These clever stainless steel trammel points (for scribing large arcs and circles) from Veritas work a little differently than my vintage set, which fit only on a fixed-sized beam. The narrow-bodied heads are open on one side, and can thus be attached to any flat piece of material up to 1⁄4″ in thickness – so, a yardstick, wood or metal rule, or any thin offcut in the scrap bin. Caveat: When attached to a metal rule, the head slips unless you crank the screw down hard – but the nicely knurled grip allows for a good hold to do so.
Also unlike my vintage pair, which has needle-like points, the tips on these trammel points are for the most part rounded, with a small, sharp point at only the very bottom. I’ll be interested to see how long that holds up under use, but so far, I’ve had no trouble scribing a clean arc on any of the five domestic hardwoods I’ve tried (nor on Eastern white pine). Lee Valley marketing states the tool effectively scribes on aluminum, brass, bronze and mild steel, as well as wood, though I’ve not tried them on said materials.
The tips are removable, so the heads can double as stops on a square – without risk of puncture – or what have you for marking repetitive angles (which might come in handy if I end up having to cut stringers as I rebuild part of a staircase).
My only complaint – if you can really call it a complaint – is that at the moment, no pencil attachment is available (though I’ve asked the designers at Veritas about it). How sweet would it be to have the option of screwing a graphite point into one of the heads to mark a pencil line?
Web site: leevalley.com
Video: See the Veritas trammel points in action on our web site.
From the October 2015 issue