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Thread: Maybe a case against Robust tool rests?

  1. #1

    Maybe a case against Robust tool rests?

    While looking for another tool rest in the approx. 8" size I thought about trying out one the Robust rests. All of the ones I have now are made out of softer ductile or cast iron. The advantage of the Robust rests seems to be the hardened top bar that resists dents and scratches. All well and good but what to do if the bar becomes marred. A ductile iron rest can be filed and smoothed down, hard to do with a hardened rest unless ground. Am I missing something in my reasoning? I would like to try a Robust rest but don't quite see the advantage.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I'm certainly not an expert on tool rests, but I do have a robust 8" and 4". The 8" is the one I have used most often for 10+ years. I have never had anything ding or mar the hardened top bar. On the other hand, I have often had to do some finishing of the tool rests that came with the Powermatic.
    Awhile back someone did a post where they epoxied a hardened straight bar on top of their soft ductile tool rest and I think I remember that they reported good results. Just a thot!!!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by mike ash View Post
    I'm certainly not an expert on tool rests, but I do have a robust 8" and 4". The 8" is the one I have used most often for 10+ years. I have never had anything ding or mar the hardened top bar. On the other hand, I have often had to do some finishing of the tool rests that came with the Powermatic.
    Awhile back someone did a post where they epoxied a hardened straight bar on top of their soft ductile tool rest and I think I remember that they reported good results. Just a thot!!!
    Have you ever nicked the tool itself with the hardened top bar?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Mathews View Post
    While looking for another tool rest in the approx. 8" size I thought about trying out one the Robust rests. All of the ones I have now are made out of softer ductile or cast iron. The advantage of the Robust rests seems to be the hardened top bar that resists dents and scratches. All well and good but what to do if the bar becomes marred. A ductile iron rest can be filed and smoothed down, hard to do with a hardened rest unless ground. Am I missing something in my reasoning? I would like to try a Robust rest but don't quite see the advantage.
    Two things:

    - The bar is hardened tool steel and would be very difficult to nick, but you could probably nick it with a grinder or a cutting torch.

    - Brent, the owner of Robust, offers a no-questions-asked replacement on any tool rest, whether it came defective or whether you damaged in some way. Or at least they did in the past. Contact them to make sure this is still the policy. They always answer the phone. Phone: 608-924-1133 info@turnrobust.com

    I have at least 10 of these rests from for two different size lathe, normal rests from 4" to 15" and some curved. I have been using them for years and haven't damaged one yet.

  5. #5
    OK, seems like the Robust rests are worth a try. I just ordered a couple of 9" rests, Comfort and Low Profile Comfort and a 9" J-Rest.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Should you ever get some sort of burr or nick, a diamond honing stone will clean it up nicely.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    Should you ever get some sort of burr or nick, a diamond honing stone will clean it up nicely.

    Yes, didn't think of that. Thanks!

