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Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Can you use Slick 50 as Cutting and Tapping Oil ?
From: Robert Bastow <>
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 06:45:09 GMT

Martin H. Eastburn wrote:

> I read in this group about Crisco.  I tried it on steel.
> Now I  have an old Peanut Butter Jar (sans peanut... and label)
> in the shop with a serving spoon size lump in it.  I press the tap
> into the lump and tap away.  Works nice on 6061 Al as well.
> Cheap as well.
> Martin

When "I were a lad", serving my six year aprenticeship we didn't have all
the (excellent) modern cutting and tapping lubricants that are available
now. we used "suds" ( emulsion of lard oil in water) for machining.
straight lard oil for tougher jobs and sulphurised EP oil for real
arduous machining
like hobbing gears for warships and gundrilling or trepanning deep holes
in naval gun barrels.

The favorite for tapping on all materials, including all grades of
steel, Stainless steel, phosphor bronze,
admiralty and aluminum bronzes, alluminum alloys and brasses, Monel
Metal, titanium  and a host of others, was home made.
We would heat up a small can of  tallow or suet, even lard in a pinch,
and stir in as much powdered graphite as it would hold.  the resultant
mix, when it cooled was about the consistancy of boot polish.  to use,
you poked your hand tap in it and tapped away.

Hint, when hand tapping..ignore the text books...they repeat the
mistakes of people a century ago.  Modern taps are designed to cut, not
tear the material..and to BREAK the CHIPS.  Do NOT except under extreme
circumstances repeatedly back off the tap to "break the chips" chances
are you will break the tap.  The modern, HSS ground thread tap, properly
sharpened and with the appropriate lubrication will tap a hole "straight
through" without reversals at every turn.  Don't believe me?  Visit a
jobbing machine shop and watch them tapping holes all day long on a
drill, mill or lathe, and using HAND taps...often without benefit of a
tapping head.

The reason taps  "bind" are:   a.  the tap is blunt. b. set out of
square or torqued unevenly.  c. galling...choose a tap with a suitable
finish..of which there are many.  d. frequent reversals.......leading to
chipped teeth...leading to a. above

Coincidentally, I would like to make up some of this black "Goop" for my
own use, now my new shop is getting to the point of actually "making
stuff"   Can anyone tell me where I might find some powdered graphite?


Robert Bastow

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Can you use Slick 50 as Cutting and Tapping Oil ?
From: Robert Bastow <>
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 21:47:09 GMT

James Wilkins wrote:

> Robert Bastow wrote:
> ...Don't believe me?  Visit a
> > jobbing machine shop and watch them tapping holes all day long on a
> > drill, mill or lathe, and using HAND taps...often without benefit of a
> > tapping head.
> I've tapped many electronics rack rails #10-32 with a hand-held VSR
> drill, changing the tap every thousand or so holes in case it was
> getting dull.

I use my VSR  to free hand tap up to 3/8" in steel and 1/2" in CI  and ally.

through or blind.  No secret except a sharp tap (as James confirms).. the
right lube, the courage of your convictions, and a good eye for square.

> > ...Can anyone tell me where I might find some powdered graphite?
> > Robert Bastow
> Lock oil.
> jw

Ta s'much>
Robert Bastow

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Can you use Slick 50 as Cutting and Tapping Oil ?
From: Robert Bastow <>
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 01:54:07 GMT

Michael P. Henry wrote:

> What brands of taps and dies do you recommend?


Cleveland is my first choice  for "staples" but I have been very satisfied
with "Generic" US made taps, when I need an expensive ,large nonstandard  tap
for a "One -off"
I get most of my stuff from MSC..never had a complaint about quality or

I bought a couple of tandem ACME taps on sale for $40.25 each. A left and a
right hand  1/2"  10tpi, for a special project.  Tested this weekend on
Aluminum-Bronze and Con-Cast Iron, they worked like a treat.  These, from MSC
were "generic" USA manufacture.  Truth be known these generics are probably
made by the major "names" just as "Own Brand" products at the grocery store
are made by Kelloggs etc.

Robert Bastow

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re:Slick 50...LOOONG!
From: Robert Bastow <>
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 03:00:22 GMT

Todd Rogers wrote:

> Exactly.  For tapping all you really need is something to lubricate
> (lower friction and remove chips) and act as a coolant.  For hand
> tapping, almost anything would work (you could probably even get away
> with water, though your tools might not last as long that way).

Sorry Todd, with all due respect I gotta tell you it ain't so simple.

Hand tapping is one of the most arduous machining operations,both for the
tap, the resulting thread and for the operator,especially if he doesn't
do it every day, and he is tapping 6-32, with a relic tap, in a component
that has taken him a year of precious part time to make, and it is made
of some tough, stringy "stuff" of indeterminate parentage!!!

