Collet Chuck Revisited

I find collet chucks convenient for holding small work. For bottle stoppers, bird calls, etc.


The screw on Apprentice and Beall Collet Chucks are getting pretty pricey. I recently found a cheaper alternative in the metal working world. You can purchase a “Straight Shank ER32 Collet Holder” for around $25 on Amazon. If you already have a set of ER32 collets. Then you are ready to go. Otherwise you also need to purchase a basic set of ER32 collets for around $30 on Amazon. All prices on 5/6/2020.
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Carl’s Tool Rest Design

Here are some pictures and drawings of the tool rests that I prefer. They are NOT commercially available. You have to find someone to make them for you.

I prefer a tool rest that has a nice 1/2″ wide almost flat area on top of the rest. I like to be able to feel when my turning tool is horizontal across the rest. I round over the top of the tool rest a little with a belt sander. I like the top to be slightly crowned. Like a crowned road.

I also like my tool rests to ONLY be 1/2″ high at the tips. This allows my straight tool rests to work on the inside of bowls.

See photos of my tool rests below and plan above.

Click on the photo or here for a printer friendly PDF file.

Note: In my plan the tool post is 1″ in diameter by 6″ long. This should work ok on most full size lathes. If to long then you can hacksaw it off. You should make the tool post 1″ longer (1″ diameter by 7″ long) for Powermatic 3520 lathe with the PM banjo. The top of the PM banjo is lower than most.
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Metal Cutting Bandsaw


For many years I dreamed of owning a metal cutting bandsaw. I just could not justify the cost. They cost a lot more than wood cutting bandsaws.

Then one day I came across this “Portaband Table” made by “Swag Offroad”. It allows you to mount a portable bandsaw in a table.

I purchased one several years ago and I love it. I thought it would be a luxury item. It is. But, I actually use it a lot, to make my own tools, etc.

On 5/9/2020 the Swag table is $125. The Milwaukee 6232-20 Portaband is $280. Total is $405. I payed less for mine a few years back.

I love being able to cut out all kinds of shapes with this saw in metal, like I can in wood. I have cut teeth into things, etc. It cuts 1/4″ thick steel. No problem. I have even cut up to 1″ thick steel bar that is 1-1/2″ wide. I also use it to cut blanks for my metal lathe.

The only very minor problem, I have found is that the saw climb cuts a little at the start of every cut. i.e. the saw flexes backward a little at the start of every cut. I have gotten use to it. It really does not create any problems.

Oh, and one more thing. When the saw is mounted in the table. The motor is at just the right height to make a loud annoying sound. Thus, I always wear a set of power tool noise reduction ear muffs.

Note: There are lots of good “Swag Portaband” reviews on YouTube.
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