Watchmakers lathe – How to turn Basic Cuts


Hey guys in this video I’ll go through five
basic cuts on the watchmaker’s lathe using hand gravers in two different positions. Before I start, I want to talk about graver
handles. The primary purpose for a graver handle is to protect the user in case of an
accident. So, the graver tang would end up inside of your hand or wrist. So, you may
have to choose a wooden handle or some people like to use a bit of rodico at the end of
the graver or even a wine bottle cork. I prefer to cut the tangs off the end and put them
in these cheap pin vises. I can easily remove and insert the graver at any time. It also
makes it handy so you don’t have the handle weight on the graver sharpening tool when
you resharpening your gravers. In the beginning, we’re going to be turning
brass rod with the diameter somewhere between three to five millimeters this would depend
on the collet that you have at hand. We’re going to cut the rods into lengths of around
12 millimeters or half an inch and then we should fold the ends flat and deburr the edges.
If you don’t have a vise then you should still deburr the edges and then try learning to
take facing cuts first which I’ll be demonstrating later in this video. So, now we’re going to follow the ends flat. And once you are happy with the end, we just
quickly deburr, slowly rotate the workpiece in your hand and just lightly with the fall
go over at 45 degrees. So, here we have it this just makes it a lot easier to insert
into the collet and ensure that you’re going to use the correctly sized collet also. So,
we’re going to insert our appropriately sized collet into the lathe, followed by the workpiece.
Now, because we’re turning down the material length
of 3 millimeters you want a maximum overhang about 5 to 6 millimeters of the material.
So, now we tighten the collet. So, for this first exercise I’m going to be
turning with the graver in a position called diamond down. We want the T rest to be at
a height, so when I rest the graver on it, the top of the tip will be at exactly the
center of the workpiece. So, now I’m checking that the graver when it rests on the T rest
that it’s going to be approximately on the center of the work, look at the end of the
day, it’s not a center lathe, OK. The tool isn’t fixed. You don’t have to get a bang
on the center but you want it close enough; and also make sure that the T rest is actually
as close as possible to the workpiece. As we turn the diameter down you constantly have
to keep moving the T rest forward to ensure that the graver is supported and you won’t
get any chatter or a poor finish on your workpiece. So, this is what we’re going to cut, have
it the wrong way okay. So, this is going to be our half inch or 12.5 millimeter and piece
of brass, um. We’re going to reduce this end to one millimeter. I ran out of room there,
sorry, for a length of three millimeters. So, we’re going to turn a perfectly square
shoulder and really what we’re aiming for is we’re aiming for this to be perfectly squared.
So, what we don’t want, is we don’t want sort of this arrangement where it’s undercut and
we definitely don’t want a radius on our corners. We want a nice square and sharp, And then,
we’re going to turn the work piece over and we’re going to cut a taper so, we’ll mark
this off at two millimeters and then make a taper here sorry before we do that; a material
be like this and we’re going to take a facing cut of the material and, for our next piece. What we’re going to do? Is again, we’re going to take a facing cut
and then we’re going to make this small female center, so when we have a drill, it will be
dead on center and we can draw a nice hole later on. But we’re not going to be doing
today, today we’re just going to be doing the five cups and so let’s just get straight
into it. So, now we’re about to take our first cuts
when turning a square shoulder and scribe the three-millimeter line. So, now we can
see where the length of our three-millimeter 1 diameter pivot will be turn to. So, the
first cuts I’ll be taking are going to be in the diamond down position and later on
I’m going to be turning in diamond up which is in this position. It should be noted that
when turning in diamond up position the T rest should be raised, so then, when the graver
rest against the T rest the top surface is at the center line of the workpiece. Ideally,
brass will be turn it around 1,000 to 1,500 rpm but in the beginning just to
get used to it it’s more than okay to turn the brass at a slower speed and because you’re
turning by hand with the hand graver it’s very touch and feel, you know, when to speed
up or move the graver along faster or slower. So, don’t worry about all the engineering
lathe tables of speeds and feeds because they’re all out the window when turning by hand. If you’re getting a bit of wobble in your,
ah, cutter it’s best to move the T rest a little closer and then test it again. Since
you’re going along you want to ensure that you turn the work, um, parallel and there
is no taper if your T rest is a bit tapered then you might find that as you follow your
graver along you will get a tapered result in your workpiece. So, now I’m going to demonstrate turning in
a diamond up position. The most important thing about turning the
lathe is just getting the lathe out and doing it: experiment with the angle that you hold
the graver, experiment with the height of the tears and then you’ll find something that
