During the last two months, John, Raney and I have been building up our inventory of dividers, holdfasts and design curves at Crucible Tool to ensure we don’t run out during the holidays.
We’ve also been working on a new product – a lump hammer – that we hope to launch before the end of the year. Details on the hammer will come in the next few weeks as we get the handles finalized (the heads are done and designed).
As a result of all this production work (plus my duties at Lost Art Press and finishing some furniture commissions), I have been lax in writing about our tools. But, on the other hand, I’ve been using the hell out of our tools in the shop.
Our iron holdfasts are as important to my work as my leg vise. They get hit dozens of times a day to secure doe’s feet or workpieces at my French workbench. These are the only holdfasts that haven’t failed me (you know, when you hit a holdfast and it only bounces in the hole). Even when I’m securing stuff 8” off the bench, these cinch down as gently or as fiercely as you like.
I also love how my holdfasts have aged during the last 18 months in my shop. They are dark grey and nicely dented. I’m glad we didn’t opt to powder coat them or attempt to block the natural aging process.
The improved pattern dividers are always on my bench. They’re in my hand when I’m thinking. They’re in my hand when I’m laying out joints. They sit on the bench as a reminder of what’s important – accuracy not precision. As these dividers have broken in, I’m glad we took the extra step to make the hinge’s tension adjustable. Some blacksmith-made dividers I have in my shop have some slop in the mechanism. When you move the tips, they adjust suddenly for about 1/16” and then move tightly. You can tighten these up with a hammer, but it’s tricky.
Ours do not have this slop. And the reason they don’t have slop is one of the reasons they cost what they do.
Interestingly, the design curves haven’t seen as much use as the other two tools. But I haven’t been doing much designing during the last few months. I’ve used them to help design the arm bow for a staked armchair I’m (still) working on. But these curves have mostly sat on my desk, waiting to be used. I can say they have remained quite flat all summer – yay for seven layers of bamboo.
So apologies for the silence on the front of Crucible Tool. You can expect more information about using our tools in the coming months – there’s lots to explore with these tools.
— Christopher Schwarz