The Sherline Miniature Machinist's Newsletter

Number 25, January 15, 2010

Sherline Workshop Project of the Month

Saw Tables for the Sherline Lathe/Natt Emery

Simple Solution #1óThis two-piece table is quick and easy to build. A C-clamp holds a temporary guide or stop.

A top is fastened to an aluminum base block with countersunk fasteners, bringing the surface height to approximately the center height of the 4" diameter sawblade, which is held in an arbor. (The arbor could be easily made from a P/N 3055 #1 Morse blank.) The top is slotted part way through to clear the saw blade. Countersunk 10-32 screws go through the table, spacer block and into two Sherline T-nuts to fasten the saw table to the crosslide. The table handwheel can be used to advance the material for a square cut, since Natt most often just uses the temporary clamp-on guide as a depth stop to cut multiple pieces of the same length or to make slots.

Fancier Solution #2óIf you have or can purchase an old Unimat saw table, hereís a way to mount it on your Sherline lathe. If you canít find one, make a similar table from tooling plate.

The first photo shows the aluminum base Natt made to hold an old Unimat saw table, which has a pin underneath for mounting. The support is drilled to size for the pin and slit from the outside. Two 10-32 screws tighten to grip the pin for height adjustment. The table has perpendicular grooves for a sliding fixture to keep your stock square during the cut, or a guide can be clamped to the table for ripping long material.

This photo shows the bottom side of the table with the mount attached. Photo two shows the clamp guide Natt made along with a sliding adjustable guide that rides in the table slot.

Carlís super-fancy designÖ

To see a prototype Sherline saw table designed by Joe Martinís late partner, Carl Hammons CLICK HERE. (Scroll down to workshop project #32.) The Sherline Workshop contains even more projects you can build.

Shop Tip of the month

A simple storage block for your tool posts/Natt Emery

Keep all your pre-loaded tool posts handy and the cutting tools protected with this simple solution.

Natt Emery submitted several Sherline tips, and here is another. If you change tools often, you will soon find that it saves a lot of time to have a number of tool posts already loaded up with your favorite cutting tools. Rather than having them loose on your workbench or toolbox drawer, this simple wood block keeps them all in one place. Nattís is long enough for his 8 tool posts with room for a couple more if needed. This way the cutting tools wonít be banging into each other so they will stay sharp. Multiple cuts on a table saw were used to cut a groove in the wooden block about Ωî deep and slightly wider than the width of the tool posts. Cut a deeper groove in the center to clear the T-nuts.

More than 50 other helpful tips for Sherline machinists can be found at More tips and projects just for CNC users can be found at

Product Spotlight

When it comes to parting off material, several options are available to Sherline machinists, and the similar names can sometimes cause confusion as to which option does what. Here are your options:

Cutoff Tool Holder Options: P/N 3002 ($50.00) and P/N 3016 ($15.00)

The P/N 3002 ($50.00) cutoff tool and holder (left) is used on the front side of the part. A rear mounting block P/N 3016 (Right, $15.00) can be used to mount the 3002 holder on the back side of the part. When this is done, the blade is turned upside-down.

A cutoff tool or ìparting toolî as it is sometimes called is used to separate the piece you are working on from the stock from which it was turned. Several conditions must be met to complete this operation successfully:

1. The holder must be mounted perfectly square to the work.

2. The blade should extend no further than necessary from the holder.

3. The tip of the blade should be at the centerline of the part

4. A slow cutting speed (about Ω normal turning speed or less) and plenty of lubrication are recommended.

5. NEVER attempt to part off a piece held between centers.

Note that the blade is mounted at a slightly upward angle on the P/N 3002 holder. This gives some rake to the cutting tip and also allows for adjustment to get the tool tip to the proper height for your lathe. The down side to this is that it keeps you from optimizing rule number 2 above regarding tool length, because the distance from the holder is determined by the centerline height.

