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  1.  
    I've made 34 pens now on my Shopsmith. I've discovered that there is a small nick in the edge of the tool support that sometimes causes the tool to jerk or hang up a little while I'm trying to move it smoothly across the length of the workpiece. Before I just took a file or grinder to it, I thought I'd ask if there is anything I should know that might not be obvious to a novice. Clearly, I need to keep the top surface flat and that edge straight. But is there anything else that I might not be aware of? Any techniques for cleaning up that edge that work better than others? I don't think I've ever heard of anyone needing to do this.

    Thanks!

    Earl Morton
    Kent, WA
    • CommentAuthorBeeg
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2009
     
    When my tool rest gets a little rough. I take a file to it and follow the original profile to smooth it out.
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2009 edited
     
    I wouldn't grind it, Earl. Beeg's got the right idea. "Joint" it with a file -- that keeps it nice and flat. Suggest a 10" single-cut fine mill file. These also work well for jointing scraper edges.

    Lathe tool rests are made from soft cast iron precisely for this reason. As they get beat up, you joint them with a file and restore the smooth, flat surface. I find you can stretch the time between jointing if you "ease" the hard corners of your lathe chisels. You must do this with an abrasive -- the tool steel is too hard to file. I've used a belt sander, flap sander, strip sander, and surface-conditioning disc all with good effect. Start about 1/2" behind the cutting edge and everly-so-slightly round those corners that contact the tool rest.

    With all good wishes,
    Nick

    PS You should also wax the tool rest from time to time to help the chisels glide across it. This really helps when turning small stuff and you need the control.
  2.  
    Waxing came to mind this afternoon while making a couple more pens. I'm sure I waxed it when I bought the Shopsmith 25 years ago, but since I've only starting using the lathe recently, I don't think it's been waxed since then. It's probably due! Thanks!

    Earl
    • CommentAuthorrkh2
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2009
     
    I have had the same issue and did as both Nick and Beeg suggested both with using a file and then putting the wax coating on. The waxing will make a notable difference.
    • CommentAuthorBeeg
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2009
     
    Also don't forget about what else Nick said.

    "I find you can stretch the time between jointing if you "ease" the hard corners of your lathe chisels. You must do this with an abrasive -- the tool steel is too hard to file. I've used a belt sander, flap sander, strip sander, and surface-conditioning disc all with good effect. Start about 1/2" behind the cutting edge and everly-so-slightly round those corners that contact the tool rest."
    • CommentAuthorAijca
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2012
     
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