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Modified Robust Comfort Rest

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Ed_McDonnell, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. Ed_McDonnell

    Ed_McDonnell

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    At the end of January 2009 I started a thread to discuss an issue with the Robust Comfort Rest when used on a Powermatic 3520. In the course of the discussion, Brent English (Mr. Robust himself) offered to send me a modified Comfort Rest to test.

    I have prepared a review of the Modified Robust Comfort Rest. It is in PDF format and can viewed at the following link:


    http://home.comcast.net/~parklandturner/ComfMod.pdf
    (broken link deactivated by Bill Boehme Oct. 6, 2020. See post #8 below)


    If you have any trouble viewing it, let know and I'll figure out an alternative to get you the information.

    Ed
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2020
  2. SpringfieldJim

    SpringfieldJim

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    Good information. Thanks for taking the time to do the review.

    Jim
     
  3. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Excellent write up. Thanks Ed.
     
  4. odie

    odie

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    At the moment, I'm having difficulty viewing pdf format on my computer. If anyone could copy that review and re-post it here, I'd appreciate it.

    I purchased a Robust comfort rest, and have been testing it out for the past month, or so. I'm interested in seeing what the "modified" version is like.

    Thanks......

    otis of cologne
     
  5. Ed_McDonnell

    Ed_McDonnell

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    Odie - It's got embedded pictures so the forum software will not handle a cut and past gracefully. Can you read a Word document? I could email it to you in that format.

    Or you could just download the latest version of Adobe here:

    http://get.adobe.com/reader/

    That might fix your problem.

    Ed
     
  6. odie

    odie

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    Hi Ed.......Yep, the problem is with my adobe reader. I just now tried to install the latest version (although it appears as I have the latest version 9) I keep getting an error message that there is a problem......and, I'm afraid I'm not savvy enough to figure out what's wrong. I tried to upgrade the adobe a month, or so ago, with the same results.

    I would like to see the "modified" Robust comfort rest, so if it's not that much of an inconvenience to you, I wouldn't mind seeing it in an email. Beats me if I can read a Word document, but I've not had any problems with my emails. You can send it through my profile on this forum.......

    thanx

    otis of cologne
     
  7. Ed_McDonnell

    Ed_McDonnell

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    Hi Odie - Since you are not sure about a Word Document I'll just try copying it into an email and we'll see what happens. It might work.

    I tried to get your email from your profile, but I got the message that you have chosen not to have emails sent to you.

    If you email me at parklandturner at comcast dot net I'll send it to you.

    Ed

    Odie - Never mind. I just dumped it to the forum. The pictures will be at the bottom (I hope) instead of in the review. I just copied it but have not read it. Hopefully everything copied alright.

    Ed
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  8. Ed_McDonnell

    Ed_McDonnell

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    Review of the Robust Modified Comfort Rest


    BACKGROUND:
    In January of 2009, I started a discussion on the AAW Forum regarding my (then) recently acquired Robust Comfort Tool Rest. The only significant issue that I identified with the Standard Comfort Rest is that when used on a Powermatic 3520b lathe, if you turn anything over 9†diameter you will not be able to get the rest closer to the work than about ¼†to 3/8â€. I’m not going to repeat that discussion here, but if you want to know more about it you can review the discussion on the AAW forum at the following link:

    Robust Tool Rest - PM3520
    (broken link repaired by Bill Boehme Oct. 6, 2020)

    Brent English (Owner of Robust) participated in the discussion and offered to send me a Modified Comfort Rest for testing on my Powermatic 3520b. This is a review of the Modified Comfort Rest after 8 hours of turning with it. It was used for everything from aggressive roughing to fine finishing (shear) cuts during the testing period.

    The Review:
    The particular rest reviewed is a modified version of the 12†original style Robust Comfort Rest. The modification to the rest was to tip the body of the rest slightly forward which has the effect of moving the post back slightly.