works for you. You know, not everyone is going to turn exactly the same and I’ll think you’ll
be hard-pressed if you get ten people in a room all turning by hand that they’ll turn
exactly the same. So, you find the method that works for you and you stick with that
and at the end of the day as long as what you’re turning is to the correct measurements
with as little tolerance as possible and the finish is good it doesn’t matter how you got
there. So, now I’m going to go back to turning down
and down and then you get more comfortable you can take cuts turning in both directions.
If you’re getting big long strokes on your cut, it’s an indication that you’re doing
something right. If you start to feel and hear a little bit of chatter it’s a good sign
that you need to move your T rest a little bit closer to the work. Um, the workpiece is at 1.1 millimeters now
we want to screw up the shoulder and then come back and take a couple final passes. Now we just clean up this corner here. So, now that I’ve cleaned up and squared that
shoulder. I’ve moved the T rest into position to take the final pass and that 0.1mm off the diameter of our pivot. And there we have it really. That’s the, um,
pivot finished. So, now we’re going to remove the workpiece. It’s probably easy to find
a small bit of brass rod and push the material out from behind the collet and we’re going
to insert the other side in. So, we’ll just take a facing cut on here. So, we’re going
to take a quick facing cut here just with the facing it’s probably best to turn a little
slower. Okay. So, now mark off two millimeters and
now we’re going to turn this at 45 degrees. So, we’re going to, we find an angle where
the center point is going to be in a straight line with this scribed line and we’ll start
our finishing cuts once we get closer to that point. Getting very close to the correct angle. So, it’s a pretty sharp point there. If you
want you can experiment with different angles as well you just want to keep practicing all
these different cuts because when you start making tools and parts and things like that
and you want to have these techniques down pat. The fourth technique that I’m going to demonstrate
is called catching the center this technique is used, ah, before you drill any work ensure
that the drill will drill the workpiece straight and won’t wander. Out of the five techniques
that I’m demonstrating this point one is probably the most difficult and it is very easy to
get that male center inside the female center. So, as you can see there is our female center
turned into the end of the workpiece. Okay, so we’re going to start parting off now so
about to start parting off. I’m going to use the 20-degree tool. If you have a parting
tool, by all means, use that. This is really for those who don’t have a dedicated hand
parting tool and, um, just to share the versatility of these gravers but, um, if you’re used to
the 45, I definitely use the twenty to thirty degree because a forty-five degree you’ll
just have to take deeper cuts because we’re going to cut a V groove to part off the work.
Um, also as you’re getting close to the center be very careful not to damage the tip. So,
we’re going to part off the work here and just flip the, just about really flipping
the graver over at the moment I’m just feeding it in straight but soon we’ll have to take
sliding cuts along the V groove. So, this is really good practice in finding the center
of the work. The laser little, try a different, um, grip sources you might find that the two
index fingers are really good for turning but for parting, you might want a bit of a
more steady grip. Now we start cutting along the taper and just be really gentle because
if you, if you make your graver to have a 20-degree tip it’s going to chip very easily.
Look as you’re turning, you’re going to chip your graver tip, there’s no doubt about it.
If you don’t, I don’t think you’re pushing hard enough and you really need to know the
boundaries of your tools. In the beginning you might find yourself just constantly resharpening
your tools and it can be a bit demoralizing and a bit of a demotivator but it’s good practice;
now you practice sharpening, you practice turning, you know, eventually you’ll get it,
as long as you trying different things you’ll get there you know everyone can do it. So, here’s our parted workpiece
and what you do is you reverse it putting a collet face the work off, ah, yes that’s
basically it. I’m going to show you how to take five basic cuts in the watchmaker’s
lathe look if you want to get some great use out of these lathes. I suggest you practice
turning these multiple times out of brass, practice in some steel [Inaudible15:39] rod
or a silver steel. In the next video, I’m going to demonstrate
how to make a countersink tool and I’m going to be demonstrating two new techniques which
is filing in the lathe, hardening and tempering. Stay motivated, keep doing what you’re doing,
you’re going to get there. It’s just all about practice, you know. You can read all the books
in the world about turning or you can, um, watch this video or other videos a million
times but at the end of the day the only way that you’re going to learn is by practicing. Thanks for watching. If you enjoyed this video give it a thumbs
up. If you want to see more videos like this, hit that subscribe button and if you have
any questions or there’s something that you want to say feel free to leave it in the comment
section below.

