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After 20 years, I finally wore out my grandfather’s Japanese-made trammel points. They were things of beauty, but the micro-adjustable friction mechanism began to slip and nothing could be done to fix it without the help of a machine shop.

I’m going to get them repaired, but in the meantime I have lots of arcs to scribe. Megan Fitzpatrick, in a moment of pure generosity, ordered me this set of Veritas Trammel Points and I’ve been using the snot out of them. They are beautifully machined and knurled, and the points are quite sharp, leaving a crisp scratch line behind. Oh, and they are made in stainless steel, a nice bonus for my damp basement workshop.

They are only $26.50 (yes, that’s the price for a pair).

The trammels are outstanding for high-tolerance work. My only wish (and it’s one that Megan noted in her review of the trammels) is that they offered a point that was a lead holder for marking out rougher layouts. But that’s a quibble.

If you don’t have trammels, it’s time to fix that.

— Christopher Schwarz

For Day 1 of this year’s gift guide, click here.
Day 2 is here.
Day 3 is here.
Day 4 is here.
For my gift guides from 2013 and 2014, click here.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Ed Furlong


    Thanks for this suggestion! I have both Starrett and old Stanley Trammel points and was looking for a small useful tool for a woodworking friend and this struck me as the perfect gift! And they’re Canadian (as am I).

  • St.J

    The Veritas beam compass heads can take a pencil. Very simple micro-adjustability: the points are offset so you simply rotate them. Worth a look.

  • jwaldron

    Sharp? Okay, if you say so, I’ll believe you. But from the photo it looks like they have a pretty broad angled tip. That limits the depth and width of the scribed mark . With my bleary old eyes, I prefer a sharper angle at the tip for a bolder (easier for an old fogey to see) arc. And mine have HSS tips that hold a sharp tip for a long time.
    I keep ’em without rust in my garage shop in Florida (with a little care once in a while).
    Stainless doesn’t stay sharp for long, even with a broad tip angle. I have a stainless marline spike I use on my boat – and occasionally in the shop – with a 90 degree tip angle. I’ve had to sharpen it a lot and even when freshly honed, the thing won’t scribe a decent line I can see.

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