Ouch! Lathe Lessons to Remember!

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Blog entry by Hacksaw007 posted 09-06-2011 10:41 PM 6650 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well it happens. I was turning a piece of colorwood and was using a small parting tool to set my thickness. the problem was that I had a chuck on my headstock and the piece was short. The tailstock is about 1 1/4 inch thick, and my 6 inch tool rest would not fit into the opening like you would want it to, I had set it to the tailstock so I was about an inch away from the wood.

All of the parting tools that I have ever used, you should take a little wider groove, than just the width of the tool because they can be pinched in the turning wood. That is what happened to me, the tool pinched and was able to be pulled thru my hand, over the tool rest and under the turning wood. As you can see, the tool was firmly pinched in the wood, it stalled my 3/4 horse lathe, and shocked me with how fast it happened.

Pulling the tool also pinched my finger between the tool rest and the tool, it took a chunck of meat with it, and it hurts today. I am looking for a shorter tool rest, or I believe I will have one made so that this doesn’t happen. Also, it is a poor policy to use the small or micro lathe tools and have them not right up against the tool rest and close to the wood.

-- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

6 comments so far

View lew's profile


13357 posts in 4839 days

#1 posted 09-06-2011 10:46 PM


Glad it wasn’t any worse.

Thanks for the post and the safety reminder.


Edit: Have you tried a “diamond” parting tool? Instead of having flat, parallel sides, it has sort of a diamond shape when viewed from the tip. The center of the sides is slightly wider than the top and bottom edges.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3926 days

#2 posted 09-07-2011 04:19 PM

I only consider myself a turner in training (still leanring the ropes), but I have to agree with Lew. I have two parting chisels. One is flat, like the one shown in your photos, but an expensive one. Then I have a diamond shaped one like Lew describes, that is an el-cheapo one from Harbor Freight. Ever since I had the flat one catch, exactly like has now happened to you, I only use the cheap diamond shaped one with no further incidents.


View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3951 days

#3 posted 09-07-2011 07:18 PM

I’ll bet that was painful. No matter how hard we try we all make mistakes similar to that. Anyways, I’m glad it wasn’t worse.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Alan S's profile

Alan S

181 posts in 4401 days

#4 posted 09-07-2011 07:48 PM

Sorry about the injury. I had a recent lathe injury and they don’t feel good!

As far as the parting tool goes, I was taught to slightly rotate the tool along its axis back and forth as you are plunging in. The reason I was told was to keep things from getting too hot. It seems like it might also tend to reduce the chances of this happening as it makes the slot a little wider than the tool. I will definitely watch out for this in the future!


View ptweedy's profile


75 posts in 4477 days

#5 posted 09-07-2011 08:26 PM

The tool or rather the shape of the tool was not the cause of this incedent and injury. Look at the position and distance from the work the tool rest is at. It is way to far away for a cut off. If you dont have the toolling dont try to make do. Saw the end off and then face it off or sand to clean up… phil

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1347 posts in 5083 days

#6 posted 09-11-2011 10:16 PM

Hi Mike

Wow, close call buddy. Glad you’re ok.


-- Bob A in NJ

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