WorkMonk

Lee Valley trammel-something - can you ID?

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A friend gave this to me 6 years ago, said it was from Lee Valley, but I don't know what it is... 

At first I thought it was a beam compass with trammel points, because of the two slide-able spring-loaded pointy bits and the nice aluminium extrusion beam. But the trammel holders are mounted at 45-degrees on a rib coming off the main extrusion, and there's a hollow brass pivot or attachment point which is off-center from the trammels. There's also a spring-loaded round-hole clamp near the brass pivot, with a brass knurled activator knob. 

It's a puzzler for sure. Any clues appreciated!

 

 

tool02.JPG

tool03.JPG

tool01.JPG

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Looks like a beam compass.  I think that fixture off to the right in your last pic should hold a pencil.

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Would asking Lee Valley be out of the question?  They're just a phone call, or email away.

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The 'pencil holder' won't fit any standard pencil, but will grab a fat-bodied marker, like a Sharpie. 

It might actually be a some sort of special beam compass, maybe there's some missing parts.

Asking Lee Valley is a really good idea! I'm going to take it in with me whenever the lockdown here in Ontario lifts...

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20 minutes ago, Mark J said:

Just send them a picture.

Aw, come on, that would be to easy.

  • Haha 1

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More information! After fishing around in the barn we found the base for the bar. It's a Veritas tool called "Multi-curve".  It is very nicely made, and the donor included a base plate made of melamine. But I still don't know what it's supposed to do!  Maybe the Lee Valley guys will remember something about it... 

 

tool05.JPG

tool04.JPG

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Well, searching those terms only hits in body armor. Is it possible that sold so long ago that it was pre-internet?

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Looking at the latest pictures it looks like it draws/scribes two "parallel" arcs.  i.e. The arcs have different radiuses, but the same center.

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Nice mark out an arc or circle to make a plywood ring. ID and OD in one pass. I don't get the second post that fits the notch in the trammel bar, though. Why does the trammel need a stop?

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38 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

Nice mark out an arc or circle to make a plywood ring. ID and OD in one pass. I don't get the second post that fits the notch in the trammel bar, though. Why does the trammel need a stop?

That’s what made me search veneer products also. The base makes me think repeatable processes, not one off. 

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I do think this tool is from the pre-internet-everything era.

Maybe it was for some sort of inscribing of arcs, but it seems a bit overwrought for such a simple task - why not just use a regular beam compass with multiple trammels? Also the pivot is so heavy duty, and it's bolted down to a plate, and there's the business of the stop - why would you need a stop? It limits the arm travel to about 350-degrees. 

I'm thinking maybe it was supposed to move material through a bandsaw blade on a repeatable partial curve, and the little pins (which are spring loaded) are there to secure the work during movement. 

Lee Valley says '5-6 business days before we can respond to new emails'. 

 

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I think I have it figured out. Thanks to everyone who had a suggestion.

The two points are not scribes, they are pivots. The idea is to line up your work, pin down the pivot point, and the curve you want to cut will be kept tangential to the blade. You push the work through the blade and it will rotate about the pivot point. 

There are two points so you can smoothly cut two successive tangential curves in the same workpiece in a single operation, e.g. an S-shape. 

The pivoting arm is there to let you set up your work before putting it up to the blade, and the stop is of course there to prevent the arm from accidentally encountering the blade. 

Lee Valley abandoned the tool after a short production run because the pivot points are too small (weak) to hold thicker workpieces reliably and there's no easy way to fix this short of redesigning the trammel points and their holders. But I think it'll work great for thinner stock. 

<ahem> If anyone is interested in acquiring this tool, well, let's talk!

--WorkMonk

 

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Now that we know what it is there is a modest interest in trying in out, at least to cut some circles, and maybe a compound curve or two. If/when that happens we'll definitely video the event and post it for your viewing pleasure :-)

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1 hour ago, WorkMonk said:

That never occurred to me - I just wrote to their customer service email account. So Rob Lee takes email directly from guys like us?

Yes.  Send him a PM from here, and he will probably get a notification.

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1 hour ago, Tom King said:

Yes.  Send him a PM from here, and he will probably get a notification.

Thanks! That's really good of him to be available like that. I'll keep that in mind for the next mystery tool that comes my way.

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