34 Replies to “Watchmakers lathe – How to turn Basic Cuts”

  1. Thanks Dean, really useful video. I always struggle with the lozenge up cut and tbh can't really see any advantage in it but I'll persevere.

  2. how big can you get the chuck for these? I really want to make my own chess set by hand out of aluminum or brass. would these work for that? thanks.

  3. Nice video. Also I liked how you mixed the sound and the music :). This was kinda more fulfilling to watch.
    This is high quality. I hope you upload more. Looking forward to it.

  4. Dean,
    It looks like diamond down works better than diamond up on your brass part. Is the same true for steel?david

  5. The parting seems very inefficient. Wouldn't it be faster to cut it off with a saw and then turn to final length?

  6. Great video sir! I've watched all your videos so many times and am always eagerly waiting for a new one.
    I wish to make a watch by myself like you. I've read "Beginner's Watchmaking" and currently reading "Daniels' Watchmaking".
    But can you help me regarding Lathe? What type should I buy and which model to satisfy all the future needs. And what other tools will be required to make a simple mechanical watch with a tourbillon?

  7. Dean, I just subcribed to you because I came upon this video and it's so well done. Very watchable (no pun) and informative. I have had my watchmakers lathe for most of my adult life. I have a carbide graver set that has a graver polishing collet that you put diamond powder on. It's so good to see this video that shows you can do productive work on these lathes. Everyone''s buying those Chinese machines today that don't look like they have any accuracy. Mine has cone bearings and has serial number matched, hand scraped, head and tail stock. I've been told it has a concentricity of 50 millionths. Is that even possible? I wish I had the back pulleys for it. I just use a single belt setup.

  8. Great video for me as I'm just starting out. You've shown some great pointers for a "newbie". Thank you so much.

  9. We are happy to see a fellow watchmaker sharing the tools and machines of the trade, we are new to YouTube and we are happy to find you here Dean DK. Thank you.

  10. Incredible how you do this all by hand. I do this on much larger diameter workpieces but with computer aid. When I need to put a spot for a drill in the center of a workpiece I simply touch the side of a part and then measure the diameter, half it, and then imput that in to a computer.

  11. at 10:35 …thereabouts……..your tool rest is not locked down solid……..guess you did not even to bother correcting this shot even after editing !!
    P.S …..its been a year since post and no one noticed this ?? Maybe I got to go back to my training school and learn some more !

  12. Very helpful video! I am just purchasing my first watchmakers lathe to use for goldsmithig purposes, and I was wondering if you could enlighten me on what kind of belt you are using and where I could find one. It comes with an old leather belt that is incredibly loose. Hope to hear from you, and keep making awesome videos!

  13. Need to get the catelogue, specifications and quote details of such a lathe. Can I get a reference for the same?

  14. Is it normal for the rest to be free to move as you work? As a wood turner it is imperative that the tool rest be locked down before turning. I noticed a slight movement in your rest and that is what prompted my question.
    Thanks.

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