Reclaimed Wood John Heisz' Compact Compass

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Project by bch posted 12-01-2015 03:06 AM 3825 views 5 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While working on another shop project I needed to draw an arc. I found that my drafting style compass was about 3/4” too small to make the arc needed. I remembered that John Heisz had put up a nice compass design and so I decided to make one based on his design.

We had a snow sled for infants like the one pictured that my children had long since outgrown. It was broken in one spot so I could not donate it. So I disassembled it and kept the wood slats. The slats were already the right thickness so I used this reclaimed wood for the project, expecting it to just be some junk pine or some other cheap Chinese weed tree. To my surprise after planing the finish off I found that it had great figure and appears to be flame maple (also known as tiger maple, curly maple and ripple maple). Wow! Whatever finish they had applied completely obscured this figure. I was worried when I applied finish it would again disappear but it did not. I used boiled linseed oil (BLO) and then paste wax, and I found that the finish made the figure come out even more as would generally be expected. The grain really ‘pops’ in person as you rotate it under the light but unfortunately is less impressive in the photographs. And I thought I was using ‘junk’ wood! It came out gorgeous and I am excited to see if the other pieces have the same grain.

John’s design works so much better than the drafting style that I will retire the drafting compass. I recommend you make one for yourself as well. Thanks for sharing, John Heisz.

-- --bch

2 comments so far

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1039 posts in 3285 days

#1 posted 12-01-2015 03:35 AM

Beautiful, useful and heirloom. Good job.

-- socrbent Ohio

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7920 posts in 3424 days

#2 posted 12-02-2015 03:18 AM

Thanks for the post, great tip. I have all day in the shop tomorrow so I will add this to my list of items I want to make. Currently working on a beam compass.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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