By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Forum House Ad Zone

Learn to use a metal lathe

Does any one know of someone who would offer tuition for a metal lathe

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Eliza Bruml15/02/2022 11:56:09
4 forum posts

I would like to learn the basics (or at least have a demonstration) of using a metal lathe before purchasing. I am in Hampshire. Anybody help?


Chris Evans 615/02/2022 12:02:29
2056 forum posts

Good luck with your request, I am to far away to help but a nice thing for a local person to do.

duncan webster15/02/2022 12:06:41
3984 forum posts
65 photos

SMEE do basic courses, based in London.

Eliza Bruml15/02/2022 12:08:39
4 forum posts

Sadly, there only seems to be one course a year with SMEE and I have missed the boat for this year.

Nigel Graham 215/02/2022 12:30:27
2132 forum posts
29 photos

Welcome to the forum, Eliza!

Is there a model-engineering society near you, who'd be willing to help you?

You will also find plenty of advice on those and on specific turning matters, here.

Most amateur machinists are self-taught, helped by reference-books and mutual-support fora like clubs and this site. There are various books readily available to help you - have a look at TEE Publishing's and ARC Eurotrade's on-line catalogue for example.

One of the latest was written by one of this site's regulars (& moderators?) - Neil Wyatt, whose Lathework for Beginners keeps appearing in ARC's side-bar ads here!

What particular field of metalworking are you interested in, e.g. model-engineering in its strict sense (working, scaled-down replicas of various machines); making scientific-instruments or clocks; restoring old vehicles, tools etc.?

Steve Langford15/02/2022 12:37:55
3 forum posts

Hi Eliza,

Depends where you are - Hampshire is a big place! If you're anywhere within travelling range of Guildford you'd be welcome to spend an hour or two learning a few things on my lathe.


Mike Crossfield15/02/2022 12:38:41
275 forum posts
36 photos


Where are you located exactly (nearest town)?


Martin Connelly15/02/2022 13:25:28
2137 forum posts
222 photos

Blondihacks on YouTube is probably a good place to start as she covers some of the beginner's questions in a good, clear way.

Metal Lathe Tutorial 1

Absolute Beginners Start Here

Absolute Beginners - Day 2

Martin C

noel shelley15/02/2022 13:28:41
1339 forum posts
21 photos

Welcome to the party Eliza, There are or were clubs at Bornemouth, southampton Andover and portsmouth, there may well be many more. Do you have a specific area of interest that a lathe would be used ? I'm up in Norfolk so to far away, you would be welcome to have a go on my lathe. In October there will be the Midland Model Engineering Exhibition that might be interesting. Good luck and best wishes. Noel

Roger Woollett15/02/2022 13:48:55
134 forum posts
6 photos
Posted by Eliza Bruml on 15/02/2022 12:08:39:

Sadly, there only seems to be one course a year with SMEE and I have missed the boat for this year.

Not quite if you are quick. The part one course got delayed by a week and will now start next Saturday (the 19th).

You may also be interested in the part two (Polly) course which starts on May 14th

jann west15/02/2022 14:35:36
98 forum posts

College of north west london offers various courses (starting from zero experience) in metalwork (either using a lathe and mill or welding and fabrication). They aren't perfect, but they are relatively inexpensive and worthwhile.

Jon Lawes15/02/2022 15:11:50
926 forum posts

sometimes our model engineering society runs courses based on demand (we are in West Wiltshire, Westbury), however there is always someone around happy to give hints and tips.

Best of luck

Eliza Bruml15/02/2022 17:55:55
4 forum posts

Thanks, everyone for your replies -I am based just outside Winchester so neither Guildford or Westbury are out of the question. Anyone else nearer who would be willing to give a demo?

larry phelan 115/02/2022 18:05:06
1180 forum posts
15 photos

You buy a lathe

You buy a good book

You give it a try

Works every time !

You make a cock-up ?

Welcome to the club !

There are no short cuts, you just get stuck in and when you run into a problem, just ask here !

Be assured, someone will come to your aid ! How do I know ? Ask me !cheeky

Oldiron15/02/2022 18:09:25
975 forum posts
40 photos

It may be worth visiting one of your local "Mens Sheds" ( Ladies welcome also )

New Arelsford, Kingsworthy, Colden Common & Eastleigh all have one. Look them up on Google. Many of the mens sheds have members with lathes or even have one in the building. Look them up you will be welcome & get a cup of tea for your efforts.



Jon Lawes15/02/2022 18:17:14
926 forum posts

Another vote here for the Blondihacks videos on youtube, She is upfront when she makes mistakes which is refreshing, is quite mindful of safety and has an approachable style.