(Pause for deep breath!)

It doesn't pay to be cavalier and slosh on any liquid that comes to hand.
Sorry, but water, beer, moonshine,baby oil,or slick 50, won't hack it!
(I almost said ..won't cut it! But you'd think I was trying to be "punny")

Bear in mind that a tap, especially a hand tap is stressed to it's limit
under the best of conditions.  Of necessity, the core (the bit down the
middle of the tap!!!) is way undersized on a small tap, it is purposely
weakened by a host of "stress risers" (32 per inch in this case) it is
taking a cut that would stall a small lathe, and on a larger one, single
pointing a thread with this depth of cut would result in a badly torn
thread.  Chuck in a surface speed, ** a tenth of the recommended one and
you have a serious problem, just looking for a place to happen.

**The reason you get better cutting action close to the maximum speed the
tool and the material can stand is that cutting metal is NOT like cutting

A sharp paring chisel or a well set plane actually SHEAR the fibers of
wood.  Finish is not a function of speed, so much as a function of
sharpness.  "Cutting" metal is almost the exact is a process
of PLASTIC DEFORMATION. That is to say, a metal cutting tool does not
slice and wedge itself under the surface like a wood chisel..rather it
applies EXTREME PRESSURE to the work piece that, coupled with the forward
SPEED, creates a zone of extreme HEAT that PLASTICISES the metal and
eventually, (rather quickly in practice) it decides to find a friendlier
environment, SLIDES over the tool and escapes, taking most of the heat
with it!  You have probably been made aware of this common phenomenon, by
the occasional hot chip down your shirt neck!!  (Don't you just HATE
that?...Now at least you know WHY!  It will also help to explain why,
switching from a positive to a negative rake insert, will remove more
metal faster, using LESS HP, leave a better finish and a cooler work

(Please forgive all my caps..I'm not shouting.....just trying to
emphasise the important bits.)

The reason a tool wears has not so much to do with abrasion (Which is what
blunts a wood chisel) but more to do with the hot metal, welding to the tool
surface and physically tearing tiny lumps out of it on its way to your shirt

If you doubt my veracity, do a simple test:  Take a piece of wood, six
inches long, And with a sharp plane take a continuous shaving end to end.
Next, take a piece of mild steel the same length, set it up in a shaper
and take a good cut end to end.  Use a catchers mitt to save your
specimen...And your tender neck!!

Now, measure the length, width and thickness of the two shavings and
compare with the original length,dept and width of your cuts. ( this is
an example assignment I used to set to first year engineering
student/apprentices at the local Technical College

Ok...Back to our original hand tapping problem. Understanding better, the
arduous conditions the poor little blighter is expected to put up with,
and expecting a pristine thread and an intact heirloom at the end, it
behooves us to be sympathetic and to offer the best assistance we can!
Consider that, at the speed of a hand tap, very little heat is generated,
thus little plastic deformation takes place, thus extreme pressures of
the chip on the tooth are created....Add to that, the fact that a tap has
no radial relief means that it is also doing a certain amount of cold
forming and burnishing!

Busy little bugger isn't he?...and you thought YOU were doing all the
hard work!!!  So what does he need?...Certainly not cooling, which IS a
concern in high speed tapping.

What he needs is LUBRICATION and lubrication of a HIGH PRESSURE type
NOT Slick 50 ferchrissake!...REAL HP additives...the best that money can buy!!

Go to a jobbing machine shop...just like we HSM's, these guys have to
watch every penny, indeed it comes down to tenths of a penny..just to
stay in business!  Observe what they use for (the occasional, hopefully)
hand tapping job. Fer sure it ain't water!  Nor is it machine oil,
spindle oil, baby oil, way oil, Slick 50, or any other oily, or greasy
fluid that happens to fall to hand or is the "Deal of the Week" at the
local Wallymart!

What he uses is the best that money can his taps!  He uses a
custom formulated, well researched and developed, trusted brand name,
dedicated hand tapping fluid that, chintzy as he has to be, he springs
all of SIX BUCKS for a can that will last him quite a while, used on a
twenty-four/seven basis.

I wonder why?

Sorry for rambling on Guys but I find........

It helps to figure out HOW ?
If you better understand the WHY!

Thanks for bearing with me.

Robert Bastow

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Slick 50...LOOONG!
From: Robert Bastow <>
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 01:05:53 GMT

Tom Holt wrote:

> [excellent post snipped]
> Thanks; now tell us what we *really* need to know - how to get the
> bits of broken tap out of the hole after you've snapped the ruddy
> thing off flush...

I dunno..never happened to ME!!  ;^)

I have never had much succes with tap extractors.

