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The ellipsograph used in "The Woodwright's Shop"

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  • The ellipsograph used in "The Woodwright's Shop"



    This was a special tool we made for the Anthony Hay cabinet shop in Williamsburg. They were reproducing an old toolchest with large oval inlays. They also wanted this tool to use as a demonstration for an upcoming woodworking forum in Williamsburg a few years ago.

    It was also seen in a presentation of "The Woodwright's Shop" on T.V.. Marc Hansen and Ed Wright,two of my journeymen were demonstrating how they were doing the inlay work inside the toolchest.

    I also made a sharp swivel knife that can be used in place of the pencil for cutting out paper patterns.

    I made the knurls that were used on the various knobs. They were made by running concave knurl blanks against a rotating tap in a lathe. Just normal taps for cutting threads.

    The base is mahogany. The length of the mahogany bars is about 6".

    By adjusting the knobs where the 1/4" square brass rod goes through their blocks,ellipses of different shapes and sizes can be generated.
    Last edited by gwilson; 08-10-2011, 02:45 PM.

  • #2


    Another view of the ellipsograph. The brass blocks slide quite smoothly in the T slots.

    Underneath the mahogany base are 2 very small,sharp pin points to keep the device from skidding around as it is used.

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    • #3


      A view of the swivel knife attachment. The rod just fits through the hole that the pencil normally uses. This also shows the old fashioned knurls that were made using taps.

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      • #4
        That's beautiful.

        How's the brass attached to the mahogany?
        ----
        Proud machining permanoob since September 2010

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        • #5
          They have flat head screws silver soldered underneath the brass pieces. These screws go into drilled holes filled with glue. Doing it this way prevents the inevitable reappearance of the heads of screws put in through the top and filed flush when the wood slightly responds to humidity changes.

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          • #6
            brilliant work!

            and here's a coincidence for you.. I just watched that episode a few
            days ago! Here's the link:

            http://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/video/2800/2810.html

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            • #7
              It was on here last night,too.

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              • #8
                G

                Those knurls are great. They sure add a touch of class.
                One of these days I'll try to make some.

                Thanks for sharing your work, it's inspiring.

                Hal

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                • #9
                  Old Fashioned Knurls

                  GW, can you describe how the old-fashioned knurls are made with a tap? Thx.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gwilson
                    They have flat head screws silver soldered underneath the brass pieces. These screws go into drilled holes filled with glue. Doing it this way prevents the inevitable reappearance of the heads of screws put in through the top and filed flush when the wood slightly responds to humidity changes.
                    Silver soldering screwheads and then glueing in the threads? Nifty doublehack! Never would of thought of that.
                    Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                    • #11
                      Beautiful piece of work!!

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                      • #12
                        I did a pretty thorough posting of making knurls on the Practical Machinist forum several months ago. You could go there and do a search. Lots of pictures of the process.

                        If anyone wants to paste it here,that's fine. I don't know how to do that.

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                        • #13
                          Is this the one?

                          http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb...ctures-212670/

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                          • #14
                            Yes,I believe so. Thought it had more pictures,but those are enough. Plus the lengthy explanations. I've had a few guys make their own knurls from reading that post.

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                            • #15
                              Beautiful workmanship, G.W.! I love how you made the knerls with the tap. A tap and overcome!
                              I cut it twice, and it's still too short!
                              Scott

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