Adding the rear mount spacer P/N 3016 allows you to mount the 3002 holder and blade on the rear side of the part. The blade is turned upside down and extends in a slightly downward direction to keep the slightly negative rake on this side of the part. There are two advantages to working on the rear side of the part: 1) The cutoff tool can be left permanently in place where it is out of the way when not in use and 2) Gravity helps remove chips from the groove more easily. The 3016 holder comes with a longer 10-32 screw and uses the existing long T-nut from the 3002 holder.

One-piece rear mount cutoff tool holder, P/N 3018

The P/N 3018 rear mount cutoff tool and holder ($50.00) offers a couple of advantages.

If you like the idea of keeping your parting tool mounted to the back side of your lathe table so it is always handy and ready for a parting operation, this version of the holder offers two advantages: 1) the blade is held level with no rake, so it can be adjusted in or out to give a minimum amount of tool overhang depending on the size of the part to be cut off, and 2) It is easier to mount than the 3002 + 3016 combo because it is made in one piece. It is also less expensive than the two parts added together. It includes the cutoff blade, long T-nut and 10-32 hold-down screw.

Cutoff tool holder riser block, P/N 1296

This riser block is shown here under the standard P/N 3002 cutoff tool and holder, which is not included.

The P/N 1296 cutoff tool holder riser block ($50.00) allows you to use the P/N 3002 standard cutoff tool and holder when you have riser blocks in place on the lathe. It simply raises the cutoff tool the appropriate amount for use on the REAR side of the part with the tool held upside down. 10-32 screws of the proper length and two T-nuts are included. (This accessory is not meant to imply that large stock can be parted off, but rather it is for use on small stock for those who leave riser blocks permanently installed on their lathes.)

Cutoff tool holder for the P/N 2250 Quick-Change Tool Post, P/N 2290

This quick-change cutoff tool holder is included with the P/N 2250 quick change tool holder set, or it can be purchased separately as P/N 2290 ($80.00). (Parting tool blade not included.)

Did you know?

ï The work of John Maki featured in last monthís newsletter has now been added to the Sherline Workshop. See higher quality images of his fine miniature woodworking tools in project #34.

ï Do you need an accurate but inexpensive slide or spindle for a custom or light production tooling task you have in mind? Donít spend huge amounts of money or tear up your Sherline lathe or mill just for a slide or spindle. Sherline offers a line of industrial slides and spindles based on parts from our tool line at These products are only sold factory direct to keep costs down, and they may be just the ticket for your custom tooling needs.

ï When you call Sherline you wonít get an irritating series of recorded questions or an answering machine. A real person will answer the phone. Please bear with us if it takes a while for our operator to answer. We have two or three people answering phones during the day, but we have more incoming lines than that, so if it is really busy the phone may ring a few times. We think that is still better than talking to a machine. After business hours you can get information from our web site at or you can order 24 hours a day from our secure on-line order site at

Upcoming Shows

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 One new craftsman was added to the on-line museum this past month. See the new page on Find Hansen of Denmark and his interesting ìhot bulbî engines.

ï The e-mail gleaned from photos on our web site featuring the work of Young Park went viral on the Internet in December, bringing worldwide attention to Youngís model aircraft, the foundation and the museum. As a result we had over 200 visitors to the Vista museum and many thousands of new visitors on-line in December, and the publicity still continues to draw more visitors. Also as a result of the e-mail making the San Diego Aerospace Museum aware of his models, we are negotiating with them for an exchange of exhibits to take place some time this year.

ï Ray Anderson donated not only a copy of his book on building dioramas, but also a copy of the 1932 rules and plans for the Fisher Body Craftsmanís Guild Contest to build a model of the Napoleonic coach in the General Motors logo. (Body by Fisher)

ï On December 16th, 18 riders with the Honda Gold Wing Club of San Diego visited the museum for a tour.

ï One of Paul Knappís Bentley BR2 rotary engines was successfully flown on a radio-controlled model in Georgia on December 4th, establishing two new world records. A video of the first flight was added to YouTube at on December 23rd. It has already had over 4100 views.