    The following picture compares overhang. Left is the Standard Powermatic Rest, center is Standard Comfort Rest and right is Modified Comfort Rest.

    HangComp_AAW.jpg

    The Modified Comfort Rest doesn't have as much overhang as the Powermatic Rest, but the amount of overhand is more than adequate. With the new design, the Modified Comfort Rest can be snugged right up to the work without any interference from the banjo.

    The pictures above were all taken with the same tool post extension. Because of the different design between the Powermatic and Comfort Rest, the picture gives the illusion that the Powermatic Rest is much taller.

    The Modified Comfort Rest is approximately 7¼" tall. That is a quarter inch shorter than the Standard Comfort Rest and a half inch shorter than the Powermatic Tool Rest. The Modified Comfort Rest can be set to a maximum height of 12" over the lathe ways. The Standard Powermatic Tool Rest can be set to a maximum height of 12½" over the lathe ways. The swing on the Powermatic 3520b is 20½". A maximum height setting of 12" for a tool rest is more than adequate to support any use I can imagine on the Powermatic 3520b.

    The minimum height setting for the Standard Powermatic rest is 9¼" which compares to about 8" on the Modified Comfort Rest. No issue there.

    The post on both the Standard and Modified Comfort Rests is 0.996" diameter which compares to a post diameter of 0.992" on the standard Powermatic Tool Rest. Minor difference, but I like the "feel" of the Comfort Rest post in the banjo. The Standard Powermatic Tool Rest now feels like the fit is a little sloppy to me. This is strictly a perception issue and has no impact on performance.

    I only have 8 hours on the Modified Comfort Rest, but I have about 60 hours on my Standard Comfort Rest. The hardened steel rod on the top surface of the Comfort Rests has proven extremely durable and showed no sign of wear even when used with my thin parting tool that has a tendency to leave nicks in my Powermatic Tool Rest.

    I have only heard one issue regarding the hardened surface of the Comfort Rest. A small manufacturer that recently came out with a new tool has advised against using the tool with the Comfort Rest. The manufacturer is concerned that the Comfort Rest might dent the shaft of their tool in use. The only comment I have is that if you find yourself denting the shafts of your tools on the Comfort Rest, you might want to take a hard look at the tool and / or how you are using it.

    I have an assortment of Sorby, Thompson, Kelton and P&N tools that are completely dent free after 68 hours of combined use on Comfort Rests.

    There is a significant difference in the degree to which the tool handle can be dropped for cuts using the three different rests (Powermatic, Standard Comfort and Modified Comfort). The tool handle can only be dropped about 25 degrees on the Standard Powermatic Tool Rest before it starts riding on the back of the rest. You can drop the handle approximately 45 degrees on the Modified Comfort Rest. The Standard Comfort Rest allows you to drop the handle up to a whopping 65 degrees.

    This is illustrated in the picture below (Powermatic left, Modified Comfort Center, Standard Comfort right):

    AngleComp_AAW.jpg

    I never found myself wishing I could drop the handle further on with the Modified Comfort Rest. I am more than happy to give up 20° of angle in exchange for the ability to get the rest closer to pieces larger than 9" diameter. If your particular turning style or tools require more than 45° of handle drop, then you may feel differently about the trade-off of angle for closeness.

    The fit and finish on the Comfort Rests is good. The post is welded to the rest body. No part of the weld interferes with usage of the rest even at maximum handle drop. There were no sharp edges on the weld anywhere that might prove troublesome when handling the rest. Increasing the angle of the rest body on the Modified Comfort Rest will result in more stress on the weld than with the Standard Comfort Rest configuration. The weld on the Modified Comfort Rest looks like it is more than up to the task and I am not any more worried about failure than I am about failure of the cast iron in the Standard Powermatic Tool Rest.

    There was one tiny rough spot on the interior of the rest body right below where the hardened rod is attached to the rest body on the left side. It was a minor irritant to the back of my finger / hand when rubbing my hand against the interior of the rest for control. A couple swipes with a round diamond file and it was gone.

    I am extremely satisfied with the Modified Comfort Rest and very impressed with how responsive Robust Tools and Brent English are to customer needs. I can't recommend the Comfort Rest enough. In my opinion, it is a "must have" upgrade to the Powermatic 3520b. My recommendation would be to select a Modified Comfort Rest, but some people may prefer the Standard Comfort Rest. With the addition of the Modified Comfort Rest to the tool rest lineup at Robust, customers now have a choice and can get exactly what they need.

    Ed McDonnell

    (layout updated by Bill Boehme to match original PDF file)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2020
  9. Gil Jones

    Gil Jones

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    Hi Ed,
    Thanks very much to you for the well done test and write-up, and thanks to Brent for quickly supplying you with a modified comfort rest for the test.
    Just looking at the pictures, it appears (to me) that the mod is mainly in the angle cut into the top of the post, which is a fine idea and fix, as in doing that the pitch of the rest is now canted forward just enough.
    I learned the hard way last week that I cannot set either of my Robust comfort tool rests too close to the work (on my PM3520B), by knocking a small amount of the bark from a natural edge piece when it hit the banjo post (my fault, as I knew better from reading your initial post, just an old guy laps in memory).
    I am seriously tempted to cut the tool rest post to a shallower angle, grind the post remains off of the rest, and have the rest re-welded to the post using TIG to try and control the heat spread (so as not to damage the hardened rod bedding compound).
     
    Donovan Bailey likes this.
  10. KurtB

    KurtB

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    Ed,
    Thanks for this investigative reporting. It looks very thorough and unbiased!
    Very nice!
     
  11. bob elliott

    bob elliott

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    It's a great feeling to be able to deal with a manufacturer who will listen, trouble shoot and respond to the needs of the marketplace!
     
  12. Michael Stafford

    Michael Stafford

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    Ed, you did a bang up job of reviewing and testing the modified comfort tool rest.

    The only question you did not answer or get Brent to answer is where I can get one for my Stubby? I think this modified design is a good design regardless of the lathe.
     
  13. Jerry Rhoads

    Jerry Rhoads

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    Good write up Ed

    Good work Brent, and timely response to the problem.

    Jerry
     
  14. Ron Sardo

    Ron Sardo Guest

    Excellent... Thanks
     
  15. Brent@TurnRobust

    Brent@TurnRobust

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    Hi guys:

    First, thanks for the great write up Ed.

    I have a couple more of the "modified" version out for test, and if people are happy, I'll convert over to it for future production - and my guess is folks will like it better for the reasons Ed laid out. You should also be able to get inside a bowl at little bit better too.

    To the person who wanted to buy a modified version, until I get production changed over, you'll need to purchase direct. Otherwise we have a number of dealers, and they are listed on our website. (Hope that isn't too commercial - just trying to be responsive.)

    Thanks again Ed, Brent at Robust
     
  16. odie

    odie

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    Thanks Ed, for the great write-up.......

    (I received your email, and thanks as well for taking the time.)

    You have brought to my attention a flaw in the design of the Robust Comfort Tool Rest that, up until this point, I had not been aware of. Thanks.

    As I had mentioned, I have one of the unmodified Robust Comfort tool rests. My lathe is a 16" swing Woodfast, and as you can see from the 2nd photo, I cannot get any closer than about 1/4" when measured directly under the banjo.

    Now that I'm aware of this, I'd opt to purchase the modified version if I had the choice.......but, that's a done deal, and water under the bridge!

    One thing I'm considering, is if the tool rest itself is anywhere near parallel to the spindle, the circumference of the bowl will be moving away from the rest, and the banjo doesn't seem to be an interference at any diameter work piece my lathe is capable of.....as indicated by the first photo. The photo shows a 9 1/2" diameter Myrtle bowl that happened to be on the lathe when I went out there to take the picture this morning. Although the photo is taken from a slight angle, the rest is all the way up to, and touching the outer edge of the bowl. It clearly shows there will be no problem using the Robust tool rest when it's parallel to the spindle.

