The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 10, October 15, 2008


Customer Projects—Old Dashboard Clocks Brought Back to Life by Robert Shipley


An 8-day Elgin dashboard clock from the 1920's is turned into an elegant mantle timepiece with a fancy glass-sided box. The sides are green stained glass. The free standing silver hexagonal case holds an Elgin clock from a 1920's auto. The wooden box in the last sample once held a transformer--now it holds a 1926 Elgin dashboard clock. Common items can gain uncommon status when properly presented.

In the days before digital dashboard displays and even before electric clocks, dashboard clocks were spring driven. Bob Shipley came across a nice old Elgin clock that had been in the dashboard of a 1920's car. To display it, he designed a striking hexagonal case with glass in both the front and back. From the back some of the works can be seen. What was once a historically interesting but somewhat plain clock without a case has now become a distinctive desktop display. This case was shown in the April, 1999, issue of the NAWCC Bulletin, a magazine for watch- and clockmakers. The others are also examples of Bob's skill and imagination.

Shop Tip of the month:

A Holder for Small Taps by the late Bob Shores


A piece of round metal stock is all you need to make this handy tap holder. Size is not too critical, but about a 2" diameter piece works well. The drill chuck in the mill acts as a guide to keep it square to the workpiece.


The late Bob Shores was well known for his book on model engine ignitions as well as for his plans for engines like the Little Angel, Silver Angel, Silver Bullet, and the Hercules. He also came up with this handy tip which is published in Joe Martin's book, Tabletop Machining.

"I have read many tips on tapping holes-some good, some not. Five years ago I dreamed up a tapping method for small holes. I tap a lot of holes with 0-80 and 2-56 threads, and since I have been using this method, I have not broken a tap in five years.

After drilling the hole in your part to the proper size for tapping, the drill bit is removed from the chuck without disturbing the work. A 2" aluminum disk, knurled on the outside and drilled and tapped for a 4-40 hex bolt grips the tap just above the flutes. The end of the tap is gripped in the drill chuck and lowered until it just touches the work. The chuck is then loosened to allow the tap to turn freely. The disk holding the tap is turned with your thumb and forefinger. The drill chuck acts as a guide to keep the tap running true, and your fingers are very sensitive to the amount of torque being applied. To break a tap you would have to apply a lot of force." --Bob Shores, Ruskin, FL

Product Spotlight


  P/N 2250 Quick-change Tool Post and Holder set

   P/N 2282  3/8" Quick-Change Tool Holder


P/N 2282  3/8" Quick Change Tool Holder was recently added to the line to expand the capabilities of the Quick-Change Toolpost set for the lathe. Several years ago we introduced the P/N 2250 Quick-change Tool Post and Holder set that includes a 1/4" tool holder, a 3/8" round boring tool holder and a cut-off tool holder. Later we introduced the 2295 optional holder for an inserted tip carbide cutter, but many customers asked for holders that will accept their standard 3/8" square shank IC holders like our P/N 2258 set. Just opening up the slot of the 1/4" holder left too little "meat" at the bottom of the holder, so we recently made a run of holders with a 3/8" slot which is made from larger stock, leaving plenty of strength under the tool. Released several months ago with little fanfare, many customers still don't know they exist, a fact recently brought to our attention by a CNC customer looking for just such a holder who didn't know we now offered it. Well, now you know! P/N 2282 lists for $65.00.

Did you know?

Help Sheets are available to guide you through many common Sherline setup operations like setting gib depth, adjusting backlash, replacing a saddle nut or tramming in your mill. Most of these instructions are either in the 48-page Sherline Assembly and Instruction Guide that came with your machine or they are on the printed sheet that came with your accessory, but in case you've lost them, this page is a good source and is always easy to find as long as you have the Internet handy. It is linked from the first section of the main menu at (left column, 4th one down) or you can go directly to It just might give you the information you need to save yourself a phone call for technical assistance or get you past a problem after Sherline's working hours.

Machine Exploded Views can also be helpful when working on your machine. Again, they are in your Sherline Assembly and Instruction Guide, but if that isn't handy, they are linked from the same first section of the main menu, right across from the help sheets.


• The next show Sherline will be attending is the NAWCC San Diego Regional Show to be held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds November 20, 21 and 22, 2008. The 20th is setup day, and the 21st is open to NAWCC members only, but Saturday the 22nd the show is open to the public. If you are an National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors member, come on out and see us. If not, you can either join there and get in on Friday or come as part of the public on Saturday and see what the hobby (or business) of collecting, building and repairing timepieces is all about.

Upcoming Model Engineering Shows—

• Cabin Fever Expo, York, PA, January, 2009

 • NAMES (North American Model Engineering Society) Expo, Toledo, OH, April 18-19, 2009


Joe Martin Craftsmanship Foundation News

Saturday hours for the Museum Announced

Joe Martin Foundation Director Craig Libuse announced this week that due to popular demand, the Craftsmanship Museum in Vista, CA, will be open the first Saturday of each month from 10 AM to 3 PM starting November 1, 2008. This is in addition to our regular schedule of weekdays from 9 AM to 4 PM (closed holidays). As always, admission is still free. If you are in the North San Diego County area, this museum now rivals any model engineering show you might travel the nation to see when it comes to the number of high quality pieces on display. You will see nothing but the best of the best.

Displays improved, more engines donated

Craig has been making sawdust like mad and has built 12" risers for all the low glass display cases to raise them up for better viewing. We have also added a number of new engines--steam and gas--thanks to donations by three separate individuals so far this month alone. Our thanks to Rex Geivett of Oceanside, CA, for five nice steam engines, Don Holcomb of San Diego, CA, for the vintage K&B Infant .020 and Arden .099 engines and Robert Meltzer of Irvine, CA, for the MVVS 3029 Diesel .15 (2.5 cc) engine.