Knurling on a small lathe

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Nick Hacking

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Jan 22, 2017
Dear All,

I have decided to give knurling a try and I bought a six wheel knurling tool on eBay.

Now that it has arrived, I see that it is designed for a Myford (small hobby lathes, very popular in the UK) and the shank of the tool is nearly 9/10". Now, the standard tool holder on a Myford is no more than 1/2" so, am I correct in assuming that it is designed to go in the rear tool holder?

I don't have a rear tool holder, but I can make one. However, is it worth the effort? Is a rear tool holder more rigid? If it doesn't matter, should I simply try to mill the shank down to fit my front tool holder? (I have some carbide end mills and cutters which should do the job, if I go slowly).

My gut feeling is that it would be more fun and less destructive to make a rear tool holder, which I could also use for parting off. But, it would still mount on the cross-slide, so would it be any better than using the existing front tool post?

Or should I try to make a really rigid tool holder which would mount directly on the ways?

All advice and experience gratefully received.

Kind wishes,



Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Jun 17, 2011
Nick, the biggest factor when knurling on a small lathe is the side pressure on the spindle. A clamp knurler will remove that stress from any lathe. I see you've been doing your research on the subject. They aren't very hard to make and can use the rollers from the 6-wheel that you have.

Mounting the knurler on a rear toolholder won't get rid of the side pressure - just move it to the opposite side.


Aug 7, 2018
Hello Nick,

Bump knurling is a bad idea, particularly on a small lathe. A rear toolpost will not make any difference to the side load that will be applied to the lathe spindle.

This is the sort of tool that you need. I simply swapped the knurls from a bump Knurler to mine.
The brass knob was knurled with this knurling tool. All I did was swap a nut for the knob.
I used locktite to stop it coming off.

Edit: Swap "nut & knob" :)
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