A while back Christopher Schwarz asked if I could make a batch of the Studley Calipers for Lost Art Press, it took me a while to get going on it with all the commotion at work but I finished them up this week.
I blogged about this before, I started with a picture and scaled it in SolidWorks, then essentially used that image as a guide to model the shape of the reproduction. Visually it appears to be identical to the original, but of course I’ve never held the original in my hand. Now if someone could just ship the whole Studley chest to me… The original appeared to be stamped steel that was chrome or nickel plated, I made these in brass.
Machining the body of the caliper is pretty straightforward. The real work was in the details. Once the parts were machined they had to be cut free from the blank, the little retaining tabs sanded flush, the holes de-burred and re-tapped, and the faces hand sanded with 600, 1000 and 1500 grit sandpaper to make sure they look nice. Then the real fussy work started.
Because of the small size of these, off-the shelf hardware is too big. The pivots are small binding posts with #8-32 threads. Both sides of the pivot and the base of the thumbscrew needed to be machined for clearance. And of course clamping tiny brass screws in a collet tends to distort the threads, so I had to run a die over all the threads to clean them up. Luckily Kolya was a willing participant.
Once all of the fasteners were machined, re-threaded and everything cleaned we turned up the music in the shop and assembled them. If you want one the only way to get one is to attend the Handworks conference in Amana, Iowa on May 24-25 and buy one from Lost Art Press. I’m planning to attend, hope to see you there!