Accessories of Lathe: Arm Rests

The arm rest is an auxiliary tool rest that saves you from having to move your main tool rest when you’re working on the face of the work. An added advantage of the arm rest is that it allows you to quickly obtain center height for the tool. At the very center of the work, the tool must be exactly on-center, and any inaccuracies can be corrected instantly by raising or lowering your shoulder.

Turning Long, Thin Spindles

To start, find a point near the middle of the turning that is either straight or slightly tapered. Set up the steady rest at this position, making sure it is firmly attached to the bed. Now establish a diameter about 1/16 in. larger in diameter than the actual turning at this point. This essentially forms a plane bearing around the work for the steady to ride on. Throughout this sequence, my lathe was running at about 1,000 rpm.

1. Place the billet in the lathe between exact centers, - and take a light cut in the middle with a roughing out gouge. If you only cut on one or two comers, you need to offset a bit. Once you've offset the billet, do another trial cut to ensure that the stock is being removed equally from all four comers.
1. Place the billet in the lathe between exact centers, – and take a light cut in the middle with a roughing out gouge. If you only cut on one or two comers, you need to offset a bit. Once you’ve offset the billet, do another trial cut to ensure that the stock is being removed equally from all four comers.
2. Tum the spindle round in the area of the steady rest. Don't rough more than just this area because you need the extra strength provided by the square section to keep harmonic chatter to a minimum while you tum a bearing surface.
2. Tum the spindle round in the area of the steady rest. Don’t rough more than just this area because you need the extra strength provided by the square section to keep harmonic chatter to a minimum while you tum a bearing surface.
3. Using calipers and a cutoff tool, size to the final diameter of the spindle to each side of the steady rest.
3. Using calipers and a cutoff tool, size to the final diameter of the spindle to each side of the steady rest.
4. With a light touch, use the roughing-out gouge to true up the area between the two parting tool cuts. I hold the work in my left hand while holding the tool down on the rest with my left thumb to dampen vibration during this critical cut.
4. With a light touch, use the roughing-out gouge to true up the area between the two parting tool cuts. I hold the work in my left hand while holding the tool down on the rest with my left thumb to dampen vibration during this critical cut.
6. Start up the lathe, then apply some paraffin.
5. Start up the lathe, then apply some paraffin.
6. Push down the wedge until the spindle is deflected just a bit, and lock the main wedge in place with the secondary locking wedge.
6. Push down the wedge until the spindle is deflected just a bit, and lock the main wedge in place with the secondary locking wedge.
7. Work from the largest diameters to the smallest. Because of the steady, my skew cuts beautifully without harmonic chatter. To size the end of my baluster to 1/2 in., I use a 1/2-in. open-end wrench as a ready-set caliper. Finally, trim away the bearing surface under the steady with a skew.
7. Work from the largest diameters to the smallest. Because of the steady, my skew cuts beautifully without harmonic chatter. To size the end of my baluster to 1/2 in., I use a 1/2-in. open-end wrench as a ready-set caliper. Finally, trim away the bearing surface under the steady with a skew.
8. Remove the wedge from the steady and sand.
8. Remove the wedge from the steady and sand.
9. The finished spindle "right off the tools."
9. The finished spindle “right off the tools.”

The first time I saw an arm rest was in the hands of fourth-generation master turner Dick Bailey. It struck me as such a good idea that I went home and made one myself. Fortunately, they are now available commercially. Still, it is an easy tool to make yourself, since it’s essentially a bent piece of structural steel.

To use an arm rest, place its handle under your left arm and the shank on the tool rest, then set your turning tool in the hook of the arm rest. Most of the controlling of the tool is done using the right hand, but the left hand can move the tool in and out by sliding the arm rest in the same directions on the rest. The arm rest is most often used with scrapers for making chucks and is essential for chasing inside threads. It should not be used with roughing gouges or skew chisels.

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Author: Aliva Tripathy

Taking out time from a housewife life and contributing to AxiBook is a passion for me. I love doing this and gets mind filled with huge satisfaction with thoughtful feedbacks from you all. Do love caring for others and love sharing knowledge more than this.

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