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Anybody know what this tool is called?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Willicious, Nov 9, 2016.

  1. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    Doesn't appear to be homemade, and my Googling has turned up nothing... :eyebrow:

  2. Jonny5bass

    Jonny5bass Supporting Member

    May 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Looks useful, where did you see it?
  3. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    This Fender video, for their (then) upcoming retool of the AV line.
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    So it's basically a pen mounted on the diagonal in a block for accurate contour tracing?
    allenhumble likes this.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I bet that guy had a machinist buddy make it for him. A good machinist can make you just about anything out of metal. In fact, if it is a Fender designer, he may have had somebody in the Fender shop make it for him.
  6. jchrisk1


    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    I agree that someone made it for him. Just a fancy, yet practical, scribing tool.
    Roberto Nunez and Willicious like this.
  7. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    Yup. Contour tracer. I've made a few of these over the years from a block of hardwood with a 45 degree hole drilled across the corners to loosely slip a #2 pencil through.
    DrummerwStrings and Willicious like this.
  8. tzohn

    tzohn Guest

    Apr 26, 2015
    Just made one...

  9. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    The end face of your design is wider than the roller; that won't work because the point of the pencil is pulled way from the point of contact as you trace the concave portions of your design.
    It's quite simple to just angle the front nose inward to create a delineated contact point, no roller necessary and takes about 5 minutes to make the real deal.
    I use a scrap of maple, but the one in the original photo looks like a scrap of ebony. I wouldn't want to drag anything made of metal over a finished painted surface, but that's just me.
    allenhumble and bdplaid like this.
  10. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Yep, a handy tool for the Luthier's bench. I made this one about 23 or so years ago, and it's served me well. A block of maple and a 0.5mm mechanical pencil. The trick to making it is to first drill the hole for the pencil, make the saw slot, and the holes for the screw or bolt to do the clamping. In this case, I used a 6-32 socket head machine screw and a recessed nut on the back side. Get all that done first on the rough maple block. Then, see where the point of the pencil comes out, and trim the bottom and the front nose so that they intersect right at the pencil point. Obviously, the front nose face and base surface need to be square with each other. The front nose shape on this one is about 3/4" radius.

    Using a mechanical pencil with a top button click makes it easier. No need to readjust it when the lead wears, just click it.

    IMG_4643B. IMG_4644B.
  11. tzohn

    tzohn Guest

    Apr 26, 2015
    Problem solved, pencil-roller offset now is 0.1mm. The roller is there because neither do I like to drag anything over painted surface.
    Personally I wouldn't make anything more complicated than just holding a pencil with my hand.

    JIO and Willicious like this.
  12. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I am definitely going to have to make one of those.

    @Bruce Johnson I am stealing your design.
  13. DukeCC


    Nov 4, 2016
    Looks like a whammy bar to me--for the unfamiliar, it's a tool that turns hack guitarists into gods.

    Very useful.

    Wait--which one did you mean?

  14. Those are called wedding rings, my wife uses mine to keep my bass buying in check.
    DerekW, Brio, TrevorOfDoom and 17 others like this.
  15. d-dave


    Oct 22, 2015
    Pikeville, KY
    rojo412 likes this.
  16. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yours must be broken! I got LOTS more bass gear after I got mine! :D
  17. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    Thanks for all the replies, everyone, as well as the photos and CAD (!). Looks like I'll be making my own, most likely patterned after Bruce's design.

    I think the closer you can angle the pencil to vertical (within reason), the better. :thumbsup:
    tzohn likes this.
  18. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Yes, you should lay it out with the angle of the pencil tilted just enough to clear itself. That is, the front radiused nose of the block needs to make a straight line to the point, without the body of the pencil interfering.

    You all may feel free to copy the design of mine. I certainly don't own any rights to it. It's been a while, but I think I saw a picture of one somewhere, got the basic concept, and refined it a bit. Bonus points if you make the base from a scrap of interesting figured wood.
  19. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    NW Mass/SW VT
    I could not find pictures at the time, but I did find a patent drawing when trying to describe this in Samantha's hamster-wheel thread:

    The hamster wheel of my brain.

    A pointier end like the one in the first picture would be closer to what my armor-making friend used (as opposed to the broader radius shown in Bruce's picture) but it would depend what you are working on. A pointer end can trace tighter curves in whatever it is you are tracing.

    If is often beneficial for the reference edge to be tall (as opposed to the rather short green CAD object) and the "roller" if, one was using a roller like that, would likewise want to be long/tall - In actual practice a wooden version has never marked up anything from what I saw.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016
  20. bengreen


    Jan 26, 2016
    San Diego
    Thank you. Been copying bow heads and cambers forever trying to tilt pencils "just so" with just so-so results. Never imagined such a simple, elegant solution.

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