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The Amateur’s Lathe by L.H. Sparey is possibly the best book for the home shop machinist on getting the most out of your smaller lathe. The book was first published in 1948 but it’s held up well over the years.

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The first few chapters cover what a lathe is, choosing a lathe, typical and useful things to look for in purchasing one, and setup. The book then has a chapter on accessories both bought and shop-made with engineering drawings of several useful accessories. Grinding lathe tools, drilling, and other lathe operations are covered. The chapter on work holding is incredibly useful with many setups for faceplate work and mandrel use. Then we get a chapter on boring, another on taper, crankshaft, disk, and ball turning. Screwcutting is covered in its own chapter. Milling, shaping, and grinding are covered along with the drawings for a simple dividing head. As if that’s not enough, the final chapters cover lapping, metal spinning, spring winding, rubber and leather turning, and production techniques.

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The book pretty much covers every possible use of the small lathe in the home shop. The only drawback is that the lathe used in the examples is the British workhorse, the Myford, which is pretty rare here in the states. But pretty much everything else is applicable to used U.S. lathes or newer imports. I often dig the book out when I’m having a creative block and trying to figure out how exactly to go about a particular odd piece of work. It’s also been lent to several friends who are starting out in the rewarding practice of home shop machining. The book is still in print and available for $10-$12 from various online sellers and Amazon UK.

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[Special Interest Model Books]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
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Lawrence H. Sparey Author Info [Website]

 

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