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Advice for a newbie on tools and tool post for a Myford super 7

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Mark Peatfield22/01/2021 21:00:18
2 forum posts

Hi newbie from mid Lincolnshire here. I have recently purchased a Myford super 7B lathe. I have always tinkered with motorcycles and have got the lathe so I can take my tinkering to the next level.

While I have some limited experience on a Myford S7 from 30 odd years ago I always had someone else to sharpen the tools. Some HSS tools came with the lathe but I haven’t got a clue how to sharpen them correctly. I have invested in some books in the workshop practice series to learn, but there is no substitute for being shown which in today’s climate is hard to do.

My solution, albeit costly I believe is to invest in a set of indexable lathe tools. Browsing the interweb it seems there are many different manufacturers and quality and price vary wildly. Can someone point me in the direction of a uk supplier of good quality indexable lathe tools. I had considered the 9 piece 8mm set from RDG but read the better quality ones are purchased singly rather than in a set. Also is it the tip itself that is the important part or do I need to go for a quality holder as well.

When I previously used an S7, to get the tool at the correct height we used strips of coke can to shim the tool. Quick change tool posts being out of our price range then.

I have been looking at QCTP’s and believe for my needs and my lathe a Dickson type would be better than a multifix type. Is the genuine Myford item worth the extra over the Chinese ones or are there others makes that I should be considering.

All information will be gratefully received and I’m sure I will have many more questions to ask

Brian H23/01/2021 08:33:26
2238 forum posts
113 photos

Hello Paul and welcome. I'm possibly not too far away from you in North Derbyshire. HSS tools are not too difficult to learn how to sharpen, especially if they already ground to shape and merely need the sharp edge putting back. A double ended grinder with a fine grey wheel will do this. Even better would be a white aluminium oxide wheel.

A book by Harold Hall entitled "Tool & Cutter Sharpening" (which you may already have) is very good.

If you go the insert route then I would advise only buying what you need as you need it but to start with a tool that will cut on the end and face of a bar along with a parting-off tool but this could be a HSS one in a holder.

The RDG tools are good as are the ones from Chronus but there are other good suppliers as well.

The Dickson posts are very good although you need a surprising number of tool holders to avoid having to dismantle the setup too often. I have 8 holders but could do with more. Mine came from RDG but again, there are other good suppliers.

Be sure to get the right size to fit a Myford as they come in several sizes.


Edited By Brian H on 23/01/2021 08:36:35

Hopper23/01/2021 09:00:40
5505 forum posts
137 photos

If you use the indexable tooling you might find the 4 way toolpost is set up for imperial sized tooling which is slightly smaller so 8mm tooling will sit above centre height in a 5/16" toolpost. I had to machine my 3/8" toolpost down to use 10mm tooling. So the QC might be a good idea. Personally I have no problem with a box full of small shims and the old 4 way. Personal choice.

To learn how to grind your own HSS tools, which is very handy for one off "specials" see The Amateurs Lathe by LH Sparey.

John Baron23/01/2021 09:18:29
499 forum posts
189 photos

Hello Mark,

I own and run a Myford S7B. I'm a great believer in making your own tools. I made the "Norman" patent tool holders for my lathe including a rear tool post. Drawing & Pictures in my album !

I bought a Dickson tool holder quite some time ago but found it far too expensive as a hobbyist to keep buying tool holders, so I sold it and made the "Norman" one. I have no problems setting the tool hight, no looking for shims any more as I had to do when using the original Myford four tool holder.

As far as grinding my own tools, I only use HSS and sharpen them as needed. The only insert tools that I have are threading ones. It is far more convenient buy and to use those than try and grind the angles for 55 and 60 degree threads.


John Haine23/01/2021 10:05:54
4259 forum posts
251 photos

JB Cutting Tools

Highly recommended. For an S7 you probably need 8 mm shank. Initially a right handed turning & facing tool. And maybe an insert parting tool.

I have a Dickson QCTP which I think is the UK made item - also highly recommended. I believe people have had compatibility issues with holders of Far Eastern make and UK TP.

If you go the HSS route then you can do almost any turning and facing job with a tangential tool holder. This also has only one face to sharpen and gives easy height adjustment locked by a single screw. Look it up on here to see how people have made their own, or click on the Eccentric Engineering link just to your right as you read this to see their "Diamond" tool holder. Though a bit pricy you probably wouldn't need a QCTP as well.

SillyOldDuffer23/01/2021 10:16:23
7675 forum posts
1693 photos

Hi Mark, and welcome to the forum.

