I have a project where I need to copy some turned legs from a table and
since the table cannot be brought to the workshop, I need to make a
pattern and after looking in several catalogs, I cannot find that little
tool (?) with all the needles to match a turned pattern. I cannot even
come up with the name of the tool. Any suggestion to steer my in the
(clip) Any suggestion to steer my in the right direction.
I used to use the ones with sliding wires, all lined up, but the best I have
ever used is made with plastic "fingers." They slide smoothly, don't get
bent or pushed out of line. Mine came from Harbor Freight. Woodcraft sells
the same thing for twice the money.
Draw yourself a half-pattern on 1/4" birch plywood. Take your measurements
with a ruler and calipers. Record the width and diameter of each of the
elements (cove, bead, taper, shoulder, etc.) Use this half-pattern to turn
your legs. It's not as intimidating as it might first sound. The first leg
is the hardest.
I think you will find this approach works much better than the profile
gauge. It's meant for duplicating short pieces of molding and the like.
Draw yourself a half-pattern on 1/4" birch
plywood. Take your measurements with a ruler and calipers. (clip)
Of course, you are right, Barry. It is important to work from a set a
measurements. It is also good to have a picture or profile, so the
appearance of the copy is right. Remember, though, that it does not have to
be dead accurate. Chances are the reproduction you are making will never be
compared directly with the original. Even slight differences from leg to
leg on the same table are usually not detectable to the naked eye.
On my lathe, I have a laser light, pointed straight down, and supported on a
set of adjustable links, so I can aim it wherever I want. If I were doing
your project, I would make the first leg to my satisfaction, and then set
the laser to a significant transition point on the leg. Then, I would
insert each of the other three legs, and create that point on each, without
allowing the laser to move. I would then put back the completed leg, move
the laser to another feature point, and go through the routine again on the
other three. In a short time you will have all the recognizable edges,
coves and beads outlined. It is then just a matter of fairing in the curves
in between. It is good to supplement this process with a pair of calipers,
to improve accuracy.
I picked up mine from my local Ace Hardware - pretty sure it was under
$10. I called it a profile gauge or similar but had to resort to
describing the thing to the manager before he lit up and led me to the
aisle, pointing to the exact product I was looking for, stating, "Oh,
you mean one of these." (BTW, it's kept near the framing squares,
levels, drawing compasses and other various marking & measuring doodads,
hickies and mabobs.)
As an alternative to a profile gauge, take a picture of it and print it,
B&W on graph paper. If you print to the 100% size you can use the
prints as a backgground to the spindle and turn to match. All you'll
need is calipers to make sure the diameter is right.
Dave in Fairfax
The way I would do this is to draw the profile on a piece of cardboard,
cut it out with an exacto knife, and then measure with a ruler and
calipers, as others have said, then write these measurements on the
I prefer cardboard the consistency of boxes for Priority mail. I'd take
a piece of cardboard wider than your table leg and thumbtack it to a
piece of plywood, clamp this to your table leg with half of the
cardboard off the side of the leg. I take a thin block of wood the same
length as the width of the table leg, and a little wider than the
deepest recess, tape a pencil to one edge, so the lead is just past the
bottom. Now holding the bottom of the block of wood on the cardboard,
slowly move it along with the edge opposite the pencil touching your
table leg. You can do this with a compass but I find making a marking
gauge with a piece of wood easier to control. It's not near as hard as
it sounds. After you cut it out with an exacto knife, you can try it to
the table leg to get a good fit. I then hang it above and behind my
lathe so I can see it while I'm working, I can take it down for marking
my pieces, and I can use it to try my pieces at the end.
(clip) Any suggestion to steer my in the right direction.
Leo, I took your suggestion and went with Harbor Freight. I know that
you meant well, and I should have known better, BUT I will never use
Harbor Freight again. After I ordered it, they charged my credit card
on Aug 23. I gave them a couple days to get the part in the UPS system
so I could track and be home that day. As of today, the 30th, I still
have no part and when I called, they told me that the part was shipped
by common carrier to Ill., and then will be shipped by UPS back to me in
Minnesota. As you know, a common carrier will pickup and dropoff any
number of times between stops. I think I would have prefer to pay a
little more and get a lot more service. Hopefully all those that may
read this will be a little more informed before making a decision.
Thanks for the suggestion of the plastic fingers, I was considering the
metal ones, but you have a very good point.
Be aware that UPS uses common carriers to save their costs. They don't have a
truck so they add it to another to make it full...
I have had equipment sent from very high up on the business pecking order to me
they put it to a terminal in East Texas by express and then a local route
visits smaller towns and filled his truck. It is becoming to be a fact of
the shippers are not much better off than some of the airlines. Tipsy. The
is stepping up and taking some of the load and in some or many respects it is
I got two amazon shipments by USPS this week and a third by UPS. UPS got the
@ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net
NRA LOH, NRA Life
NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
(clip) Any suggestion to steer my in the right >> direction.
Martin, What I am upset about is the fact that HF charged my card,
shipped the little part to Ill and then transferred it to UPS for
delivery back to Minnesota. When I see my card charged, I expect to
see some activity on a shipping notice. If they use UPS, I know that
within 5 working days, I will have the part. Their catalog says that
most items are shipped UPS unless they are too big so I don't understand
why my little "profile gauge", maybe 10-12 oz would have to be shipped
on a big truck. I guess that I just didn't get a good feeling with HF
and the girl on the phone sure didn't help matters. I have ordered quite
a bit of supplies from various companies and have never had this kind of
(clip) Any suggestion to steer my in the right >>> direction.
>>> I used to use the ones with sliding wires, all lined up, but the best
>>> I have ever used is made with plastic "fingers." They slide
>>> smoothly, don't get bent or pushed out of line. Mine came from
>>> Harbor Freight. Woodcraft sells the same thing for twice the money. >>>
>> Leo, I took your suggestion and went with Harbor Freight. I know that
>> you meant well, and I should have known better, BUT I will never use
>> Harbor Freight again. After I ordered it, they charged my credit card
>> on Aug 23. I gave them a couple days to get the part in the UPS system
>> so I could track and be home that day. As of today, the 30th, I still
>> have no part and when I called, they told me that the part was shipped
>> by common carrier to Ill., and then will be shipped by UPS back to me in
>> Minnesota. As you know, a common carrier will pickup and dropoff any
>> number of times between stops. I think I would have prefer to pay a
>> little more and get a lot more service. Hopefully all those that may
>> read this will be a little more informed before making a decision.
>> Thanks for the suggestion of the plastic fingers, I was considering
>> the metal ones, but you have a very good point.
Norvin, I suspect that Leo bought his plastic fingers from a local H.F.
Nevermind being upset about the poor delivery, I'm amazed that you
survived the plaintive words and music of "your call is important to us"
to ever place your order.
Turn to Safety, Arch