The general idea of a tool room lathe refers to any machine shop. In general, a tool room lathe consists of a large engine lathe, usually powered by a steam-powered engine, that is set up for higher precision work. A drill press may also be found in some tool rooms. All of these tools are necessary to do proper metal cutting work.
In an expert’s opinion, a tool room lathe should be as precise as possible. However, this is not always possible. Metal cutting work is often done at very low speeds. To achieve high-speed results it is necessary to use first-rate machines. Generally, a used tool room lathe would be much more accurate than a new one. The accuracy would still be the same though.
There are four major types of tools used in any woodworking shop. A lathe has a large base that has a number of spindles or cones on top of it. These spindles or cones, when assembled form a cone or group of cones that actually make the first cut. The job of the first lathe was to cut out materials and then push the material into the second lathe.
The new method of cutting is an improvement in the process. First, the materials are placed into the second lathe and a tool that has a tapered surface (usually made of steel) is slid down into the center of the first lathe. This tool also has a tapered surface that is cut into first a blank and then the veneer is placed over the blank and pushed into place. Modern toolroom lathes can accommodate a variety of materials, but there is a limit to what materials you can work with these days. Because of this, there are now several different types of tools: those that require cutting materials from a flat surface, those that require the use of a cutting surface, those that only require the use of a cutting tool, and those that require a spindle with a flat surface.
The old method still has its place, as it does have the advantage of providing a solid work surface for working on. But modern tool room lathes use their surfaces to catch the materials as they are being cut and this method eliminates the need for a large veneer. Instead, the material is placed directly onto the cutting tool and pressed into place.
The modern flat bottomed toolroom against the old lathe has eliminated the need for large machines altogether and as mentioned earlier, the material is placed directly onto the tool and pressed into place. Some tools no longer use this method and instead have a spindle with a flat surface that locks in the material, but these tools are much more limited in what materials they can handle. These are the two major differences between the two styles of toolroom lathes.