Crucible Tool Update & Dividers


Teaching and exhibiting at Woodworking in America – and launching a tool company – proved to be an around-the-clock yack-fest. As a result, we are just now putting the finishing touches on the Crucible Tool website and will almost certainly launch it this week.

The other news is that we announced our second tool: 6” dividers that are being made on our Haas CNC mill in Raney Nelson’s Indiana shop. We had a handful of dividers to sell at the opening event and sold out of them. Raney is cranking up production shortly so that we have stock on them in the next few weeks.


Thanks to the foundry, we have a fair number of holdfasts to sell on the site when it launches (priced at $130, which includes domestic shipping), plus T-shirts ($25, including domestic shipping).

We’ll have lots more details about the dividers on the Crucible site, but the short version is this:

They are based on early 20th-century blacksmith-made dividers and can be adjusted precisely with one hand. But instead of securing the divider’s hinge with a peened pin, we have designed a mechanism that can be adjusted with a No. 10 spanner drive bit (included) so you can adjust the hinge’s friction when it becomes loose through normal use.


The dividers are made using O1 steel and are machined and hand-finished in our Indiana workshop. The price is $120, which includes domestic shipping.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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42 Responses to Crucible Tool Update & Dividers

  1. They look great Chris.

  2. jonfiant says:

    Awesome! Those dividers will have incredible functionality, and the cool factor is off the chain! And I think your pricing is good for what I perceive to be excellent quality. Also a great idea to include the spanner bit.

  3. hgordon4 says:

    Get that site launched so we can preorder! :>)

  4. gilgaron says:

    They look very nice! With them being O1 as the material: are you hardening them or does annealed O1 have properties that lend itself well to this? I am a novice at metalworking but I have some 1018 and some O1 around and had been considering using the former to make some dividers or similar until I saw that you guys used tool steel here.

    • raney says:

      You can get away with 1018 for dividers just fine. We are using O1 for a few reasons: a) even annealed (which these are) it’s harder than mild steel, and holds a point really well. b) I think it’s aesthetically spectacular stuff. And c) because I have a deep personal relationship with o1.

      C) may sound odd, but I don’t think so. It’s similar to a cabinetmaker who works mainly with walnut or cherry. Over time you develop a deep sense of what it’s capable of, what to look out for in any particular use or design, and what to expect. If there is a problem of any kind, you’re much faster to notice it if you’ve got a long history wi the material, etc. etc. etc.

      In this case, we want to balance hardness to keep a decent point with relative ease of filing/ab radon so the tips can easily be refined and sharpened when necessary. As with most things, I start with O1 and see if I can find anything that does the job better. More often than not I don’t, the exception being when there’s a lot of impact resistance needed (think hammers) when 4140 or plain old 1045 tends to be a better choice.

  5. Mark Baker says:

    Aloha Chris ,
    I’m looking in vein I guess for a Divider that I used for 40+ years . It was made by General Tools , but it seems this tool has gone ‘missing’ . I used this ‘self-dividing ‘ angle finding divider in many a ‘high-end ‘ home’s stair wells and other ornate molding locations where square corners didn’t exist . It made quick work of these difficult joints to the point that on some homes and high rises , its was a ‘given’ to expect these jobs were mine . I even ‘crewed up’ to teach as many ‘new’ crews for the company to speed up this ‘pinch-point ‘ of so many sites .
    Now years later and ‘disabled ‘ but not down for the count , I seem to be to use my remaining time to step toward ‘home bound’ employment .
    Voc. Rehab. here in the state of Hawaii has been priceless with their help and support .
    Getting back to my personal quest , Home Bound Employment , I was trying to retrace this # 61 or #81 General Tools ‘Self-Dividing’ Bevel/Square , since mine for 40+years has since my accident has become just another job site lose after my mishap . I can’t even find using General’s search engine or Googles search , with no avail . Does this tool even exist in a picture form so I can ‘remake’ one for my self ??
    I’m hoping to make an up-to-date’ model with this little endeavor among other little finish-it-up jobs while I have the diminished capacity that my 24/7 vertigo has left me with . Definitely not someone to let loose in a big company shop environment , I don’t let that keep me from rediscovering my forefathers hand tooled skills since I’m mostly ‘ unplugged ‘ now and Your articles have been a real source of hope and zeal that I can keep ‘ pushing out the walls ‘ despite this enduring vertigo !
    Mahalo for your articles [ it’s never a dull moment , when there’s something new to learn on this side of the sod ] .
    Aloha from Oahu ,
    Mark Baker

