Robert Sorby Modular tool rests?

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Andy's Shed

Established Member
13 Aug 2022
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I have a 12" tool rest that was supplied with my lathe, but I think I'd benefit from a shorter tool rest too.

Is it worth going for modular tool rest system such as the Sorby system, or perhaps the Simon Hope version?

Any info appreciated.
Thanks Phil, I've been looking and nothing just yet. I'll have another look this evening.
Personally, I can't see the point of modular toolrests, other than that they are usually made of a harder steel than traditional cast iron toolrests.
You either have to buy a stem and a cross bar for every size of toolrest or keep swapping the stem between the crossbars.
The first option costs about the same as buying an ordinary toolrest from e.g. Record Power, and the second option is a faff and a waste of time .
If you particularly like the round bar profile, find someone local to weld two pieces of round bar together in a T-piece or buy the sensibly priced modular system from
Of course, if you particularly want hard steel individual toolrests, you can always buy ridiculously expensive Robusts from Axmister!
Thanks Duncan. In fairness I was leaning towards a modular tool rest, I just had a nagging doubt that I'd get irritated with needing to unscrew the rests to swap for a different sized one.

I think I'll just get a standard 6" rest for now and keep my eyes open for a reasonable solid curved tool rest, I'm not sure why but I don't fancy a tubular rest (more vibration maybe?).
I've got the rober sorby system, been a boon, especially having two lathes with different post sizes.
If you want to add an extra stem or tool rest the matching thread size is M12 x 1.25.
Yes, I bought a tap and die set just to make tool rests for my specific needs.
A spare length of steel round bar an a bit a thick flat bar kept in the shop, and you can be rustle a tool rest to suit, ie sometimes the 6" tool rest is a tad short but the 9" just to big to get in close, so knock up a 7 3/4" rest that gets close in and allows a single pass of the tool, instead of continually moving the 6" one or risking a catch being too far from work piece with the 9" one!

Granted, trying to curved round bar rests is neigh on impossible with diy home kit, but a bit of ground flat stock great for doing consistent curves inside a small bowl, or slightly longer flat box scraper rest etc.
I’ve got a round tool rest that I made but to be honest I don’t like the shape as much as a traditional shape rest.
The only advantage I can see is that they can easily be hardened if made from the right steel.