What to do with
A Giant Tool Holder
© Frank Ford 2004; Photos by FF

My pal, John, is a generous guy.  Recently,  he gave me this GIANT tool holder with a handful of new carbide inserts:

Now, my lathe has an Aloris AXA tool post, and it likes 1/2" x 1/2" tools.  This bugger was all of 1-1/4" x 1-1/4" and it is HEAVY.

So, I asked John, "What do you expect me to do with something this BIG?"

He said, "I expect  you to mill a dovetail slot in the side and use it on your Aloris tool post, dummy!"

Generous, and smart, too.


I figured the easy way to measure a dovetail would be to make a little gauge using a pair of 1/4" dowel pins and an adjustable parallel, so this is the setup I used to gauge the size of the dovetail as I cut it.


First I roughed out the notch with a carbide end mill.  Roughed is the right word here, I think, because that was some tough steel, and the going was rough!


Fortunately, I had an indexable dovetail cutter, so I was able to plow out a nice clean dovetail , checking with my little gauge as I went along:

To ensure a good fit with the dovetail, I made certain to cut it to the same depth as my sample tool holder.


When I plopped the big cutter down onto my tool post, it dropped right down to the top of the compound, and the tool sat around .010" above center.  I measured what I'd need to take off the bottom of the holder to make it drop right to center, and skimmed off the entire length of the holder:

Looks like it turned into a real "blue chip" project.


I left the holder full length, figuring the extra mass would only serve to lend more stability.  The holder drops right to center, so I don't need any height adjustment, and it cuts really well:

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