Sharpening Dividers

Today Raney and I shot this short video on how to sharpen dividers with an all-purpose tip. These instructions work with any dividers, including our own. Next up: How to modify the tips to do interesting things.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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2 Responses to Sharpening Dividers

  1. Luke Maddux says:

    So they should not leave marks? I’ve always considered them a marking tool. Their primary use in my shop is for dividing dovetails, where I need them to leave slight indentations.

    Is there something I’m not understanding?

  2. raney says:

    Luke – sometimes you want marks, as with dividing up a length for dovetails, or drawer heights, etc.

    At other times, you want to minimize the marking of the wood as much as possible. Say you are scribing a convex arc on a skirt with dividers – the center location is going to be in the final piece, so you want to avoid leaving overly large marks.

    And we are also trying to set some guidelines for what constitutes ‘working well’ for dividers, and how you can adjust them when they’re not doing what you want — or to suit specific tasks that might be a little out of the ordinary.

    None of the videos on divider sharpening and shaping is intended to be ‘thou shalt’ instructions. Most woodworkers I talk to have dividers, and use them once in a while for certain tasks – dovetails being a popular one. But after you work with them for a while, they’re a tool that not only changes how you work – it changes how you think somewhat too. We’re hoping to help ease and speed up that process for people by showing a wide range of stuff we use them for.

    The idea really is more about tossing out ideas to help open people’s minds more than to provide a set of instructions.

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