Toolrests for Parting Tools
Years ago, I made a stubby-post toolrest out of a bit of 1" (25 mm) wide rectangular-stock steel. This small-diameter toolrest was useful for supporting a parting tool right next to the faceplate. Unlike standard-size toolrests, this post can be positioned to allow tool support at 90° to the cut.
I have since replaced the rectangular tool post with a 1½" (38 mm) diameter, round rod. I use this tool post on my primary lathe, and have ground the back half of the top back at 45°. I use this toolrest frequently.
The small toolrest is also invaluable for close support of a small gouge when undercutting the bottom of a bowl. The gouge can be moved up and over to achieve a high shearing cut for blending the bottom diameter of the bowl into its side curve.
I have made the same tool post out of 1"(25 mm) rod for my Powermatic lathe. Cut a length of 1" (25 mm) cold-rolled steel stock at 45°, about 8" (20 cm) from one end to create two posts. Make a second cut square across halfway up that 45° slope. Round all edges and smooth with a sander.
If you have a welder you can cut a 1½" to 2" (38 mm to 51 mm) section of 5⁄8" to 1" (16 mm to 25 mm) diameter rod and weld it to the top of a 1" (25 mm) shaft to give a bit more support for the gouge. Any wider would defeat the purpose of the narrow toolrest. Sufficiently round all the top edges of the metal to allow the post to slip in close to a bowl without the danger of marring the wood.
If you give this simple toolrest a try, I think you will find yourself reaching for it regularly.
~ Fred Williamson, Crozet, VA