CFrye's Tool Swap Beam Compass and Winding Sticks

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Project by CFrye posted 168 days ago 1401 views 3 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

From the beginning of this Measurement and Layout swap I wanted to make a beam compass. I searched on line, repeatedly, and was surprised at how few I found that were all or mostly all wood. Nothing wrong with metal beams or trammells, just not what I wanted to do (although I was really tempted by the Rockler trammels like Sanding2day used for his version. Mafe built an all wood model. I really liked his idea of using wedges. I found a restoration of a beam compass with wedges at Full Chisel Blog and patterned mine after that. Enough chit chat. :-)
The Beam Compass was made from two 2×2’s from the big box store. The gnarly grained piece had to be the beam and the winding sticks. I was concerned they might not remain true. Went with them anyway. Couldn’t resist that figure! The 2×2 was cut into three pieces on the table saw and cut to 24” long. The wedges are maple. The points are broken drill bits cut to length and sharpened on the bench grinder. Initially I was going to use 2mm pencil lead points for the pencil trammell. That worked until I broke the lead off flush trying to remove it after a test fit. Eventually settled on pencil stubs held in place with friction of a leather strip that threaded through the trammell and was tied in a knot. I made a union or sleeve so that the winding sticks could be used to extend the beam for longer diameters. The ends of the winding sticks were inlayed with walnut and maple and a maple dot was inlayed in the middle (didn’t get a pic of that). It was all finished with black wax (Johnson’s Paste wax mixed with soot from the wood stove) to bring out the grain in the oak. A second coat of plain wax and a light buffing followed. All three trammels can be used together with an ellipse engine called a Do-Nothing-Machine).
LakeLover is the recipient of these tools. I hope he will get lots of use out of them and modify them to fit his shop and own woodworking style. The Monte Python quote is from a comment LakeLover made somewhere along the way.

-- God bless, Candy

30 comments so far

View waho6o9's profile


4825 posts in 1203 days

#1 posted 168 days ago

Well done Candy.

View nayo's profile


127 posts in 519 days

#2 posted 168 days ago

that for sure will be a nice gift, I just did a beam compass(albeit with bolts) yesterday, and you don’t know how useful they are till you have one. and today i learned what a winding stick are.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7675 posts in 2679 days

#3 posted 168 days ago

You did a Super job making it!


-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View nezzer's profile


25 posts in 763 days

#4 posted 168 days ago

Nice job as usual. What a useful thing to have learned to make.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7565 posts in 1546 days

#5 posted 168 days ago

Cool, Candy! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

14841 posts in 1194 days

#6 posted 168 days ago

Excellent work Candy.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Roger's profile


14318 posts in 1430 days

#7 posted 168 days ago

Very nice Candy

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Thewoodman2000's profile


539 posts in 597 days

#8 posted 168 days ago

sweet setup you have made there!!! I likesss the grain tooooo!!!

-- (the only thing in there she says is...... saw dust) - James

View theoldfart's profile


4013 posts in 1078 days

#9 posted 168 days ago

Nice job Candy, maybe a couple of pics of the winding sticks please? I have some 3’ Mahogany pieces that I’m going to inlay with Maple. I need them to flatten the top of my bench i’m building.

-- "Aged flatus, I heard that some one has already blown out your mortise." THE Surgeon ……………………………………. Kevin

View WayneC's profile


12260 posts in 2724 days

#10 posted 168 days ago

Well done.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View ShaneA's profile (online now)


5285 posts in 1225 days

#11 posted 168 days ago

Looks good.

View terryR's profile


3039 posts in 935 days

#12 posted 168 days ago

Very nice work, Candy. The gnarly grain is gorgeous.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View jordanp's profile


1044 posts in 567 days

#13 posted 168 days ago

Spectacular design Candy!

-- J. Palmer Woodworks - Rockwall TX -I woke up this morning thinking “man, I really hope someone posted some soul scarring sh*t on LJs today.” -- - Billy

View BusterB's profile


1373 posts in 635 days

#14 posted 168 days ago

Thats pretty cool Candy…and I am very impressed with your DIY finish…Nice. I have a vast collection of “Do Nothing Machines” in my shop and none of em look anything like that…rofl Great creativity and execution on the build.

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View CFrye's profile


2809 posts in 466 days

#15 posted 168 days ago

Waho, thanks!
Nayo, I’d like to see your version of the beam compass and what you did with it.
Thanks for the comments and encouragement Joe, Nez and Sheila!
Don, it was fun to build. Probably not near as useful as yours!
Roger, it has a very serious flaw…won’t hold ice cream!
Thewoodman, I was curious how the gnarly grain would look on the trammels. The first thing I did was to cut the 2×2 into the three beams so I’m still looking for another!
Kevin, here is a blurry staged pic of the winding sticks in action.

I put the walnut stick in back so it would contrast with the white background. The maple didn’t stand out as much as I thought it would, partially due to the black wax I’m sure. You can kind of see the center dot in the pic. I hope you post yours when you complete them.
Thanks Wayne and Shane!
Thank you Terry! I wish I could have brought the grain out even more. It was truly the star of the build.
High praise Jordan! Thank you kindly.
Buster, you crack me up! Thank you sir.

-- God bless, Candy

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