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Tool: Compass Guides Buy Now

Manufacturer: Walke Moore

MSRP: $33-$90

Designed as solid anchor points for placing compasses and dividers on the edges and corners of boards to mark curves, two of these Compass Guides from Walke Moore Tools allow you to make perfect circles or arcs anywhere on projects without fumbling to align a compass leg. (The round center guide is handy for marking curves on a face, without leaving a deep prick mark.)

The question is, do you need them? Truthfully, you can get by without them, but in some sense that’s like saying you can get by without a hammer if you have a heavy rock nearby. They’re the right tool for the job and they bring a functional precision to common layout tasks far surpassing the ad-hoc solutions most of us employ.

I found myself reaching for the edge and corner guides as answers to the problems I encounter most often in the workshop. Rather than accepting the inaccuracy of trying to get the point of a compass as close to an edge or corner as possible, with these two guides I can get right up on the corner or edge with accurate and repeatable results, laying out everything from Gothic arches to octagonal chair legs.

The machined alignment points are easy to see and precise, and while the guides are lighter than I expected, they’re also backed with sandpaper which does a good job of keeping them in place while in use.

They are not an essential tool, but they’re an elegant solution for marking with a compass from edges and corners (and on a surface without leaving a deep pin mark), so they’re nice to have at hand. The guides are available individually for $33 or as a set of three for $90.

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