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Paul Mallen14/08/2020 14:36:06
44 forum posts
16 photos

Hello, long time lurker here from the Black Country & I feel a bit of a fraud if I’m honest as I’m not an engineer & I don’t make models - I’m just a layabout who makes guitars smile p
But - I do have a lathe which I will be quizzing everyone about as I have less than a clue.......

Bo'sun14/08/2020 15:50:46
177 forum posts

Guitars? Looks like a job for the four jaw chuck. Welcome aboard.

Paul Mallen14/08/2020 16:28:23
44 forum posts
16 photos

Thanks for the welcome, i got one of them as well yes

Brian H14/08/2020 22:16:50
1742 forum posts
112 photos

Hello Paul and welcome. No problems with not being a modeller or not being an engineer as far as most people on here are concerned.

I'm sure we would be interested in what you use your lathe etc for and how you overcome problems with manufacture.


Paul Mallen15/08/2020 07:50:25
44 forum posts
16 photos

Hi Brian and thank you for the warm welcome, I’m surprising myself these days with what I’m managing to come up with on it as I only got it to turn some control knobs on, I’m starting to manufacture my own tuners - which is where I’m encountering some problems that I hope I can solve with the help of you good people.

Heres a link to my website if anyone’s interested

Howard Lewis15/08/2020 12:55:51
3536 forum posts
2 photos


We all have different, but broadly parallel ,interests.

With a lathe, as you are already finding, there are all sorts of things that you can do that were not possible before

Lots of help and advice on all sorts of subjects, on here if you ever need it.


Meunier15/08/2020 19:56:02
340 forum posts
1 photos

Welcome Paul, guitars ? you are in good company here, one of the contributors to this forum makes beautiful guitars, some with bent necks and 15 strings (chitarrones ) and lutes. search for Roderick Jenkins

Paul Mallen16/08/2020 09:02:47
44 forum posts
16 photos

Thank you for the warm welcomes gents, it’s good to know there are more here that do what I do, and even better to know that there are folks who may be able to shine a light on some of the things that I’m struggling with......... although that may be a task in itself lol

Harry Wilkes16/08/2020 09:13:21
964 forum posts
63 photos

Welcome Paul from a fellow West Mids man


Mike Donnerstag16/08/2020 10:57:44
187 forum posts
39 photos

Welcome Paul,

I haven't been here that long either. I'm not an engineer, nor do I make models, but I restore (and will shortly make) instrument bows (violin, viola, cello and bass). I also have an unhealthily growing interest in engineering and a hunger for engineering knowledge, as well as a reverence and envy for the skills of those people who are long-time contributors to the forum.

I'm sure you'll find all kinds of useful things the engineering lathe can help you with, from making tools to making guitar string pegs.


Thomas Cooksley16/08/2020 18:26:51
32 forum posts

Hi Paul, Welcome to the forum, all sorts on here it all adds to the diversity and the great wealth of knowledge, I am sure it won't be long before someone is asking for your help.


Paul Mallen16/08/2020 18:28:16
44 forum posts
16 photos

Thanks again gents, Kingswinford bloke here Harry, always good to see someone who stands a chance of understanding my accent laugh

Mike yes i find the problem solving as much fun as the actual instrument making & i have a very unhealthy obsession with making everything myself rather than buying things like machine heads, bridges & the like.....

My main frustration is screw cutting on the lathe i have - i don't know what i need & am having trouble sorting out much information on its as it all seems to be scattered over the web & not making an awful lot of sense.......

Thomas Cooksley16/08/2020 18:36:27
32 forum posts

Hi Paul, If it's an outside thread and it's a common thread you may be better off using a tail stock die holder. Much easier than setting up the change gears and doing multiple passes with a cutting tool.

Hope this helps Tom.

Paul Mallen16/08/2020 18:56:31
44 forum posts
16 photos

Hi Thomas, thank you for the advice but it’s a lead screw I need to make & finding out how to set it up for screwcutting, don’t get me wrong it’s all good & if I can actually achieve it on the lathe I have then I’ll be well chuffed, but as it’s older than gods dog & it only came with a few wheels, its holding me back a bit laugh

Edited By Paul Mallen on 16/08/2020 18:57:58

Roderick Jenkins16/08/2020 19:38:33
1924 forum posts
503 photos

Welcome fellow luthier.


Howard Lewis16/08/2020 20:44:10
3536 forum posts
2 photos

For smaller threads, being a coward, I rely on Taps and Dies

If you want to go into screwcutting and changewheels, two books that are useful are:

Workshop Practice Series, No.3 "Screwcutting in the Lathe" by Martin Cleeve

and more recently

"Gearing of Lathes for Screwcutting" by Brian Wood.

Having a lathe with a Norton gearbox, of course, adds another dimension to the fun!


Paul Mallen17/08/2020 09:18:55
44 forum posts
16 photos

Thank you Rod - there are more of us!!!

Thanks Howard but unfortunately books are of no use to me - I need showing or just telling what to do as I find it very hard to follow anything in print, and having trawled through many times I just end up with a headache & even more frustrated.......

it’s strange because I have a music degree yet I don’t know above my 6 times table - I’m the forgotten generation as far as schools went as the teachers didn’t want to teach & I had no interest in anything other than metalwork & music - metalwork got stopped after my 1st year & my music teacher hated me because I’m a punk - hence why I achieved my degree to rub his nose in it. So I struggle with measurements unless it’s metric & I can’t add up to save my life......

Told you I’m special laugh

Phil Stevenson17/08/2020 10:17:46
77 forum posts
13 photos

Hi from yet another West Midlander who likes his guitars. I've been banging out chords for many decades but never made one until lockdown when I started on cigar box guitars. Just about finished five to date and started on numbers 6 and 7, all different in design and make up. I've discovered the Midlands is a bit of a hot-bed for CBGs (you must have come across Chicken Bone John). I'll never win any prizes for my instruments but they all work (!) and they have been great fun to make. Thank heavens I have 2 garages full of accumulated tools and machinery to help with my new found challenges in woodwork, metalwork, electronics etc. Btw, Paul, the guitars on your site look stunning.

Paul Mallen17/08/2020 13:17:50
44 forum posts
16 photos

Hi Phil, fair play to you mate as long as you enjoy what your doing it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of them!

I’ve never had much to do with anything other than basses & the occasional 6 string as I’ve been a bassist for about 35 years now, & I’ve never heard of who you mention - but that most likely has something to do with me being allergic to people in general, I much prefer inanimate objects to humans, there’s less arguments laugh

Thank you for the compliment mate, it’s very much appreciated

Howard Lewis17/08/2020 19:58:58
3536 forum posts
2 photos


The most likely way to get face to face tuition on screwcutting is to join a Model engineering Club.

What puzzles me is that you want to cut a Leadscrew. Not one for your lathe I hope.

You need to do the calculations so that the Leadscrew, of known pitch, rotates at the right speed , relative to the chuck. Stating the obvious: with a 8 tpi Leadscrew, a 1;1 ratio will cut a 8 tpi thread.

A 2:1 ratio will result in a 16 tpi thread, and so on

The fun starts trying cut a metric thread on a lathe with an Imperial Leadscrew; or vice versa.

And the techniques, depth of cuts etc; are something else to learn for your particular lathe.

In my view, you do need to study the books, to learn how to do the calculations, and to set up gear trains, as well as being guided person to person, on your machine.


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