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The Amateur's Lathe [Paperback]

Lawrence H. Sparey
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 1999 0852422881 978-0852422885 9
The definitive work on the use of the small (three and a half inch) lathe which has been the primer for every amateur, student and apprentice engineer, modelmaking hobbyist, small garage proprietor and light engineering operator since its original publication in 1948. The author has succeeded in giving a complete course of instruction, embracing almost every process that can be accomplished own the small lathe including information on tools, accessories and costs. The amateur's problems are tackled in a refreshingly practical manner, showing how the model engineer or small industrial user can perform a variety of operations normally requiring a whole workshop full of machinery. Photographs and drawings provide step-by-step instructions on a wide range of topics which will interest all engineers - from apprentices to retired hobbyists.

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About the Author

Lawrence Sparey was that somewhat rare combination - a professional engineer with what he himself called 'an amateur's outlook' which allowed him to maintain his appreciation of the difficulties of the average workshop owner with his small lathe. He was also a pioneer of model aeroplane internal combustion engines for home construction in Britain of the 1940s. This book represents the accumulated engineering wisdom of a previous generation.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed May 8 2004
By A Customer
I have quite a few books on machining and this book is very disappointing. The pages are very glossy but the text is very brief and the B/W fotos are unclear and blurred. The book only gets down to the business of turning in chapter 10 and just skims through the subject. This book is suitable for an absolute beginner who does not need too much information on the subject. If you are seriously interested in turning on a lathe I would recommend MACHINE SHOP PRACTICE, VOL.1 by Karl H Moltrecht.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amateur's Lathe (book) Dec 30 2011
excellent quality (essentially a brand-new book), very nice contact and fast delivery! Certainly a seller I will keep in my mind for future purchases
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book April 25 2007
By Philip C. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
I think some of the other reviewers read a different book than the one I read. The person who preferred Moltrecht's book to Sparey's as a source of information about turning obviously got the two mixed up. I too have the Moltrecht texts---they are great as an introductory survey of a huge variety of (mostly outdated) industrial machines and manchinery practices. Sparey's book DOES suffer from poor photography---that seems to be the case with a lot of these English books.

But, Sparey really does give a lot of great information. His duscussion, for example, of parting off and how to correctly grind a parting off tool is unsurpassed by any other source of information I have read. Moltrecht's book is better at giving formulaes for calculating cutting speeds, etc. But this is pretty trivial to derive for yourself given a knowledge of basic geometry. Additionally, some of the recommended speeds/feeds are directed towards maximum efficiency in an industrial environment with high-HP machinery--trying some of the cuts on smaller equipment with lower HP (< 5 HP, say) typically found in a home workshop is probably not a good idea. I think Sparey's book does a much better job of presenting information useful for the home workshop.

Sparey's quirky British humor is just terrific. His comment, for example, that "The acquisition and installation of the lathe is one of the highlights of life." is absolutely priceless. I've got quite a library of books on lathes by now, and I think this is probably the best of them all.

Still, I do wish the photographs were better.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have Book! Feb. 4 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
If your are starting out as a model, steam engine,gasolineengine builder or maybe just want to learn how to use a metal lathe,this is THE book. Although focused on English equipment, it's all good stuff. Many ideas, lots of pictures and helpful tips.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed May 8 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I have quite a few books on machining and this book is very disappointing. The pages are very glossy but the text is very brief and the B/W fotos are unclear and blurred. The book only gets down to the business of turning in chapter 10 and just skims through the subject. This book is suitable for an absolute beginner who does not need too much information on the subject. If you are seriously interested in turning on a lathe I would recommend MACHINE SHOP PRACTICE, VOL.1 by Karl H Moltrecht.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed amateur Feb. 2 2007
By L. Brennan - Published on Amazon.com
This book does not live up to the hype.

It's got poor black and white photographs that I don't understand and are often not adequately explained.

On numerous occasions he jumps past things that are NOT obvious to a beginner. His descriptions of the various items range from excellent to terrible.

I've seen this advertised as 'The essential lathe book with a complete description of parts and functions.' THAT IS NOT TRUE.

I am an amateur. It doesn't meet my needs. Consign it to the dustbin of history and pray someone writes a better book than this.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Certainly an old book. Feb. 26 2011
By JerryCPP - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This book has lots of old, and I mean really old, information. Most of the lathe photos shown are of machinery not produced of over 50 years. It does have some good information, but I"m not sure it's worth the price.
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