Monthly Book Giveaway - March 2023

Compass Set

This project is migrated over from another site so there may be some inconsistencies in the text or broken links.

For the Fall Layout and Marking Tool Swap I made a couple of compasses and associated marking tools for fellow LJ BMichs75. a.k.a. Brandon

I had no idea what to make for this swap so I decided to take a look at some tools that seem handy but that, as a hobbyist, I can't justify the cost for. One such tool is the pocket compass from Woodpeckers.

I thought that this thing would be pretty easy to mimic. I was mistaken… I ended up making 4 of these things. One went in the trash. The other 2 can be made into users but they weren't acceptable for a swap package. With something so small and with moving parts that has to stay pretty rigid, it was necessary to incorporate some brass to minimize bending and twisting when trying to set or use the compass. For a sense of scale, here's the compass next to a Sharpie:

But, eventually I got a good working version that was nice enough that I was okay with sending it to Brandon. It will draw circles from 1" up to about 7" in diameter. The hole in the base piece is sized for the anchor piece which I turned on my metalworking lathe. The anchor screws into the end of the compass when not in use. I also turned the locking thumbscrew that holds the compass firmly once it's set. The other holes are sized for a 2mm lead. I included a 2mm mechanical pencil with the package and I also made a scratch awl with a hardened tip of 2mm for when that's a more desirable option.

I had the brass ball so I drilled it out and turned a knurled sleeve from stainless and inserted it through the ball and peened it on the top. The sleeve was drilled to accept the 2 mm drill rod and the rod was deformed slightly to make a tight and (nearly) permanent fit in the sleeve.

Here are some pics of the compass in action:

The pocket compass is made from Brass and Cocobolo and has stainless steel anchor point and locking screw.

I didn't really see the larger version in the Woodpecker's set as being all that useful. The appeal (for me at least) of the smaller one is that it can go in a pocket or apron. I didn't think the larger could. I also liked how the compass laid flat on the workpiece instead of something like a traditional drafting compass or a trammel point set.

So, I decided for larger circles, I would go with a beam compass design that was modularized and that allowed the compass to lay flat. The attachments were made from Cocobolo as well and I bored out some brass thumb screws and inset a Cocobolo cap. I took some 3/8" Stainless bar stock and cut two pieces about 6" and drilled and tapped 3 ends and turned a male thread on the fourth. Then I turned an anchor piece for this compass and threaded it into one end of one of the bars. The attachments accept the same pencil or awl that is used with the pocket version.

Using one of the bars, a circle up to ~12" can be drawn.

Threading the second bar on allows up to ~24"

Finally, I made a small box to house all of the bits and pieces of the set. The sides of the box are some spalted Maple I harvested earlier this year. The bottom and the lid are some Gummy Cherry gifted to me in an earlier swap by LJ Jeffswildwood and the battens are locally harvested Walnut. I used a Japanese toolbox style design because I've always thought it was a great design for shop tools but haven't ever actually made one. I see more in my future
It was a simple build but it's very handy IMO.

So, there you have it! My submission for the final 2018 swap. It was a bit more of a challenge than I anticipated but that's good. I learned a great deal about making really small wood parts. The order of operations was a HUGE factor in finally successfully producing a working version of the pocket compass. And I just recently got my metalworking lathe so I was glad to have an opportunity to put it to use.

Thanks to all who participated in the swap. I had a ball, as usual! And thanks for taking time to check out my project. Comments and questions are welcomed as always.
it might not be red but it sure is pretty kenny. nice work.

working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

Well done Kenny, a great tool to have in any shop.

Main Street to the Mountains

Nice looking stuff there Kenny
Nice job Kenny. The Japanese toolbox is a nice add too!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Beautiful and useful. Nice build my friend.

Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

Nice build, Kenny! I remember thinking I need to build one of those pocket compasses some time, and now you’ve reminded me again.
That is impressive!


That is one handy tool, Nice work on it............Cheers, Jim

Cheers, Jim ........................ Variety is the spice of life...............Learn something new every day