Special order taps and dies are quite
expensive... for the first one. I once had to order a 1/4"x 24 tpi tap from Morse and was quoted 54- for the first one and about
2.50 ea. for the next five! I guess the set up fee is the key but , for the WW tap from
Levin etc., it would seem usurious to
charge the special order price each and every time. I noticed Frei/Borel asks
59- for a Rolex case tube tap. I suspect
a person could order a pile of these from
Morse for a hundred bucks and make
a killing selling them for,say 20- apiece.
My bigger lathe, yet to be set up, had a
problem that relates to this topic. It is a 9"
lathe(as in 4 1/2' to center) made by
Hjorth who were based in Woburn, Mass.
Ca. 1885-1925?. I bought it for what was a lot of money about 15 years ago. It looks much like a watch lathe but...large.
It came with great attachments , an original manual etc. but it had one big
lacking, the collets. The drawbar is 1"
in diameter and there was ONE. Marked
4NS which I have been told means NOT
Standard. Perhaps a wartime precaution
but even my trusty machine supply place
was amazed there was nothing available.
The former owner of the lathe had given up and made collets to fit.
The happy ending. After moving to Mass., I went to a huge auction of watch junk which even included ex-Waltham
equipment. My purchase was another,
identicle Hjorth. It ran me 150- and included 70 collets and a variety of tooling
that beautifully complimented my first
lathe. I had the cross slide and milling
attachments and this one had the gear
My basement floor has a new cement
floor and when I get crap cleared the lathe will finally go up. It has been a tough project so when I get it running I will proudly post the pics(somehow).
Chasing tooling can be quite an odyssey