lathe turning gauge

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Project by Todd Swartwood posted 01-15-2015 11:11 PM 2872 views 8 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am pretty new at lathe work and seem to have trouble using a caliper and parting tool together.
So when I saw the Robert Sorby sizing gauge I thought it would solve my caliper problem.
I looked it up on line a number of months ago to buy it and decided I had other things I would rather spend the money on.
So I took a mental picture and finally decided to make it 2 days ago. I have also been building a shoe rack at the same time so during glue ups and such I have been working on this gauge.
The only thing I have left to finish is the handle for the new parting tool I made out of a good old file.
The gauge is made of 3 layers of 3/16” aluminum plate, laminated together with 8-32 flat head machine screws.
The aluminum was cut on my bandsaw with a regular alloy blade. there was a fair amount of grinding sanding and filing before painting the finished product. I used it to help me with the sizing for the handle I have turned for the parting tool.

-- Todd Swartwood (Todd Swart-Woodworks)

12 comments so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3224 days

#1 posted 01-15-2015 11:23 PM

Pretty cool!
And I see you’re one of us who pays attention to detail …. the square holes in the screws are all “clocked” the same!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Todd Swartwood's profile

Todd Swartwood

258 posts in 2942 days

#2 posted 01-16-2015 12:19 AM

Hey Joe,
I certainly do have my own quirks but setting the screws all the same is not one of them. Must have been a fluke.
But I assure you I can make up for it in many other ways.

Have a blessed night Joe, Todd

-- Todd Swartwood (Todd Swart-Woodworks)

View bushmaster's profile


4134 posts in 3499 days

#3 posted 01-16-2015 01:18 AM

Very nicely done, I will go the same route

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View woodify's profile


349 posts in 3289 days

#4 posted 01-16-2015 03:44 AM

View punk's profile


181 posts in 3633 days

#5 posted 01-16-2015 02:46 PM

looks real good nice job, todd you should of said yes I line them up that way all the time ha ha good day to youall

-- Punk in PA

View MrFid's profile


910 posts in 3121 days

#6 posted 01-16-2015 02:59 PM

Hah I line them up too, especially in electrical faceplates where you use flathead bolts. Pisses me off when people don’t do that for faceplates. Not so much for woodworking, but I suppose I’ll start paying attention to that now too. Great, even more neurotic about woodworking.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 2811 days

#7 posted 01-16-2015 05:23 PM

How does this work? If you can get the wood between the tool, you’re already thinner than it is set for.

View Todd Swartwood's profile

Todd Swartwood

258 posts in 2942 days

#8 posted 01-16-2015 10:22 PM

I used the sizing gauge while finishing up the handle for my new parting tool . It worked perfectly, you do have to be careful to get the follower in the parting tool kerf. Other than that it worked perfect, my new parting tool cuts much better than my old one. Good steel does make a difference.

Thanks to all who have commented it is energizing.

LJackson, the tool works just like a set of calipers only one side cuts, when you work all the way through you have reached your measurment.

Thanks again guys and have a great and blessed evening, Todd

-- Todd Swartwood (Todd Swart-Woodworks)

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4802 days

#9 posted 01-16-2015 11:03 PM

Wow well made ! really good machinig however and this is meant as genuine Brotherly criticism,Using files on woodturning lathes is a no no.I was given some of these by an elderly friend he said he used them all the time.I tried one out HSS they aintL LOL .Now this old boy exploded on me and shattered like glass.It was very scary too I chucked the whole sheebang, about eihght of them in the dusty old bin can.
Never again.
I have since heard of some bad experiences from others.They are not designed to flex and they end up being too hard for woodturning and shatter just like glass or even tungsten sometimes does this becaus although it is extremely hard they are also brittle just please remember old Al does not want his jock pals hurt or blinded Hav a great new year.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Todd Swartwood's profile

Todd Swartwood

258 posts in 2942 days

#10 posted 01-17-2015 12:49 AM

Thanks Alistair,
I am aware of the files hardness, so I removed the temper from all but the last 3” of the steel.
That should eliminate any chance of shattering in my hands.
I do appreciate you taking the time to warn me though, having a tool disintegrate in my hands
could be a real eye opener.

Thanks again, have a blessed evening, Todd

-- Todd Swartwood (Todd Swart-Woodworks)

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 2811 days

#11 posted 01-18-2015 12:56 AM

Being still lost in confusion, I decided to look up the original Robert Sorby tool that inspired this one. Seeing it in action allows me to understand it now. I originally thought it was for sizing the thickness of a bowl. That is, the blade would be carving the inside of a bowl, while the opposite end would be riding the outside of the bowl. Now that I see it is just for the outside diameter, it makes perfect sense.

View Todd Swartwood's profile

Todd Swartwood

258 posts in 2942 days

#12 posted 01-18-2015 06:37 PM

Once you see it work it is a very easy concept. I am very pleased with the way it works.
I no longer have to say I missed it measurement by that much. (Maxwell Smart)
Have a great and blessed day, Todd

-- Todd Swartwood (Todd Swart-Woodworks)

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