Easy question first! I suggest putting the QCTP on the back-burner for the time being. Their value is 'Quick Changing', which is great if you need it, and always nice to have, but unnecessary at the 'L' Plate stage. A tool-post and shims sufficient to put the cutting point at centre height are all that's needed. Nothing wrong with shims other than the extra time taken to adjust them, and this is rather short when inserts are used because the edge is always at the same height. (Unlike HSS were sharpening moves the edge, and the tool might have to be reset on the lathe.)

It's much easier to decide what accessories are worth having once you've got used to the lathe and the sort of work you do. (Clockmaking is not the same as motor-bikes, and I don't do either.)

As you've spotted, one advantage of inserts is they don't need to be sharpened! Don't be afraid to go with your instincts, because not everyone is good at grinding tools. It requires a certain amount of skill, a steady hand, and ideally a grinding wheel with a stiffer platform than most. Practice! Again, I suggest making a start with inserts, and giving HSS a go later. HSS has many virtues, and it's easier to get a good finish and take fine cuts with it: provided you can put a reasonable edge on it!

Not all sets are ideal. Inserts are shaped to do a particular job efficiently in industry, not home workshops. They come in bewildering variety, and using the wrong geometry at the wrong speed and the wrong feed rate isn't good. I learned a lot from the two sets I bought, finding there are tools and shapes I never use, and that it can be hard to match inserts to holders when spares are required. I now know the limited range of inserts and tools sold by Arc Euro are well chosen to suit most amateur purposes, and Arc's website describes what they are for. Good place to start.

Newcomers often ask where to buy 'Quality' tools, hoping to find brand-names or a country of origin will make life easy. It's not that simple:

  • When assured quality in the sense of a specification is required, go to an Industrial Supplier like Cutwel. Requires deep-pockets, they may not be interested in amateurs buying penny packets, and not many hobbyists have the financial muscle to go that route. Manufacturing and pro-workshops pay for premium tools because they can't afford down-time. Machines that aren't cutting metal are a dead loss. Doesn't matter much if a hobbyist breaks an insert.
  • Buying from an unknown source on the internet means taking a risk. Are you up for that? The item could be too cheap, fake, or a factory reject. Or it could be a completely genuine bargain, perhaps from a production overrun or bankruptcy sale. The same seller might provide a mixture of good and bad because they don't have any technical expertise. I celebrate the wins and don't expect any sympathy when it goes wrong!
  • Considerably safer to buy locally because there's a higher level of consumer protection, and it's easier to identify the sort of vendor doing a good job selling mid-range tools, rather than a box shifter. Important to recognise buying mid-range is not the same level of service as buying top-end. Faulty tools are exchanged rather than guaranteed perfect on delivery.

Few hints:

  • Older lathes like the Myford were designed before inserts and are too slow to make best use of them. And though faster most Far Eastern hobby lathes are lightly built. However, inserts designed to cut Aluminium work well on steel at lower rpm. Worth trying because they are sharper.
  • Carbide and HSS have different cutting characteristics. When HSS doesn't cut well, it's generally best to back-off, slow-down, and take lighter cuts. Opposite is true of carbide: provided the machine can cope, it's often better to go in harder and faster. This and many other aspects of machining have to be learned and practised. Don't be disheartened by poor results at firstor blame the tool too quickly.
  • Avoid scrap unless you know what it is! Better to learn on metals the seller describes as 'free-cutting ' or having 'good machinability'. Many alloys misbehave badly on lathes and milling machines. They're much easier to deal with when the machinist knows what to look for, having worked with sensible metals first.


Bazyle23/01/2021 11:02:48
6079 forum posts
221 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 23/01/2021 10:16:23:

not everyone is good at grinding tools. It requires a certain amount of skill,

Have to disagree. At the level required by amateurs for simple turning it is zero skill. The important thing is not to be put off by thinking it is hard and special equipment is required. After all you manage to ride a motorcycle - only two wheels so it's got to be incrediby skillful to not fall off right? Apparently people get sufficiently confident to get on them and move forwards too!. Amazing. So ditch your preconceptions and replace with confidence and have a go with HSS.

The best value grinder is the own-brand Titan 8in wheels from Screwfix. All tool angles are 10 degrees nothing fancy just 10 degrees for everything.

KWIL23/01/2021 11:07:32
3442 forum posts
66 photos

Cutwel will supply you and although the Myford does have slower speeds they are more than adequate for our use of insert tooling.

Don't be put off by the doom sayers, learn how to use them and they are fine.