Sometimes, but not often, you can gently tap the gruesome remains
out in reverse with a small ,flat pointed punch and a SMALL hammer

If the component is "not for pretty" I take a stout flat nose punch and a BIG
hammer and just belt the sucker right on through!! Itworks better than you might
imagine, as the tap threads/flutes being more brittle than the tappee, shear
right off and the threads, usually are not much damaged.

Best way is to find a local company that will EDM it out.

There was thread, recently about, this that came up with dome chemical solutions
that I have no experience of.

Robert Bastow

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: holding a tap in a drill chuck - why not?
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 13:59:05 GMT

In article <r4fF3.371$>, wrote:
> On Sun, 19 Sep 1999 22:27:04 GMT, wrote:
> >For tapping thin stuff like sheet metal, I do this all the
> >time.  Caveats:  be sure this is a reversing drill, and that
> >you can switch over to reverse while the chuck is spinning.
> >Use 2-flute gun taps which drive the chip forward, no need to
> >stop every turn and back up.  And the stock cannot be much
> >thicker than one diameter at most.  If you goof, you'll have
> >a snapped off tap left in the job.
>   I just don't tighten the chuck very much.  If I hit a bad spot the
> tap spins rather than snapping.  Lowest speed only, on a regular drill
> press, of course.

Err, no - I was actually talking about using a hand-held
drill motor.  Milwaukee reversible - seems to work pretty
well.  I have occasion to tap a fair number of holes in pretty
thin stuff.  That combination (milwaukee hand drill and a 2-flute
gun tap) will tap 10-32 holes in 1/4 thick aluminum all day
long.  I put a drop or two of lard oil on the tap every few


Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: The ole' sliver trick.
From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 03:12:04 GMT

Mike,  You win this months "teenut Award for Innovation in Bodgery"



Mike Graham wrote:

>   Today I had to deal with an odd threaded hole.  It's threaded 1/2-16.
> Really.  Half inch, *sixteen* threads per inch.  Needed to be cleaned up.  I
> didn't have a 1/2-16 tap.
>   Now, we've all heard that you can stuff a sliver of hardwood in one flute
> of a tap and get it to cut slightly oversize.  Well, I'm here to tell you
> that it takes a helluvabig splinter to get a 3/8-16 tap to cut 1/2-16, but
> it worked.
> --
> -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
> Mike Graham                 | Metalworker by trade
> mikegraham at sprint dot ca | Weld to live, like to weld.
> Caledon, Ontario, Canada    | Weird by nature
>            <>
>            remove reversed 'nospam' to reply
> -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
>          "By Fire and Iron doth he make Bread."

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: The ole' sliver trick.
From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 03:41:43 GMT

It WAS meant as a compliment..Well deserved!



Mike Graham wrote:

> On Sun, 27 Feb 2000 03:12:04 GMT, Robert Bastow wrote:
> >Mike,  You win this months "teenut Award for Innovation in Bodgery"
>   8-)  I'm flattered, really.

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: cutting tapered threads without a taper attachment
From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2000 01:48:58 GMT

Fear not!

A tapered pipe tap is a chunky thing. I have NEVER seen one break in a hole. 
Indeed, I have seen them screwed completely through the solid 4130X, heat
treated neck of an new, emergant, gas be lost inside it!  This when
the automatic transfer line, machining and tapping new cylinder necks, got out
of whack!


Jack Erbes wrote:
> Jens wrote:
> <snip>
> > A related question - just how do you know to back off from threading a
> > pipe (NPT - die or tap). It seems that I run into very strong cutting
> > resistance fairly soon (like after a few turns) and don't particularly
> > want to break off an expensive tap so  most of my stuff isn't fully
> > threaded. There is now way that I will take a 3 ft long cheater bar
> > and hang it on the end of my little tap or die (this procedure seems
> > standard whenever I have seen a commercial guy use threading gear).
> That is a result of the steadily increasing load as the cutting teeth
> cut farther outward from the drilled hole.  Particularly if the hole has
> not been reamed to a matching taper before tapping.
> But I also always get nervous, use plenty of sulphurized threading oil,
> and back off to cut the chips much more frequently as the thread
> deepens.
> Prepping the hole with a tapered reamer after drilling and before
> tapping makes a big difference.
> --
> Jack in Sonoma, CA, USA (

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: 0- 80 tapping in .090" thick aluminum plate
From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 15:13:56 GMT

Use a "Forming tap" rather than a cutting tap..find them in MSC catalogue. 
Follow the recomendations on hole will be larger.  Use Tapmagic for
aluminum or similar.  Set up in drill press if you have one.  Ideally...get a
tapping head...(cheap enough on Ebay)

You will be able to tap your holes as fast as you can pull the handle, at a
speed of 1800 rev/min upwards.  Perfect thread!  you will have to hit the tap
with a hammer to break it, and one tap will last for thousands on holes in


