Editor’s note: Raney Nelson at Daed Toolworks has been bringing the Improved Pattern dividers back into production at his shop. Details on the tools and how to purchase a set are below.
After months of revising process and materials, the Improved Pattern dividers are back in production, at a slightly lower cost, and will be for the foreseeable future. I’ve added a batch of 40 sets to inventory today, and will be adding more sets early next week.
While it may take several weeks or perhaps even a few months to catch up with demand, I am firmly committed to keeping these available for as long as there is a desire for them.
What changed? Well, primarily there are two changes that make the tools fully viable long-term from a production standpoint. First is a change to the steel used. While I am extremely fond of the O1 tool steel these have been made from previously, it is a very demanding material for production of the dividers. After trying out a number of other steels, I’ve settled on 12L14 – a low-carbon alloy that is specifically formulated for increased machine-ability through selective inclusion of lead throughout the matrix. This method makes the steel much easier to cut and mill, with little or no effects on the actual alloying composition. The steel is tough, and has a similar chromium content to O1, making the aesthetics of the steel quite similar. The only significant difference is that 12L14 is not a through-hardening steel, and so is not conducive to forming cutting edges. If you have a need for forming a cutting leg on your dividers, you can contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) about a custom run of dividers in O1 or another high-carbon steel.
The second change is in the process of tuning the pivot joint. In order to hold very accurate settings, the fit between the through-bolt and pivot bore of the legs must be fitted to very tight tolerances (about .0005″ or less). By hand-lapping the bores with barrel laps in final fitting, this fit is much easier to ensure and maintain. Finally, the addition of very fine Teflon washers between leaves has made the already smooth movement even smoother, and ensures consistent tension throughout the range of movement.
— Raney Nelson