Howard Lewis23/01/2021 11:23:25
5528 forum posts
13 photos


There will come a time when the tool that you require for a job is just not sold, such as a form tool of some description. Or such a tool is available but too costly to justify buying for a "one off", never to be repeated job.

(Cutting a 14 mm internal thread, for instance, springs to my mind. Larger than the Taps that we usually have, but too small for many metric carbide insert tools to enter.)

Under those circumstances the ability to grind your own special in HSS is invaluable.

HSS is economic, also. Carbides chip more easily, so one careless move costs you £3-4. Ditto with HSS means five minutes on the grinder, with lots of the HSS toolbit (That cost the same as one insert ) still left. And the grinder is always available at 8:00 pm on a Saturday night, after having chipped the last insert!

Personally, for most turning work I use a Tangential Turning Tool. It does what I want, and is easy to sharpen, (Only one face to grind, using a small jig )

But for certain jobs, (Boring is one ) I use carbide inserts Horses for courses.

Certainly, make / buy a rear toolpost. This is very useful for parting off, and generally causes far fewer problems than parting off in the front toolpost. Why? Don't know. There have been lots of explanations of how the reversal of the cutting forces improve stability and rigidity. The essential thing is that it works. When I had a ML7, I made one and never looked back for parting off.

As an aside, for the larger machine that replaced it, I made a four way indexing toolpost, like the front one, carrying front and back chamfer tools as well as the parting tool.

The parting tool is the same one that I was given for the ML7 back in the late 70s , and still just less than half used!



Alan Hopwood23/01/2021 11:43:49
40 forum posts

As a long time user of Myford S7's (one at home and its' twin at work), I would say that George Thomas's Workshop Manual is probably the most useful book ever written for that lathe.

Not only does it describe a wonderful range of add-ons for the Seven, but unlike many other writers, he details how best to make things that actually work and why.


SillyOldDuffer23/01/2021 11:52:20
7675 forum posts
1693 photos
Posted by Bazyle on 23/01/2021 11:02:48:
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 23/01/2021 10:16:23:

not everyone is good at grinding tools. It requires a certain amount of skill,

Have to disagree. At the level required by amateurs for simple turning it is zero skill...

Some amateurs are more amateur than others plus I'm a bit clumsy. Although I grind and use HSS I'm not good at it, often taking several attempts to produce an acceptable multi-faceted tool, and occasionally getting it right first time. Despite much practice I'm inconsistent.

Hopeless at ball-games too! I don't think it's a coincidence. My poor old brain just isn't wired that way.


Martin Kyte23/01/2021 11:53:07
2597 forum posts
45 photos

I suggest that it is a very good thing to learn how to grind your own HSS tools for the reason that it will teach you practically how tools cut metal. You will make mistakes but will soon begin to se the connection between increasing/decreasing rake and clearance on free cutting, chip production and surface finish. Something that insert tooling doesn't give you. I do use inserts but also HSS. For example I have a knife tool with a large top rake that I use for fast removal on steel for roughing down. It get rid of metal faster than anything else I have.

I also use a QC toolpost because I'm lazy and can't be faffed with setting tools all the time.

enjoy your lathe.

Best regards Martin

Nicholas Wheeler 123/01/2021 13:38:06
769 forum posts
52 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 23/01/2021 11:52:20:
Posted by Bazyle on 23/01/2021 11:02:48:
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 23/01/2021 10:16:23:

not everyone is good at grinding tools. It requires a certain amount of skill,

Have to disagree. At the level required by amateurs for simple turning it is zero skill...

Some amateurs are more amateur than others plus I'm a bit clumsy. Although I grind and use HSS I'm not good at it, often taking several attempts to produce an acceptable multi-faceted tool, and occasionally getting it right first time. Despite much practice I'm inconsistent.

Hopeless at ball-games too! I don't think it's a coincidence. My poor old brain just isn't wired that way.


Blimey Dave, are you me? Those two points are exactly what I was going to write.

I suspect that manual tool grinding is one of those skills that is better acquired with an practised voice over your shoulder. I didn't have that. and bought a set of the much derided cemented carbide tools with the lathe. An hour after getting it home I had made my first two parts and bolted them in place, despite not having used a lathe before.

The problem total novices have is they don't know what they don't know. They could spend hours grinding tools that don't work consistently - the bit that matters - or even at all. Buying tools that will work straight out of the box is a huge and immediate boost up the learning curve. If a grinder isn't already available then the £40 saved will buy a considerable amount of material to practise on, which will be necessary whatever approach is taken

Being able to grind your own tools is an essential skill, but there are others that are more important first: safe practices, secure work holding, tools on centre height, order of operations etc.

mgnbuk23/01/2021 14:45:18
1048 forum posts
69 photos

I fitted Dickson toolposts to my previous Boxford and current Myford S7 primarily for the convenience of tool height setting - rapid tool changes being a secondary consideration..

