photos

Have a look at J B Cutting tools they have a web site and you can always call and ask questions over the phone or email. Jenny is very helpful and the have a stand at most of the shows.


Howard Lewis22/07/2019 12:16:48
5748 forum posts
13 photos

Hi Jed, and Welcome.

Since making, and then buying, Tangential turning tools, (using HSS bits) that is what is used for most of my work, For roughing, I use the 100 degree corner of CCMT0604 tips in a holder bought from Greenwood Tools. This provides another two lives for tips that become chipped in my Boring tool.

The tips will cut hardened steel, the red hot wire coming off is quite interesting!

The important thing with any tool is to mount it at centre height, with minimal overhang, to maximise rigidity.

I made, and always use a Centre Height Gauge to set tools in place..

The tools are supported on pieces of 1/2" or 12mm steel, milled to a rebate so that a minimum of shimming is needed. For shims, tinplate, from old biscuit tins, ( or any flat; not corrugated, tin should do ) or old feeler gauge blades. Aluminium shims eventually compress.

A certain amount of fine adjustment is available from the torque applied to the individual clamping screws.

If you use a Quick Change Toolpost, then you merely need to adjust the tool tip to centre height before starting cutting.

If your Cross Slide is Tee slotted, it would be a good idea to make up a Rear Toolpost. This is a great aid for parting off. I made a four way indexing back toolpost, to look like the Front one, for my lathe, which is a BH600 lookalike. This allows me to front chamfer, back chamfer and part off. In this way, I have the choice of six tools without having to make changes.

Knurling tools, or Radius Turning tools do have to replace one of the front mounted tools, (often the Boring Tool ) on the less often occasions when they are required.


Vic22/07/2019 12:58:42
3014 forum posts
8 photos

I agree with Howard about the Tangential Tool. I use one for most of my turning as well. Much cheaper to run on small bits of HSS than using inserts.

Bazyle22/07/2019 13:08:11
6178 forum posts
222 photos

Be aware that a 12mm toolpost gap may not mean you can use a 12mm tool without it ending up above centre height. An existing owner might be able to advise the top height of the default toolpost.
If you are prepared to spent £200 on tools why not get a £40 grinder (the 8in Titan from screwfix) and a job lot of used tools off ebay which will have had the basic shaping done. You really shouldn't be worried about tool grinding. Falling off logs is difficult but not tool grinding.

old mart22/07/2019 13:41:20
3510 forum posts
216 photos

Glanze indexable lathe tools are in the higher quality sector, I can recommend them.

DC31k22/07/2019 15:47:57
586 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by old mart on 22/07/2019 13:41:20:

Glanze indexable lathe tools are in the higher quality sector, I can recommend them.

In my experience, the tools and retaining screws are indeed excellent value for money.

Where they fall down is the quality of the inserts themselves. I have found them to be uniformly poor.

Hence, if buying the set, budget a little extra for a box of name brand inserts. CCMT06 inserts of the highest quality can be picked up on eBay for little more than a pound each. With the Glanze set containing a tool that allows use of the obtuse-angle of the insert, that's 25p an edge.

Even the very sharp CCGT06 are no more than £1.50 each or 75p an edge.

John Reese22/07/2019 18:23:56
1013 forum posts

I used to have a 4 way turret mounted on my lathe. I got smart and replaced it with an Aloris. No shims required- ever. Same can be said for Dickson style toolposts.

Jed Martens23/07/2019 09:34:14
85 forum posts
54 photos

Thanks for all the feedback guys, it is much appreciated.

Brian has very kindly installed the original toolpost on his GH600 and confirmed that a 1/2" bar sits just under the centre line, so 12mm tooling will be ok.

I can appreciate the versatility and low-cost of high-speed steel, and I do have a bench grinder for sharpening it, but that will be a learning curve in itself. The lathe will be enough of a learning curve for now, and since standard carbide inserts are not that expensive (as DC31k points out), it seems like an obvious and easy place to start. Also, a lot of my turning will be stainless, and it isn't clear to me if HSS is commonly used for that. I guess it was before carbide tooling was invented, but all the online information I can find points to insert tooling.

A quick-change toolpost may come in time, but I'm just cutting my teeth, and learning how to shim a tool will do me no harm.

Thanks again for all your input


Mick B123/07/2019 16:04:11
2084 forum posts
121 photos

IMO time spent learning to grind drills and HSS tools offhand pays off most handsomely.

You can work up a great variety of form tools to generate almost any detail shape you might want on a turned part. I have about 20 for various partial radii, corner undercuts in hard-to-acess areas, screwthreading and vee-grooving, combined chamfers and grooves, etc.

It might cost you a day or two, and half-a-dozen or so failures - maybe I don't remember the 70s that well - but I'm certainly glad I took the trouble now.

You'll need a dressing stone, and maybe later a diamond-tipped stick, to keep your grinding wheels clean and straight. I've found that I replace my bench grinder every couple of decades, but with cheap-end ones I use, that doesn't hurt.

Howard Lewis23/07/2019 16:14:29
5748 forum posts
13 photos

One of the advantages of Tangential Turning Tools is that the toolbit is simple to grind. Literally, one face. The toolbit is clamped in the jig and the top surface ground.

Refit toolbit to holder, set to centre height, and resume cutting metal. The Holder sets all the clearance angles for you.

As Sergei (the Meerkat ) would say "Simples"


Mick B123/07/2019 17:18:44
2084 forum posts
121 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 23/07/2019 16:14:29:

One of the advantages of Tangential Turning Tools is that the toolbit is simple to grind. Literally, one face. The toolbit is clamped in the jig and the top surface ground.

Refit toolbit to holder, set to centre height, and resume cutting metal. The Holder sets all the clearance angles for you.

As Sergei (the Meerkat ) would say "Simples"


But it won't do special forms. Once you get the hang of it, rakes and clearances just go in automatically, without any special thought. You can keep the meerkat.

Howard Lewis24/07/2019 10:35:05
5748 forum posts
13 photos

Quite right Mick!

It won't bore unless the hole is enormous.

Nor will it radius turn. (I use a Repton for that )

It is not a parting tool, but with a set over Top Slide, it will chamfer.

But for general turning / facing jobs it is an easy tool to use and sharpen. According to Eccentric Engineering, a tangential tool can be used for screwcutting. Obviously needs grinding to the correct angles.

For specialised jobs, you use specialised tools.

There is no more a universal tool than there is a universal machine.

Horses for courses.


Vic24/07/2019 11:50:36
3014 forum posts
8 photos

Howard, I chamfer with my Tangential Tool by angling it on the far side of the work and putting the lathe in reverse. It works very well.

A very clever home made Tangential Tool I saw some time back was made so that the thickness of the tool made the top edge of the Tool on centre height once in the four way. After sharpening, the tool is placed upside down on a flat surface. The bit is then dropped to the surface and clamped. Very quick and easy way of getting centre height every time. Wish I’d thought of it!

Howard Lewis25/07/2019 12:23:31
5748 forum posts
13 photos

That is a clever tool holder. Splendid idea!

Another home made tangential tool was designed so that the shank of the holder was not square (A square shank involves some interesting compound angles to machine the slot for the toolbit ) By machining one of the angles into the shank, (making it trapezoidal ) the slot for the toolbit only slopes in one plane.

the design was published in MEW, a long time ago, I think.


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