    • raney says:

      I’m unfamiliar with the tool you are describing, but I’d love not to be… Any chance the one pictured at is the sort you are describing?

    • joefromoklahoma says:

      So I’m wondering if we’re talking around something like a Stanley #30 angle divider. The first one I owned when I was a cub (say ’74, ’75) was made by General (Stanley being out of the angle divider business a few years prior). When I read your description, that’s what I thought of; but I want one of those that raney’s dug up. Hope this helps.

    • Mark Baker says:

      .Mahalo to both Randy and joefromoklahoma , you both found it !! Hmm ?!? So who was making it for who ? General for Stanley or the other way around ? O well, oils well that ends well !

      • joefromoklahoma says:

        No worries, happy to have been of some service. Can’t say for sure on the pedigree – the Stanley version had been around for quite a while before they quit; the General version hung around for several years after the Stanley’s were no longer available. They are identical in function and operation; but differ a bit in fit and finish.
        I can see why you’d miss it; when you need it, it’s as handy as a pocket on a shirt.That job, forty some years ago, was an extensive American walnut paneling job – corporate stuff – with lots of paneling with one raking side – catching the miter angle with one set-up was very helpful. Best of luck in your endeavors; keep an even strain!!

  6. sunquest2 says:

    Henry O. Studley, and millions of other Masons, past and present since the time of “Kings Soloman’s Temple” have referred to these as “Compasses” not compass and certainly not dividers.
    However, there are indeed very beautiful Compasses.

  7. Jason says:

    I was just thinking I could use another pair of 6″ dividers.

  8. Joshua Allen says:

    I had a chance to test a pair out at the opening. I was impressed by the quality. Should be an excellent addition to the toolbox once I get some money together.

  9. John Padgett says:

    (Wiping the drool from my mouth) Yes. Love it. I will be ordering one.

  10. toolnut says:

    Slick. I like the indent for the thumb to open it one handed and the logo looks really cool on the tool. Looking forward to whatever else you guys cook up

  11. software engineer here, offering my help to get the website up and running.

    dividers look great!

    • Thanks Thomas,

      We’re not having any technical difficulties – just trying to make sure the text is clean, our SKUs match and our warehouse is ready.

    • Mark Baker says:

      The 29th I’m being sent back to collage by voc. reboot my brain(since I lost my CAD thinking skills in a coma 5+ years ago ) .Its been 46yrs.since I was in school. Yikes ! I hope I recover my lost skills .Its been such a long time since :”this is Tranquility Base” (07/20/1969)when I put together my first PC ( a little Timex kit with only a 2K hard drive((a cassette player)) ) .😆

      • holtdoa says:

        That brings back memories. Did your Times/Sinclair kit have adequate instructions or was the box full of contradicting pieces of paper containing addendum to the assembly instructions? I ordered one well ahead of release, so I assume I got one of the first run kits and it was a mess .

  12. Ed Clarke says:

    I’d buy a “Sector” if you made one. Both Jim Tolpin and Chris Schwarz seem to think they’re a necessary part of a workshop.

  13. franktiger says:

    Moxan compass in the real. Looks great and can’t wait.

  14. Dan Zehner says:

    Saw these at WIA and am blown away… Looking forward to owning a pair! 😀 Also, Chris thank you VERY much for the recommendation of Elmer T. Lee Special Reserve. It was exquisite. 🙂

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