how to use a french curve in woodworking

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Within the proto-CAD (Pc-Aided Design) world, draftsmen and draftswomen needed to depend on a set of curvy templates once they wanted to attach two or extra factors by way of a swish arc or curve. In locations the place a easy arc, drawn with a compass, couldn’t make the minimize the designer would have pulled out the curvy templates and attempt to discover one curve among the many many that may enable for a sublime sweep to attach level A to B.

French Curves have their apparent place in woodworking too. From serving to within the scale drawing of the piece’s curves on the drafting board to the full-scale structure of the elements on the inventory. Though some woodworkers have huge printers that may produce full-scale drawings that one can minimize and switch to the wooden, most of us nonetheless want to tug out a pencil, a ruler, a compass, and a French curve template to do the job appropriately .

Studying: the best way to use a french curve in woodworking

In the previous few years, two nice French curve units have debuted available on the market. These instruments, one made by Lee Valley and the opposite by Crucible Instruments, an offshoot of Misplaced Artwork Press, had confirmed to be a superb resolution for our curvy wants.

The Lee Valley plywood French Curves are colossal. In reality, I’ve by no means seen such formidable profession curves all through my total design. Their dimension is definitely their huge benefit as you possibly can depend on them to attract these Queen, Chippendale, and the remainder of the basic canon straight in your mahogany or plywood medium. Simply seize a curve and attempt to discover a sublime candy sweep to attach the design landmarks.


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Within the above image, you possibly can see the Veritas set that we purchased for our woodworking program. We use the behemoth template to setup curves on all types of tasks however the one that’s largely in demand is drawing an ellipse for our stools’ seats. Educating the strategy of drawing an ellipse with a string tied between nails is enjoyable and sensible however when brief in time I desire to indicate the scholars the curves and clarify the best way to use them.

First, we draw the ellipse’s lengthy axis, then we intersect it with the ellipse’s brief axis.

20201215 133452We then search for an acceptable curve to attract the ellipse’ quadrant. When on the lookout for the correct curve intention for a curvature that turns into tangent to the rectangle that frames the ellipse. In different phrases, every of the quadrants must stream easily because it connects to its neighbor.

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As soon as you discover corresponding to curve be certain that to demarcate it. Many use pencil tick marks on the curve’s begin and endpoint however I desire utilizing masking tape which I fold over to the opposite facet of the template. I achieve this to avoid wasting myself the effort of erasing the pencil strains in a while.

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20201215 133947The masking tape method can also be very helpful when you flip the template over to attract the mirror quadrant. To make it clearer – which of the masking tape edges mark the terminus of the curve – you possibly can minimize and affix small masking tape triangles or simply use a sharpie and denote the related fringe of the masking tape.

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After the 4 quadrants had been drawn, we peel off the masking tape and tuck the templates for future use. My final piece of recommendation: The Lee Valley templates come unfinished so I might advocate ending them with some form of protecting oil or varnish.

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