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An Alternative Tailstock Offset Method

by Mike Solomon

Here is a simple solution for a problem I have run into a few times. It works well for me…

When cutting long tapers on the lathe, a common method is to offset the tailstock and turn between centers. This works well, but there can be times when it is troublesome. Sometimes, the offset required exceeds the amount available in the tailstock. Other times, it can just be a bother having to zero the tailstock after every offset.

One way around these problems is to clamp a center in a four-jaw chuck mounted in the tailstock. Unfortunately, I don’t have a four-jaw small enough. What to do?

I decided to use my boring head attachment, which just sat around most of the time anyway. I mounted the head in the tailstock, with the adjustment aligned to the horizontal plane. I added a center to it and was back in business! It’s great having the fine adjustment and when I have the correct setting, the gib screws lock it securely in place.

My boring head had an MT2 shank on it. If yours is a straight shank, simply chuck it up in a suitable drill chuck. This suggestion has worked great for me, I hope you can get some use out of it!


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