Friday, July 22, 2011

Sector Sticks or What; Me Measure??

At last Wednesdays meeting Rich Daugherty gave an informative and interesting talk on the use of sector sticks.  These are the latest in his quest to eliminate measurement from his work!  Sector sticks are a seventeenth century (perhaps even earlier) tool that allows you to evenly and quickly divide spaces and proportionately increase or decrease the size of an object.  If you think about this (and I did), these could be used without any formal system of measurement, all you need is a base size. Rich gave everyone who wanted it a copy of the article from Popular Woodworking, June 2011.

Calculating with Sector Stick
In a nutshell, here's the premise as to how they work.  They can be made any size needed and are hinged at one end.  You use them in conjunction with a pair of calipers. Measuring from the back of your hinge knuckle, you divide them into 13 equal parts. In the picture above he set the sticks at the end of the board on a number (lets say six) and demonstrated how you would find half of the length.  Since half of six is three you would set your caliper the distance between the numbers three on the sticks.  This is half of the total distance so you would simply set one leg of the caliper at the edge of the board, then lay out a point with the the other leg and there's your center.

A Studious Moment

Other tools that Rich brought in to share included these:

Set up Blocks (in pouch), Calipers, and Mortise Gauge

Mortise Chisel used to set Mortise Gauge

Trammel Point

One of Rich's many Woodworking books
The nice thing about woodworking is that you can individualize it and take it in any direction you would like.  If you went to the AWFS show this week you saw the amazing advances of computers and computer controlled equipment and how they've changed woodworking.  If you're more enthusiastic about programming but enjoy wood too Rockler, and several others, have what you could consider a tabletop CNC set up that's fairly affordable.  My own preference is to combine machinery with lots of hand work to produce my work.  Others are more interested in custom cabinetry and built-ins.  That's what so nice about the Sin City Woodworkers, we have a diverse group of people and by sharing with one and other we all learn something new.
Saying that -- who'd like to step up and share their woodworking preferences with the group next month?

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