Bountyboy15/02/2022 18:27:06
51 forum posts
8 photos

Hi Eliza,

Welcome to the forum. I’d also recommend Blondihacks from YouTube and a retired metal work teacher called mrpete222, aka tubalcain, we’ll structured videos which I find perfect for a beginner (me).

I’m in a similar situation to you, I do have a lathe but I need to fix it first and then learn how to use it.

Have fun,


Howard Lewis15/02/2022 18:27:26
6104 forum posts
14 photos

Welcome to the Forum.

Am sure that you will find help.

I would, but am in East Midlands so too far away.

It might be worth buying L H Sparey's "The Amateurs Lathe" to get an insight.

Later, other books will enlarge your knowledge.

If you decide to buy a lathe, your choice will be modified / determined by

What you want use it for. What do you envisage making? A 6" scale traction engine is different from 00 gauge railways or lace bobbins.

Budget There are arguments in favour of new and second hand. New you have come back mif there is a problem, but used may be cheaper to buy. But you definitely need first hand advice on bying a used machine. If you do, shiny paint may not be a better machine than one some chips in the paint!

Space and location. A mini lathe will weigh about 35 - 40 Ks which can be carried upstairs by two ,people, if that is where you choose to have your workshop. The same cannot be said of a machine weighing 300Kg!

Buying a lathe is the start of things. But din't be frightened, you don't have to equip a workshop in the first week. You acquire things as and when you need them.

(Like buying a car, where you need to budget for fuel and servicing ) You will need to buy cutting tools, if only a couple.

Measuring instrument A cheap digital calliper will ,cost you about £10 An high quality none, possibly £80.

Before too long, not necessarily, but you may feel the need for some accessories (A four jaw chuck springs to mind, which is likely to lead to a Dial Test Indicator and a Magnetic Base )

FWIW, it is likely that as you gain experience, you will want /need a larger lathe. So buy one that is a little larger than you think you will,need. It might turn out to be cheaper and less fraught in the longer term.

Above all, do not rush either in the purchase (Try to get face to face advice if possible )




Former Member15/02/2022 18:33:18
1085 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Chris Mate15/02/2022 19:21:23
146 forum posts
32 photos

Some random thoughts...I am retired and decided to do somthing completely different for a change, now I regret not starting many years ago. By doing a course you be off in a more structural way more quickly & books etc, but in the mean time you may think about a few random things....

When I started with a lathe, I looked to videos to see the work atmosphere, how they talk about the lathe sections etc you use to make a part, how you sharpen HSS tools basic, cutting fluid use, lathe safety. I did this for about 3 years. I have seen different approuches, braveries, systematic approuches etc.

Then the big problem, which lathe to buy-? Can I move & handle it alone, or dependant on others-?
-How large is the hole through the spindle for long stock, are you limited to which dimentions-?
-Cutting treads and changed gears-?

-What happens to the accuracy of the lathe bed if I bolt it down to anything-?

-Which toolpost-?

-After I bought the lathe, for sfety reasons I made a place for my lathe chuck key with a switch, if not in position the lathe is tripped and cannot run. I never regretted this move.

-Have respect for spacial awareness, meaning can something run accidently into something else if moved where, this can catch you out. Be carefull when using auto feed, you may have changed something within you original vision of whats coming,......can it accidently catch you out-? was the tailstock locked and in the way-? Has a toolbit or topslide position changed, and catch you out.....?

-Never rush into a job, take time too understand your moves, slow in the beginning then faster later on.

-How heavy cut should you take for your lathe-?

-Rough cuts...
-Final cuts..To get to your final dimention.

-Positioning of the tool height-?

-Backlash....? DRO's & measurements

-Parting off......? Speed type pf tools.

-Lathe height, not to strain your back. (I got advice about this, and not regretted it)

-Lathe lighting to see better-?

-You keep on learning in circles as time goes on.

-What is the smallest part you can make-? The smallest part I had to make was an oiler insert for the lathe I bought.
-What is the largest part you can make-? THe largest part I made was a steering wheel to crank the lathe manually if I need to do that, I have seen other do this .


Edited By Chris Mate on 15/02/2022 19:22:48

Edited By Chris Mate on 15/02/2022 19:25:15

Edited By Chris Mate on 15/02/2022 19:25:42

Edited By Chris Mate on 15/02/2022 19:26:11

Edited By Chris Mate on 15/02/2022 19:29:39

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Support Our Partners
Eccentric Engineering
Rapid RC
Eccentric July 5 2018
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest