View Full Version : Model steam engine taps& dies?

Doc Nickel
11-16-2007, 06:59 AM
A friend of mine has what he says is a "complete" set of taps and dies for model steam engines. He purchased them along with some other more conventional machinist tools, but has no interest in steam modelling.

I've been tasked to dispose of them to someone who can use them for their intended purpose- which, I think, is about their only purpose, since they're all some fairly oddball threads.


I can get a complete list if absolutely necessary, but as above, there's a full set of 26, 32 and 40 TPI, five to six sizes of each, and the last is miniature tapered pipe, again five sizes each of both taps and dies.

The few I read said Totem as a brand, as I recall, but I don't think they all are, as some were roll-marked, others were laser-engraved (and almost too faint to read.)

All in nicely-fitted and clear laquered storage boxes. Probably new/unused.

I considered listing 'em at Practical Machinst's sales sections, then thought about eBay, then decided I probably ought to ask some experts first. :D I know how much the current owner paid, and it's kind of a chunk, but it might well be worth it to the right buyer, I don't know.

So the question; what are they worth, and where would the best place be to offer them to an enthusiast who can use 'em as they're designed to be used?


11-16-2007, 07:07 AM
Not to steal your thunder doc, but talking about oddball thread sizes, a professor here at school has a ton of odd stuff, including #4 up to 1/4" taps all 100+ tpi. Any idea what they would be used for? I can't even imagine trying to start the #4-110 or whatever it is. And it's not just like he had one or two of them, he had a whole container full.

11-16-2007, 07:09 AM

Brand new in the UK they'd prolly be cost from about 40 for the lot.


No big payday really I'd guess, never seen minature tapered pipe before.

I'm a member on 2 other ME forums, can advertise them for you there if you'd like. Others may know better the value and desirability of them in the US.


Your Old Dog
11-16-2007, 08:48 AM
I could sure use the 40 thread set as I was about to order out some.

What does your friend want for that set and can I PayPal you or him the booty? I can also do a US Postal Money Order.

edited: SORRY!I didn't realize they were all tapered as used in steam configurations. I won't be needing them but thanks.

11-16-2007, 10:25 AM
I could use the MTP taps and dies, but I'm not sure what a good price is as I haven't seen 'em. Let me know what you want for them and we'll go from there.

11-16-2007, 12:17 PM
Don't think the 40, 32 & 26 are going to be 'taper' threads. One of the taps will be taper (if it is set of three) but that is a horse of a different wheelbase.

11-16-2007, 12:28 PM
the 32/40/26 may not be common, but dollars to donuts they're a national profile and available from any tool supplier (kbc for example lists the oddball sizes and i assume others do as well)

the model taper pipe tackle is rarer, Coles used to sell them, may still, and they were expensive, no doubt just because of the smaller runs the limited market would justify. same idea as regular pipe threads just smaller. iirc they were around 30-40 each. screw that, I'll make a proper model and use flanges :D

as for what they're worth, who knows? how do you value used stuff, used cutting tools? 10%, 25%, 50% of new value? a couple of bucks each? more for the pipe thread stuff. i guess it'll depend on how badly someone wants but thats how I'd value a used cutting tool i didn't wake up in the morning needing.

what did he pay for them - what's a chunk?

11-16-2007, 01:12 PM
It's appealing in that the odball sizes, many used in model work, have been pre-gathered and put into a nice set. If the tapered (model pipe) threads are the ones Coles sold, those alone are worth $100 U.S. if lightly used. I have a set of them, in their fitted oak box, and while I don't use them very often, they are charming little tools. They were made in the U.K. by "Apex" IIRC.

11-16-2007, 01:20 PM
I think most if not all can be purchased from model engine sites. Steam engine sites for the most part.

11-16-2007, 03:14 PM
I might be interested in them :)

Can you provide a complete list of tap/dies sizes in the set ?


11-16-2007, 04:03 PM

Take a look at this site. It will educate you on the taps and dies for model engines.


As you can see some of them are expensive! :cool:

11-16-2007, 04:16 PM
I agree that these are most useful to builders of live steam locomotives.
Unfortunately,they are incomplete sets,omitting the 1/8" and 3/16 most used.
Obviously the owner only bought those sizes he needed individually,rather than a factory set.Even so,the dies are about $15 each on average,the taps a little less,so you can work it out from there.If they're in good nick,2/3 of new price is fair,IMHO.

11-16-2007, 09:42 PM
Depending on the thread angle the 26 TPI set would be interchangable with BSB (brass thread, 55 degrees) or BSC (cycle thread, 60 degrees). 1/4 BSF is also 26 TPI 55 degrees.

Brass thread was, of course, used on brass fittings, and BSC was used on British made push bikes and many British motor bikes. I recently came across an old small stationary engine made by JAP (J A Prestwich, who also made motor cycle engines for many years), which used some BSC threads, e.g on the cylinder head bolts. BSF was commonly used on Brirish cars up to about the mid-fifties.


11-18-2007, 01:08 AM

Have you made any determination of what you want for them, or are you just looking to see what they might e-bay for?

If you want to sell them, give a price. You might have a buyer, here. I might be interested, even.

I am playing with live steam, and all the plans I am playing with call for Brit threads.