With any luck, our first batch of Crucible Dividers (Type 2) will go up for sale in our store in the coming week for $110 plus domestic shipping.
The dividers are made from an alloy steel (about 28-30 on the Rockwell C scale in hardness). All the components are made in the United States – Kentucky and Tennessee. And the dividers are hand-assembled here in the Bluegrass State. You can adjust the friction on the dividers with a No. 8 screwdriver. This allows you to loosen them for gross adjustments, increase the friction so you can adjust them one-handed, and lock them – hard – in place.
During the last six months, we posted snapshots of these dividers on Instagram as we developed the tool. We received a lot of questions. Here are some of the good ones, with our answers.
Q: How are these dividers different from your Improved Pattern Dividers, which you no longer sell?
A: The Improved Pattern Dividers required a lot of handwork to construct and tune. And we never got the price/profitiability working for us. The Type 2 dividers have the same basic silhouette as the previous model, but they were redesigned from the ground up. Our goal was to make dividers that are attractive, fully functional and affordable. As with everything we make, we insisted they be made in the USA. And we wanted to be able to make a lot of them so they aren’t fetishized.
Q. Surely you had to cut corners to make them $110 (a $75 reduction in price).
A: To be honest, yes. The earlier design was hand finished on a precision belt grinder. They were shiny. The new dividers are finished with a different process that does not require handwork and leaves a gray, matte surface. They are not as flashy and look more like a workaday tool.
Q: So they are uglier?
A: We don’t think so. It’s just a slightly different aesthetic. The fit of the parts on these new dividers is excellent out of the mill. We completely redesigned the hinge to use a standard driver. Our goal was to have the dividers look like what you would get from Stanley (or the other top-line makers) in the early 20th century – the heyday. Not a custom tool. There are small milling marks on our dividers that show how they were made. Nothing is mirror polished. But boy, do they work well.
Q: Are they stainless steel?
A; No. They are made from alloy steel. They come oiled and in a plastic VCI bag to resist corrosion. When you put them away in your tool chest, we recommend you first wipe them down with an oily rag to prevent rust.
Q: Do I need to sharpen them?
A: The dividers come sharp – sharp enough for general woodwork. If they every become dull, you can rub the tips on some #220-grit sandpaper to refresh the points.
Q: Are you going to make an attachment that will convert the dividers into a compass?
A: That is not our plan. We like to have our tools do one thing and do it well.
Q: Are you going to make other sizes of dividers?
A: A second size is in the works. I can’t say more than that at this point.
Q: Why is the packaging so basic? Wouldn’t it be better to ship them in a custom box?
A: With every item we make, our goal is to use the least amount of packaging. Instead of spending $5 to $7 on packaging that will induce breathless “unboxing videos,” we’d rather keep the price low and put all the money into making the tool. It doesn’t matter if you are left-wing, right-wing or chicken-wing, making elaborate boxes that will be thrown away is wasteful. Plus, we have no interest in feeding the collector market and its creepy affection for original packaging.
Q: Will your retailers worldwide carry these?
A: Not at first. We need to make a lot of them to recoup our investment in these tools, and to figure out how to make them efficiently. After we can make them reliably, we hope to sell them elsewhere.
If you aren’t sure if you like them, we’ll have some on display at our Aug. 7 Open Day (10 a.m to 5 p.m.) at the storefront in Covington, Ky. Come try them out.
— Christopher Schwarz