Tools that inspire

Note how the mechanism clamps to the beam via a wear plate

Note how the mechanism clamps to the beam via a wear plate

I’m a tool user – not a tool collector. However, I do have a soft spot for antique dividers and drawing tools. When some old buzzard moans,  ” They don’t make em like they used to”  it’s hard to find a better example than vintage drafting tools. Today I picked up these late 19th century German Silver trammel points. The detail is amazing.  Like many of these tools the craft of making them grew out of instrument making, so there’s a lot of crossover with watchmaking, surveyor, and navigation tools. Note how they clamp on the beam and DSCN3693have a wear plate to grip without marring the wood. I also like the design in the turnings. I can almost imagine that pattern in a table leg. Anyone have experience polishing German Silver?


George R. Walker


About walkerg

Woodworker and writer
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4 Responses to Tools that inspire

  1. prostheta says:

    “German Silver” is used for guitar frets and more commonly called Nickel Silver. A buffing wheel with blizzard polish or other light buffing cream will do the trick. Even toothpaste. Nickel Silver is soft (and contains no silver) so i am surprised to hear that this is what they are made from.

    • walkerg says:

      Thanks for the polishing tips. I don’t usually fuss over the finish on my tools, but these trammels must have really sparkled when new. I may buff them up and see how they look.


  2. Sylvain says:

    The pencil side seems to have a fine radius ajustment mecanism.

    • walkerg says:

      That was one of the things that caught my eye also. Quite a lot packed into these simple tools. The pencil tip can also be interchanged with an inking tip. Most of the better drafting tools have that feature.


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