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Veritas’ mammoth French curves. Notice how huge they’re examine to the Taylor Toolworks block plane. 

In the proto-CAD (Computer-Aided Design) world, draftsmen and draftswomen needed to depend on a set of curvy templates after they wanted to attach two or extra factors through a sleek arc or curve. In locations the place a easy arc, drawn with a compass, couldn’t make the minimize the designer would have pulled out the curvy templates and attempt to discover one curve among the many many that may permit for a chic sweep to attach level A to B. 

French Curves have their apparent place in woodworking too. From serving to within the scale drawing of the piece’s curves on the drafting board to the full-scale structure of the components on the inventory. Though some woodworkers have huge printers that may produce full-scale drawings that one can minimize and switch to the wooden, most of us nonetheless want to drag out a pencil, a ruler, a compass, and a French curve template to do the job accurately.

In the previous couple of years, two nice French curve units have debuted available on the market. These instruments, one made by Lee Valley and the opposite by Crucible Tools, an offshoot of Lost Art Press, had confirmed to be a very good answer for our curvy wants.

The Lee Valley plywood French Curves are colossal. In truth, I’ve by no means seen such formidable curves all through my total design profession. Their dimension is definitely their huge benefit as you’ll be able to depend on them to attract these Queen, Chippendale, and the remainder of the basic canon curves straight in your mahogany or plywood medium. Just seize a curve and attempt to discover a chic candy sweep to attach the design landmarks. 

In the above image, you’ll be able to see the Veritas set that we purchased for our woodworking program. We use the behemoth template to setup curves on all types of initiatives however the one that’s largely in demand is drawing an ellipse for our stools’ seats. Teaching the strategy of drawing an ellipse with a string tied between nails is enjoyable and sensible however when quick in time I want to indicate the scholars the curves and clarify the way to use them.

The Veritas set additionally features a small set of curves for use primarily for scale drawings.

First, we draw the ellipse’s lengthy axis, then we intersect it with the ellipse’s quick axis.

We then look for an acceptable curve to attract the ellipse’ quadrant. When wanting for the fitting curve purpose for a curvature that turns into tangent to the rectangle that frames the ellipse. In different phrases, every of the quadrants must circulate easily because it connects to its neighbor. 

Once you discover reminiscent of curve be sure that to demarcate it. Many use pencil tick marks on the curve’s begin and endpoint however I want utilizing masking tape which I fold over to the opposite aspect of the template. I accomplish that to avoid wasting myself the trouble of erasing the pencil traces in a while.

The masking tape approach can also be very helpful when you flip the template over to attract the mirror quadrant. To make it clearer – which of the masking tape edges mark the terminus of the curve – you’ll be able to minimize and affix small masking tape triangles or simply use a sharpie and denote the related fringe of the masking tape.

After the 4 quadrants have been drawn, we peel off the masking tape and tuck the templates for future use. My final piece of recommendation: The Lee Valley templates come unfinished so I’d advocate ending them with some type of protecting oil or varnish. 


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