How & Why Our Curves Are Different
Posted on 31 October 2017
If you own a set of inexpensive plastic French curves, you’re probably wondering why the heck we would offer wooden curves at a significantly higher price. You can get a decent set of plastic curves for about $16 to $20; a set of our Design Curves is $37.It’s not that we dislike plastic. If we could find a material that was better than the specialty bamboo plywood, we’d use it.
The second big difference between our curves and typical plastic curves is the small rabbet found on plastic curves. This rabbet is handy when you are inking a mechanical drawing. It prevents the ink from smearing your work.
Instead, we prefer the unfinished bamboo because it offers the right amount of friction when you are working on paper or directly on a wooden workpiece. For years I cursed my plastic curves because they would slide as I traced around their edges. Our curves stay in place using only light finger pressure.
Finally, we also appreciate how bamboo is an infinitely renewable resource (sometimes annoyingly so) compared to petroleum-based plastics.
But in the shop, the rabbet is a nuisance animal. Because of parallax, the rabbet makes it quite difficult to draw an accurate curve. Take the rabbet away, and all you have to do is tilt your mechanical pencil slightly to draw an exact curve exactly where you intended. You might not even know you are struggling with this problem until it disappears.
— Christopher Schwarz