Navigational Quadrant use in the 1400's

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Project by tallshipsailor posted 09-12-2014 03:07 PM 2385 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Navigational Quadrant use in the 1400's
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A year ago I bought a book on how to make 18 traditional navigational tools. I chose 3 of them; the Quadrant, Cross Staff, and the BackStaff. Here is the quadrant, used by sailors as early as the 1400, but much earlier by astronomers and land surveyors.
The main body is of purple hart trimmed with sapelli.
When ever I make things of this nature, I always set up a system of fabrication along with jigs, patterns, and material lists, and usually make 2-4 items at a time. With this project I made 2 of each instruments along with a case that stored all three.

8 comments so far

View Blackbear's profile


137 posts in 3025 days

#1 posted 09-12-2014 06:12 PM

Those are pretty nice. Did you do the brass engravings too? I wouldn’t know how to use one. It looks like you peep through the holes but then what?

View shipwright's profile


8570 posts in 3604 days

#2 posted 09-12-2014 09:02 PM

Nice instruments. Have you built the chronometer to go with the quadrant?

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View tallshipsailor's profile


28 posts in 2583 days

#3 posted 09-13-2014 07:50 PM

Black Bear, yes, you eye the celestial body through the two holes and the pendent will line up with the angle off the horizon. With this angle, you can do your reductions and calculations to determine your latitude.

In the 1400’s, or there about, sailors would put parks on the quadrant for specific ports. they’d then sail out parallel to the equator, then sail ether north or south till the quadrant pendant lay across that mark, then they’d head parallel again and run smack dab into that port.

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3810 days

#4 posted 09-14-2014 01:45 AM

I saw a television program on this a few years ago, the story was amazing of hos these were used. You did a wonderful job on these. I bet you could sell them quickly

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View MilFlyer's profile


946 posts in 2478 days

#5 posted 09-14-2014 01:48 PM

Beautiful pieces. Mind if I ask the name of the book you picked up? We used to do celestial nab in the B-52 and some of those old nab items stir the emotions of old buff guys.

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

View tallshipsailor's profile


28 posts in 2583 days

#6 posted 09-14-2014 04:44 PM

Hi Richard, the book is called; Latitude Hooks and Azimuth Rings ( how to build and use 18 traditional navigational tools) by Dennis Fisher

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4400 days

#7 posted 09-16-2014 06:32 PM

Neat, very cool tool

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3098 days

#8 posted 01-22-2015 04:01 PM

Another great post—sorry I missed it the first time around.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

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