what do you call the old style tool post holder which had a single bolt
at the top and the lathe tool sat in a slot on top of a big curved thing
like a large woodruff key in a curved base which allowed vertical
adjustment of the tool tip? and can you still get such a thing.
Back when I was playing with lathes many years ago lots of lathes had
them and now I can find no reference on the net
"Lantern" or "American", though they have been obsolete here since forged
carbon steel bits went out of favor around 1900. They are a good match to
"Armstrong" type tool bit holders which are rather tall for other types of
On long repetitive jobs the combination allows the bit to be sharpened and
replaced with little or no readjustment by sliding it up against the
workpiece, but they are a nuisance for hobby work until you learn to
estimate center height.
A lantern holder can be made easily from a bolt with only a minimally
equipped lathe and a drill press, and sometimes they fit into difficult
places when a modern tool post won't, such as very short work between
centers where the tailstock base restricts carriage movement.
I bought a spherical washer pair to get the concave ring and fitted the
curved rocker that supports the bit by hand, by smoking and filing to full
contact. Use a hardened bolt in the top or else it will mushroom and be
difficult to remove, as you have to chisel the expanded end off.
Thanks for a bit more of the background on them. I used the lantern
toolpost with the Armstrong bit holders on almost all the lathes I used
when in the US educational system, junior and senior high, in the late
1970s and early 1980s. The votech school in Wichita used them also, I
did that while in high school around 1980-1 as an evening class. The
basic votech class required that you learn to grind a 3/8" HSS tool bit
before starting on a machine so you then used that bit in the Armstrong
holder so it made sense, once you passed the basic class you got allowed
into the good workshop and onto the decent machines and I can't recall
them using lantern tool posts after that. I do recall the entry machine
shop had lots of Rockwell lathes of around 12" swing and the guys
running the class, both time served machinists I understand, didn't have
anything good to say about them.
I can see where they may have a use but so far I haven't had to do
anything on my Harrison M300 that couldn't be done with the Dickson
toolpost and holders.
The Swiss Multifix or clones are really sweet, though IMHO not nearly worth
the cost new:
I found a damaged partial set cheap and completed it with Chinese tool
holders which fit perfectly.
Yes they are nice. I've only used them on one machine which was down the
local technical college and it seemed to work really well. The lathe in
question was a Hardinge HLV so I guess the question of price of the tool
post wasn't much of an issue.
I have a couple of genuine Dickson tool posts and a Bison copy and the
tool holders seem to interchange without problems, I haven't tried any
of the cheaper copies yet.
On Wed, 11 Jan 2012 19:32:51 +0000, David Billington
They are very useful and sturdy on the shaper. Although for that use, you
neither want or need the concave/convex boat type setup.
Having said that. Most, now, would admit that shapers went out of date at
about the same time that lantern toolposts did!
Good point about the shaper as I did use them occasionally down the
local tech college for doing cylinder heads and similar things but the
lantern tool post on them never annoyed the way a lantern tool post did
on a lathe, maybe due to the dished wedge not being present.
Maybe an anachronism isn't such on a machine which itself is in many
ways an anachronism, not that I would pass up a good shaper if was
offered one. I almost bought a nice one years ago but got beaten to it.
I have a job I have been asked to do occasionally where a small shaper
would be great but it gets done on the BP when asked at the moment.
Just been given an Alba 18" stroke shaper , I'm in the process of
rebuilding it now , I'm also on the hunt for any Armstrong /Williams
tool holders with a 5/8' thick shank preferably the T series which does
not have the back rake built in .
"I'm not young enough to know everything."
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