The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 24, December 15, 2009

Sherline Workshop Project of the Month

Miniature Classic Woodworking Tools/John Maki

The first photo shows a selection of the tools made by John Maki arrayed in front of a full-size plane. The second photo shows a miniature bow saw on a $2 bill for size reference.

A few weeks ago John Maki and his wife came by to tour both Sherline and the Craftsmanship Museum. He left us a CD containing photos of some of his work. We will soon be adding more detailed photos of these fine pieces to the Workshop section on the Sherline web site, but for now here is a preview. You can also see and learn more about his work at his own site at

John usually starts with a full-size vintage tool purchased on eBay or at a show that he uses as a model. From that he does detailed CAD drawings of each piece. The fit and function of each piece can also be observed so it can be duplicated in miniature. Some of the parts are then milled using CNC, and some are made manually using hand tools plus a manual Sherline lathe and mill. Because Johnís main concern is the collection of miniature tools, the full-size tool is often re-sold on eBay or elsewhere once it has served its purpose, but he has saved a few of his favorites so that they can be displayed with the miniature for comparison. He makes many of the tools in small runs of 30 or so which are offered for sale on his site.

An engraverís ball is seen full size and in miniature. The second photo shows a selection of miniature planes and a handsome display box.

John uses an assortment of fine hardwoods, ivory, steel and brass in his miniature creations. They are complete down to the miniature engraved numbers and makerís marks or logos. He has done all sorts of tools including planes, saws, measuring tools and engraving tools. While many collectors spend their time searching for pieces that others have made, John prefers to create his own slice of tool history in miniature by making each piece in his collection himself while also making them available to a select few collectors.

Shop Tip of the month

Accordion way covers for your Sherline CNC mill/

The first photo shows the completed way cover on top of the set of plans along with the patterns for the end plate. The second photo shows the cover installed on the Y-axis.

Sherline mills do not have a tendency to get chips on the Z or X-axis leadscrew, because the design of the mill keeps them shielded. However, the Y-axis leadscrew and ways are exposed to chips, and many users have offered solutions to keeping this leadscrew clean during milling operations. The simplest way it to just place a piece of shirtback cardboard or plastic over the leadscrew area while working and dump the chips off periodically. The solution shown here, however, looks much more professional. The web site features plans for making this simple folded paper cover as well as the metal end pieces to attach it to the saddle and base.

A Plexiglas enclosure keeps chips contained. Plans for this attractive enclosure can also be found on the web site.

More than 50 other helpful tips for Sherline machinists can be found at CNC tips like the above can be found at

Product Spotlight

All About End Mill Holders

An end mill holder and one in use cutting a chamfer with a 3/8" shank end mill.

End mill holders or collets are how end mills are held in a milling machine. The end mill holder offers several advantages over using collets. First, the end mill holder allows you to use either single-ended or double-ended end mills, while collets work best only with single-ended end mills. Secondly, once the tool is secured in the holder by tightening the set screw against the flat in the end mill, the tool length doesnít change as long as the cutter is not removed from the holder. This comes in handy in CNC use, where the tool length is measured and set into the tools table in your program. Each time that tool is returned to the machine for an operation, the tool length is the same as it was before, meaning the table need not be updated. Each tool holder can be numbered, and because they simply thread onto the Sherline spindle, changing tools can be done quickly when a tool change is called for in the program. Having several end mill holders pre-set with different tools is, in effect, an inexpensive quick-change tool holder set for your mill.

Sherline end mills are turned from steel in a single CNC operation, and the threads are single-pointed while the part is still on-center, assuring the perfect alignment between the external spindle thread and the center hole of the end mill holder. If threads are tapped, or if the shoulder of the end mill holder is not perfectly flat, seating accuracy cannot be assured. Shortcutting some of these processes is how some other manufacturers make less expensive end mill holders, but Sherline felt cutter centering accuracy was too important to make any compromises in the process.

Sizes Available ($30.00 ea.):

3/8"óP/N 3079

5/16"óP/N 3075

1/4" óP/N 6079


1/8"óP/N 6081

10.0 mmóP/N 3078

8.0 mmóP/N 3077

6.0 mmóP/N 3076

Did you know?

ï A CNC Sherline cam grinder designed by Joe Martin is now featured on a YouTube video at (Part 1) and (Part 2) Joe is shown grinding the cam for the Howell V-4 engine. The video runs about 17 minutes, so it had to be split into two parts to fit YouTubeís 10-minute length requirement. The video has been receiving a lot of hits.

ï Searching Sherlineís web site is easy. If you donít find a direct link to the section you are looking for on the black navigation bar at the top of the home page, you can scroll down to the Google Search Feature bar. Type in the part number or name you are looking for and hit ìSearch.î Googleís search engine will search just the Sherline site for your topic.

ï Sherline started importing tools from Australia in the early 1970ís but incorporated as a manufacturer here in the USA in 1974óalmost 36 years ago. Sherline lathes were originally imported to be sold by Sears under the Craftsman Tools label and were sold that way for 15 years in addition to being marketed under the Sherline name. They were also sold under the name of Jensen Tools, National Camera, Brookstone and others. Some of these special branded Sherline tools still turn up on eBay now and then, and parts are still available.

Upcoming Shows

ï The Cabin Fever Expo in York PA each January is the largest show on the east coast. See for information. This is its 14th year and the show will be held January 16-17, 2010.

ï The North American Model Engineering Society (NAMES) will host its next major exposition in Southgate, MI the weekend of April 24,25, 2010. This is the 21st annual presentation of this prestigious show. See for details. Sherline will be a vendor at this show. In 2011 the show will move to Novi, MI.

Joe Martin Craftsmanship Foundation News

ï Three people were added to the on-line museum this past month. They are:

11/24óSunia ReznikóWooden model vehicles in a wide variety

12/2óLee RootóEveryoneís favorite engine builder (Youíll love his Corvette!)

12/22óJim HastingsóClassic plank-on-frame wooden ship models

ï A Solar #4 engine with parabolic reflector was donated to the Vista museum by Les Cade. The engine runs great when you focus the sunís energy on the heating element and adds another engine we can run upon request for museum visitors.

ï Both web traffic and visitors to the museum in Vista have gone up dramatically this past week as a result of an e-mail sent by an unknown writer who gathered images from our web site and sent an e-mail to friends detailing the work of Young C. Park and his aluminum aircraft models. It has been forwarded by hundreds of thousands of people and was also published in the EAA newsletter on December 11th. (That goes to 90,000 members alone!) Did you get it too? Whoever sent it originally, please contact Weíd like to thank you personally. That kind of publicity canít be bought.

ï Our new Saturday hours are now in effect. We will be open on any non-holiday Saturday by appointment only. Any group of 8 or more that wishes to visit on Saturday should contact the museum at least one week in advance, and we will make arrangements to open up and host a personal tour for your group.