    Now, with the Robust tool rest anywhere near perpendicular to the spindle, it's obvious there will be some applications where the banjo will be in the way. For those times when the banjo is in the way, I can probably find a location for the tool rest where it's usable, but I will be using the far right end of the rest in order to get the banjo out of the way. The new modified version is the clear solution to this problem.

    As Brent points out, the interior of bowl ought to be more accessible with the modified rest......another benefit. This is a modification that will prove to be of great value to woodturners.

    Thanks to Brent, for being responsive to the needs of woodturners......and thanks to Ed for pointing out that a correction was needed.

    otis of cologne
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  17. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    Brent sent me one as well and I did basically the same thing. I took a Oneway tool rest, set it up and measured overhand, maximum gouge angle (which by the way is measured with a digital protractor right in that same area) and fit and finish> Right now I am painting, so I haven't had time to turn with it yet. Definitely looks like I might have to replace some of my bent up Oneway tool rests with the new Robust one. I will let you know when I turn some on it.
     
  18. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Although I love the new rest and think it's a fabulous idea in reality you should always spin the work by hand before youturn the lathe on. This alerts you to the possibility of the wood hitting the banjo. The tool always sticks a little past the supporting tool rest anyway due to the angle of the bevel. This usually means the wood is 3/8" or so away from the tool rest.
    Now that I've said that, I'm saving my money to get one from Brent.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Oops meant to add that this is my modified Robust rest. It is a mini lathe rest put an a 3520 tool post. As you can see the clearance is from the banjo is larger than the standard Robust. I love this tool rest. I do a lot of smaller work and being able to wrap my hands around the rest to support the work is really great.
     
  20. odie

    odie

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    .....and, THAT is an excellent, and very relevant point to consider! It probably means that I couldn't rest my tools any closer to the work, even if it's possible the Robust Comfort rest could be positioned closer! As my previous photo showed....at the most, I may have about 1/4" gap under the worst of circumstances.

    Considering that, I may not have a need for the modified version......even though it's the one I would have purchased, if it were available at the time.

    Thanks for pointing that out, John......

    OOC
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  21. Brent@TurnRobust

    Brent@TurnRobust

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    John Lucas' rest is now what we offer as a "low profile" rest. He is correct, it is our standard mini-rest (which normally has a 5/8" post) on a larger 1" post. We made John a custom length to accomodate one of his standard turnings.

    Brent at Robust
     
  22. Dave Hulett

    Dave Hulett

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    reviving an old thread as a note for others who read this for info like me as to the difference between the Robust Comfort and the Low Profile tool rests. Although it appaears that pictures in this thread show both of them side by side, when reviewing the 2018 Robust video on Craft Supplies USA web site (or youtube) vs the pictures Odie posted in 2009 of the "Comfort" and "modified" (the current low-profile) tool rests the profile of the Comfort looks quite different. I suspect that in the 9 years since this thread last had a post, that Robust also modified the original Comfort design as well. The profile shown in the 2018 video has considerable more offset than the one shown in the 2009 picture a few posts above.

    Perhaps Brent can confirm.

    BTW, I have 3 other Robust tool rests and love them. What lead me to this thread was I need to replace my 6 year old 12" Nova rest that came with my DVR-XP. It's been dinged and filed so many times it's time to replace. Robust is the natural choice.
     
  23. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Two of my favorite tool rests
    The 14” J rest use it on most bowls I hollow

    Small comfort rest - ideal for finishing bottoms when reverse chucking - fits close in so nicely.
    Also great for turning spheres up to 4”
     
  24. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I updated Ed McDonnell's review of the Robust Tool Rest to repair the layout and fix symbol translation from vBulletin to XenForo.
     

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