Lathe tools, or tool bits as they are sometimes called, are the cutting tools that are used for turning and facing work on the lathe. The most popular lathe tools are those made of high-speed tool steel (HSS). They can be used for machining most materials including wood, plastic, aluminum, brass and steel. These tools will retain their hardness at temperatures up to 1000° F. (588° C.). For this reason, depth of cut, cutting speed and feed rates are important. The big advantage of high-speed steel tools is the ease with which they can be sharpened. A standard aluminum oxide grinding wheel can be used. Once shaped and sharpened, they will retain their cutting edge for a long time.
Provided with each Sherline lathe is a pre-sharpened 1/4″ HSS cutting tool. Pre-sharpened tools are also available in sets with a right-hand, left-hand and boring tool pre-ground for you. However, it is much more economical to learn to grind your own tools starting from a blank. You can save specially ground tools for similar jobs in the future or re-grind them for another use.
Always wear safety glasses when operating machine tools.