Casual, Tangential Lathe Tool
© Frank Ford 2004; Photos by FF

I've been working on a little prototype thingy lately, and have gone through a few iterations so far. As I was doing one in brass, I thought I'd like to have a little decorative radius groove on one end, but didn't want to spend any real time doing it. Lacking the tool, I looked around the shop for something that might serve in a pinch. I came up with this 3/16" chainsaw file, which I clamped in my tool holder, thus:


With the lathe in reverse, and supporting the flexible end of the file, I ran the cross slide in and out a few strokes:

Then a quick cleanup pass with some 600 grit paper held over the file:

Came out nicely:



The next day I decided to make a more "final" version of the part in stainless steel. I figured my file wasn't going to be up to the task, so I rummaged some more and turned up this 3/16" carbide drill bit:

A few passes on the grinder gave me a very flat sharp end:

You can't see it in the photo, but I ground it to a slight angle:

With the more acute angle facing up, I clamped it in the tool holder:

No, that third screw doesn' touch the cutting edge of the bit.

Then, I set the height and plowed right into the part with the lathe in reverse, backed out, raised it, and repeated a couple of times:


The result suited me just fine, and the job was quick, easy and cheap:


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