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The metal lathe can play a huge role in pipe making. If large enough, it can be used for stummels as well as stems. Many pipe makers have both metal lathes, and wood lathes, others have only one or the other, and still others have multiple metal lathes set up for different procedures. For a complete description of the metal lathe, see the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_lathe (Wikipedia link)].
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The metal lathe can play a huge role in pipe making. If large enough, it can be used for stummels as well as stems. Many pipe makers have both a metal lathe, and a wood lathe. Others have only one or the other, and still others have multiple metal lathes set up for different procedures. For a complete description of the metal lathe and it's various modes of operation, see the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_lathe (Wikipedia link)].
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The main advantage of metal lathes over wood lathes is the tool carriage, which moves the cutting tool precisely at any angle relative to the work. This is nearly essential when cutting stem tenons, for example. Many pipe makers also use this feature to rough in stummel shapes, using it freehand, sort of like the old Etch a Sketch (children's toy). It is also possible to set up a wood lathe type tool rest on a`metal lathe, which allows the use of wood lathe tools.
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The main advantage of metal lathes over wood lathes is how precisely they can be used. This precision is achieved through the tool carriage and cross slide, more rigidity, and closer tolerances when manufactured. The tool carriage and cross slide moves the cutting tools precisely, and can maintain nearly any angle relative to the work being cut. This is a huge advantage when cutting tenons for stems, for example.
    
== Full size metal lathes ==
 
== Full size metal lathes ==
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For the sake of pipe making, I would call any lathe 9"x20" or larger to be full sized. This first number refers to the swing over the bed (or sometimes the tool carriage). This means it is possible for a 9" diameter work piece to swing over the bed, so the actual distance between the chuck center and the bed is actually slightly more than 4.5". The second number is the length of material that will fit between the chuck in the headstock, and the center in the tail stock. Many established pipe makers look for older lathes, such as those made by Atlas, Clausen, some older Sears models (these were all made by Clausen), and South Bend. The UK and the rest of Europe have many fine old lathes kicking around too (a little help here on desirable makes would be appreciated).
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For those not yet fortunate enough to find a quality older lathe, the new Chinese made 9" x 20" lathes are an affordable and workable option for many of us. Almost all the Chinese lathes are made in the same factory, and aside from the nameplate of the importer, the finish and accessories included, perform about the same. Popular brands include Jet, Grizzly, and Harbor Freight. While often functional, they all need to be dis-assembled, cleaned and re-assembled with good lubricants, and sometimes improved hardware and bearings.
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In addition to being excellent for stems, many pipe makers also use metal lathes for stummel work. The tool carriage and cross slike can be used to rough in stummel shapes, while using it freehand, sort of like the technique used for drawing with an "Etch a Sketch" children's toy. It is also possible to set up a wood lathe style tool rest on a`metal lathe, which allows the use of wood lathe tools to slide along the work. Using a Jacobs chuck in the tail stock allows for very accurate boring of the chamber, mortise, and air hole, as well as facing the shank. A good quality, 9x20 or larger metal lathe, properly set up, can give one all the advantages of the metal lathe as well as most of those of a wood lathe.
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The following is a lathe from Harbor Freight that has been disassembled, cleaned, and re-fit with improved hardware, and a home brewed chuck, fashioned from a Grizzly 6" 4-jaw independent chuck, and modified after the J.T. Cooke style chuck that several tool makers are making for stummels (this home brewed version works just as well, but sure is not as pretty!). The locating pins allow for precisely positioning the air hole relative to the tobacco chamber. For bent pipes, to sets of locating holes are used. Drill the mortise on the shank bend axis, reposition the block for the air whole, tobacco chamber axis, drill the air hole, then loosen the block slightly, pivot the block on the pins, and re-tighten it to perfectly align the chamber with the air hole:
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[[Image:9x20.jpg|thumb|450px|left|Harbor Freight 9x20]][[Image:9x20.jpg|thumb|450px|right|Chuck and pipe test stummel]]
    
== Mini metal lathes ==
 
== Mini metal lathes ==
 
=== Chinese made ===
 
=== Chinese made ===
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Like it's larger counter parts, the Chinese made mine-lathes are all made in the same factory. Many are importing them under various names, but aside from length of the bed, color, nameplate, and tooling included, they are all about the same. They work very well once they are carefully cleaned up and re-assembled, sometimes with new hardware. The readily available 7"x12" size seems to be an excellent size for stem work. The 7"x10" can be just a little too short, but it is also possible to get extended beds for many of these lathes. Pictured bellow is the 7"x12" set up for stem work, with a three jaw, self centering chuck that most of them came with, and a Jacobs chuck that comes with some, and is an option with others:
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[[Image:9x20.jpg|thumb|450px|left|Mini Metal Lath]][[Image:minlathe.jpg|thumb|450px|right|7x20 Metal Lathe]]
 
=== The Taig ===
 
=== The Taig ===
 
The basis for the Taig section of this article was written by [[Tyler Lane]] for his [http://www.tylerlanepipes.com/index.php website], and is used by permission.
 
The basis for the Taig section of this article was written by [[Tyler Lane]] for his [http://www.tylerlanepipes.com/index.php website], and is used by permission.

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