This paper presents a study of comparison of empirical and experimental results for main cutting force during machining rotational parts by unworn cutting tools. A dynamometer was designed and produced for measuring the forces. Two strain gauges were placed at the correct position on the machine tool and cutting tool at the design stage. Correct gauge positioning sensed displacements of the tool caused by cutting forces. AISI 1040 was used as the workpiece material. Main cutting force (F-c) was measured for eight different rake angles changing from negative to positive values at five different cutting speeds. The depth of cut and feed rate were kept throughout the experiments. Empirical results according to Kienzle approach were compared with experimental results. Main cutting force was observed to have a decreasing trend as the rake angle increased from negative to positive values. The deviation between empirical approach and experiments was in the order of 10-15%. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.