BillDarby wrote:

>         I just started the first of a hundred or so holes to be tapped
> 0-80 and wondered if the taps I have are up to the task.
>         I ordered and received two spiffy made in india tapping guides:
>         One that you place on the work that holds the tap wrench
> perpendicular  and free to rotate in a sleeve.  The idea is good, but
> the tap jaws did not hold the tap properly (the tip wandered around a
> hundred thou circle) It's on it's way back.
>         The second guide was a tap wrench which was meant to be fitted
> into a drill press (just to hold it ,,,, not ever operating the drill
> press)  It had a telescoping shaft that was clamped into the chuck and
> the body of the wrench was then free to be rotated by hand, on the
> shaft, down into the work.  It did not hold the tap properly either and
> the fit of the wrench on the pin was awful.
>         I packed both wrenches up and they are going back.   I doug
> around in my mountain of seemingly useless stuff and found a little
> "old" craftsman chuck, on a 7/16 ths arbor, a sleeve that was a perfect
> fit on the arbor and a short length of 7/16 rod that I could use as a
> guide pin in the chuck of my drill press.     I shortened the arbor on
> the craftsman chuck as much as possible and drilled and pinned it into
> the sleeve.    The 0-80 tap now rides perfectly true, in the craftsman
> chuck.
>         So!!! I drilled about six .0469" test holes in a test plate and
> tried out the rig.  The tap was held nice and true and with a little
> tapping fluid I got down through three of the holes (rotating the sleeve
> like a man trying to start a fire with a "stick")  It's not pretty but
> it works however I am feeling a fair amount of resistance on the tap and
> I don't think it will stand up long.
>         I did not use a lot of tapping fluid and I did not clean the tap
> between holes and!!! I did not buy the most expensive taps.  (five of
> them at about $5 each)
>        Is there anything more that you think  I should, or might do to
> make this task go better??
> Thanks .... Bill Darby

From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Hand Tapper
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 16:11:56 GMT

Sfc149 wrote:

> 2nd request
> How does one secure work to be tapped to the base of a hand tapper, such
> as the E-Z?  What's the purpose of the pin that can be set in the holes
> behind the larger hole under the spindle?

This is an interesting which I have never yet been able to come up
with an answer to..and which has prevented me from ever buying or making a Hand

Every solution I have ever been able to dream up or see in action has been
either less accurate, less "secure" or slower than other alternatives...such as
the drill press or mill.

I have, in the back of my mind, a rather different design that "ONE DAY when the
ROUND TUITS" are delivered, I may try out..

This is a heavy base with a fixed and accurate machine type vice.  The vertical
column carries a radial arm drill type of arrangement..maybe even a rigid a large drafting machine arm..which will allow the tapping
spindle to be aligned over the hole (always remaining truly vertical of course)
and then rigidly clamped while tapping takes place.

In my case..for MY purposes..this may well take the form of an attachment for
the bench vise..which I make and maintain as accurate as any of my machine

I would be more than interested in what solutions other people HAVE come up


From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Hand Tapper
Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 03:03:49 GMT

Yeh!  Those I am familiar with and have bought and installed on semi-automated
assembly machines together with auto screw feeders I used to build. In Canada!!
Once...a long time ago..before Canada decided to return to an Agriculturally
based economy.  ;^)

The design is simple and should be buildable by a competent machinist..the only
real requirement being..bearings with no slop and arms that are REALLY the same

Mounted on a vertical column, at the back of the bench, adjustable to true
vertical, with respect to either the bench vise or a separate machine vice.
Pantograph mounted on a collar, adjustable for height, over a fairly wide
range..there is no need to clamp any of the three axes for tapping.

Use a hand tapping spindle..but provision to drive this with (say) an electric,
reversable screwdriver, will be much quicker and far less likely to break taps.

(I swear, more taps are broken by the sudden, involuntary, twitches of "over
care" than any other means!!)

I would build one..but I don't ever envisage tapping that many holes by hand in
the rest of my life!!


Brian Lawson wrote:

> Too late Robert!  Already being produced.  $3,000 Canadian with a
> DeSouter air powered tapping head. Vertical column fastens to table
> you provide.  Works on a stretch arm like a "Luxo" lamp arm type
> thingy, which is probably the pantograph you like.  Keeps the working
> end vertical.  Very sensitive feel.  Good for #2 to 3/8" machine
> screws in the version here.  If you care, I'll get the makers name.
> About 3 weeks ago, there was a similar 'Boeing Surplus' gadget on
> Ebay, only it had 3 different tapping arms and heads on one vertical
> column, each of different capacity if I recall.  Personally, I can't
> see why you couldn't drill and tap both with them, but I haven't tried
> it.

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