On the Boxford the QC toolpost replaced the factory 4 way indexing arrangement. One immediately noticable improvement was the stiffness of the arrangement - I had struggled with grooving & parting off with the 4 way TP due to frequent dig-ins. When this happend, the TP could be seen to flex. These issues went away with the fitting of the QC post.

The Myford came with the Myford "boat" tools & clamp. OK as far as it went, but faffy to set up. A Myford QC set was bought at a Beeston open day & is so much more convenient. While I have increased the number of holders over time, the standard 4 holder (2 turning, 1 boring & parting tool holder) kit is useable and worthwhile "as is". I later fitted an RDG tools rear toolpost with QC base - another worthwhile upgrade, though I'm not sure if they currently offer this. As RDG Tools are Myford now, I'm not sure if a "genuine" Myford set will be much (if any ? ) different to an RDG set - maybe it comes in a "genuine Myford" box ?

While carbide insert tooling is convenient, it is worthwhile learning how to grind HSS tools. It isn't difficult to learn, the tooling is cheaper & can produce better results than carbide on low powered machines.

Nigel B.

Alan Wilkinson 123/01/2021 15:17:30
48 forum posts

Hi and welcome, I have a Myford S7, I am a retired turner, I use a QC tool post, it gives you infinite height adjustment, much better than using shim and getting only somewhere near. My Qc came fro RDC and is very good, yes it would be nice to have lots of holders, But so what, grinding HSS is simple but you need showing when this lockdown is over if you still need help contact me and I will see what I can do I am in Peterborough nearly Lincs. The carbide question most of the tips you see are made for very powerful machine which just pushes off the metal so they are negative rake, you want positive rake, which are available, I use Sandvike the best which cost a bit more but then they work. HSS tools can be ground to whatever shape you want them to be, so are great for making odd shapes.

ATB Alan

Steviegtr23/01/2021 17:19:05
2269 forum posts
313 photos

Hi Mark & welcome.

I have had my Super 7B for some time now. Over a year. I have done quite a lot of mods to it too. I would say for the better. So i have the QCTP. The wedge type a 250-111. Which is the larger model that the 000. It takes up to 16mm cutters. I had to mod the compound to do this but for me it was well worth it. Look at my photo albums. However , many forum members advised me to leave it alone & use HSS tooling, which i did not.

When i got the Lathe it came with quite a bit of HSS tooling. Now having had the machine for a while i many a time find that indeed HSS is sometimes better to use & you can as said above shape the cutter very easily to any shape you want. They are easy to resharpen too. I have some Diamond needle files as well as the grindstone to do this. Not sure about the speed thing. The Super 7B has a range of well over 2000 rpm. Personally i run anything from 500-600 through to 1300rpm. I have never found i needed to go any higher.


Mark Peatfield23/01/2021 20:19:13
2 forum posts

Good evening and thank you all for the responses to my questions. I didn’t expect so many replies and it shows how helpful this forum is to budding machinists.

I have tried to sharpen HSS tools when I did some machining 30 odd years ago and was never particularly good at it. While I did get a useable edge, tools sharpened by others always gave a better finish. If I had practiced more I’m sure I would have improved but as I had someone who was very good at it, I left them to it. Looking back I should have got them to teach me how. In the future I am determined to make my own tools but until then indexable is the way forward for me.

There is a large amount of useful information in all the replies and a lot of things I had no idea about. I have learned more reading the replies than all the books I have invested in recently.

Again many thanks to all who responded to my post.


Paul Lousick23/01/2021 21:36:23
1868 forum posts
666 photos

Get a Diamond tool holder made by Eccentric Engineering and advertised on this site. It is a tangential holder that uses standard HSS cutters and comes with a simple sharpening jig. Extremely easy to sharpen the cutter and leaves an excellent finish on the work.

diamond tool holder.jpg**LINK**


Edited By Paul Lousick on 23/01/2021 21:38:51

Pete.23/01/2021 21:42:28
703 forum posts
181 photos

Do eccentric engineering ship from the UK at all, it shows they don't anymore, but I could have sworn they use to?

ian j23/01/2021 22:01:10
306 forum posts
285 photos

I found the following by clicking on the "shipping tab" on their WEB site:-

UK and European customers are welcome to purchase directly through our UK agent **LINK**

or through the website shop if they prefer.

Edited By ian j on 23/01/2021 22:05:14

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