A house divided

So, back in the early 1860s, Abraham Lincoln was able to see that gosh, there was something bad about to go down.


And, he was right, what with the American Civil War which took place from 1861 – 1865.

But, I’m sure if he was talking about a workshop, he might be saying something along the lines of a shop without a pair of dividers is really not a great place to get any work done.

Why not?


Well, these babies have been an indispensable part of a craftsman’s tool kit for centuries. As you can see from this plate from woodworker Thomas Martin from 1813, a pair of dividers is a critical piece of layout equipment.

Dime StoreIf that’s the case, why have I been relying on something like this?  I have bought my share of plastic dividers at the back to school sales for years, and those suckers would break, wouldn’t hold worth a darn and were just difficult to work with.


I tried to upgrade mine by going with these I picked up at an office supply store. They were better, but the non-marking leg has a point that is adjustable, which means that it’s bound to slip into the leg when you need it to sit firmly on the piece you are measuring. The other problem is that the marking leg is a small piece of graphite which fits into a channel on the leg – difficult to find a replacement for.


So, with these wedding projects coming up that require dividers to do some accurate layout, I sprung for a pair of these. They weren’t all that expensive, coming from Grizzly Tools, but they are solid. Both legs are pointed, which means I can use them with or without a pencil. They lock down solidly, and they are heavy-duty, a real handful.


What can you do with dividers? Well, there is the obvious – you can trace out arcs and circles.

But, how about stepping off evenly-spaced measurements across the face of a board? Stepping off measurements for dovetails?Bisecting an angle? 


Doing all of this without math? Sign me up!

Now that I have my new set of dividers, I have chucked my old sets, degreased the new ones and wiped on a good coat of paste wax to keep rust at bay.

Now, to take them for a spin to see what they can do!

2 thoughts on “A house divided”

  1. How are you liking your dividers?

    I use mine all the time to lay out evenly spaced screw patterns and other tasks where things of oddball dimensions need even spacing.

    TaDa Man.

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