  8. #8
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    Too bad you ordered Robust already, I was going to suggest looking at Advanced Lathe Tools rests instead (advancedlathetools.com). Robust rests are based off Steve Sinners design. The two main differences are Advanced uses a 3/8" hardened rod where Robust uses 1/4". Advanced welds their rods into a channel where Robust welds on top (which do you think is stronger). I don't know if Advanced uses thicker steel or what but they don't have vibration issues that Robust rests can have. A couple of other advantages that I've noticed are when shear scraping with Robust the tool shaft can hit the bottom of the rest when the tool handle is dropped low. With Advanced the support angle is more acute meaning I can drop the handle a lot farther and not hit the rest. And lastly I can position the rest farther into an opening than Robust. On top of all this the Advanced are only about $5 more than Robust.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Scott View Post
    Too bad you ordered Robust already, I was going to suggest looking at Advanced Lathe Tools rests instead (advancedlathetools.com). Robust rests are based off Steve Sinners design. The two main differences are Advanced uses a 3/8" hardened rod where Robust uses 1/4". Advanced welds their rods into a channel where Robust welds on top (which do you think is stronger). I don't know if Advanced uses thicker steel or what but they don't have vibration issues that Robust rests can have. A couple of other advantages that I've noticed are when shear scraping with Robust the tool shaft can hit the bottom of the rest when the tool handle is dropped low. With Advanced the support angle is more acute meaning I can drop the handle a lot farther and not hit the rest. And lastly I can position the rest farther into an opening than Robust. On top of all this the Advanced are only about $5 more than Robust.
    If the Robust stem really does get in your way, you can rotate it 180 degrees and have the offset face the bowl. Then you have all the room you want to drop the handle.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Scott View Post
    Too bad you ordered Robust already, I was going to suggest looking at Advanced Lathe Tools rests instead (advancedlathetools.com). Robust rests are based off Steve Sinners design. The two main differences are Advanced uses a 3/8" hardened rod where Robust uses 1/4". Advanced welds their rods into a channel where Robust welds on top (which do you think is stronger). I don't know if Advanced uses thicker steel or what but they don't have vibration issues that Robust rests can have. A couple of other advantages that I've noticed are when shear scraping with Robust the tool shaft can hit the bottom of the rest when the tool handle is dropped low. With Advanced the support angle is more acute meaning I can drop the handle a lot farther and not hit the rest. And lastly I can position the rest farther into an opening than Robust. On top of all this the Advanced are only about $5 more than Robust.
    The Advanced tool rests look promising but their website doesn't mention the post length. I just sent them an email with that question. I may give one a try if they have the longer posts needed for my Oneway 2436.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Looked at the Advanced tool rests on line. Do they have the nice curvature for the hand to rest in that some of the Robustís do?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Scott View Post
    Too bad you ordered Robust already, I was going to suggest looking at Advanced Lathe Tools rests instead (advancedlathetools.com). Robust rests are based off Steve Sinners design. The two main differences are Advanced uses a 3/8" hardened rod where Robust uses 1/4". Advanced welds their rods into a channel where Robust welds on top (which do you think is stronger). I don't know if Advanced uses thicker steel or what but they don't have vibration issues that Robust rests can have. A couple of other advantages that I've noticed are when shear scraping with Robust the tool shaft can hit the bottom of the rest when the tool handle is dropped low. With Advanced the support angle is more acute meaning I can drop the handle a lot farther and not hit the rest. And lastly I can position the rest farther into an opening than Robust. On top of all this the Advanced are only about $5 more than Robust.
    I'll check those out too and maybe get one to try. I like to know what's available and how it works.
    It is odd how they don't describe the post length or at least the lathe size the 1" posts will fit.
    And when I clicked on the link at the bottom of this page http://advancedlathetools.com/lathe-tool-rests/ to show me the set of small rests it doesn't.

    BTW, I didn't check every price but I don't see the "only about $5 more than Robust". I compared the rest I use the most, the Robust 9", and the Advanced 9" rest is $11 more. My next favorite size, 15", is not on their price list. They do have a 16" rest at $36 more and a 14" at $16 more.

    Regardless of the price, as a lot in woodturning, the usefulness of a specific tool often depends on what one turns, the size of the work, the tools used, the way one works, and the skill level. I like the Low Profile Robust rests which don't have the same geometry and clearance as their Comfort rests. They are perfect for my use and the way I work.

  13. #13
    In testing the rests I make, I used a hack saw and a file on the hardened drill rod. It left scuff marks, but nothing I could feel with my fingers. I don't care for the comfort rests, and would prefer a straight bar tipped to 15 to maybe 25 degrees because the curved arm does interfere if you are dropping the handle for a higher shear/slice angle. As for welding to the top of the bar or welding to a groove/recess for the bar, I don't think that there would be any structural difference. The hardened drill rod doesn't add to the strength of the system. The first ones Brent made were epoxied onto the rest, and if you dropped it, the drill rod would pop off, and was easily epoxied back on. I have used these rests for years, and would never go back to other rests. The box rests from Jimmy Allen of D Way are really nice. He used case hardened stainless steel. Small diameter bar which is fine for boxes.

    robo hippy

  14. #14
    A quick reply from Advanced reveals that they cut their posts for "the correct length of each lathe" therefore no mention is apparently made as to stock lengths. I plan to give one a try.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Scott View Post
    Too bad you ordered Robust already, I was going to suggest looking at Advanced Lathe Tools rests instead (advancedlathetools.com). Robust rests are based off Steve Sinners design. The two main differences are Advanced uses a 3/8" hardened rod where Robust uses 1/4". Advanced welds their rods into a channel where Robust welds on top (which do you think is stronger). I don't know if Advanced uses thicker steel or what but they don't have vibration issues that Robust rests can have. A couple of other advantages that I've noticed are when shear scraping with Robust the tool shaft can hit the bottom of the rest when the tool handle is dropped low. With Advanced the support angle is more acute meaning I can drop the handle a lot farther and not hit the rest. And lastly I can position the rest farther into an opening than Robust. On top of all this the Advanced are only about $5 more than Robust.
    I don't see the "based on Steve Sinner's design" part at all. They look completely different and feel very different in use. Yes, they both have a hardened rod, and I think Advanced was actually first in the market, but individuals have been putting hardened rods on top of toolrests for years. I think if you ask Steve, he'll even tell you who he got the idea from. Personally, I like how my hand fits into the Robust rests and help guide the cut, but to each their own. I think they are both quality tools.
    "Only a rich man can afford cheap tools, as he needs to buy them again and again"

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