Two Additional Tip Shapes for Dividers

Posted on 29 October 2017

Tips for Scribing and Cutting from Christopher Schwarz on Vimeo.


In addition to the standard scribing tip, you can easily file the tips of your dividers to excel at particular tasks. In the video, Raney shows two tip shapes we think you’ll find useful. Note that these tips are applied to only one leg of the dividers.

  1. Pivot tip. This tip is the same bluntish shape as your centerpunch. With this tip, you can first punch in the center of an arc with your centerpunch, then drop the pivot tip in the depression. The dividers will pivot smoothly and accurately around the depression with little danger of the tip jumping out of the hole.
  2. Knife tip. This tip is shaped like a spear-point knife. It is used (usually in conjunction with the pivot tip), to cut an arc in veneer or to create the wall of a recess (usually for inlay).
In addition to the two tip shapes, Raney also shows a down-and-dirty way to harden the tips so the points will be more durable.


As always, be safe. Don’t use a torch without your steel-tipped shoes.

After hardening the tips with your torch (and quenching), the tips need to be tempered. To temper, you can disassemble the dividers and soak the hardened leg in any oven at 325°-350° (F) for about 20 minutes.

Or, as shown in the video, you can temper with a torch. First clean the tip so it's shiny with an abrasive. With the torch, apply heat to the leg at least 1/2” back from the tip. Let the heat extend up the leg until the first tempering color (a light straw) just reaches the tip, then quench again.

— Christopher Schwarz

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  • Yancey Holmes: October 31, 2017

    Great video and description of the process. Thanks for making great tools and education. I really like my set of dividers. I suppose I need another set to sharpen now. Hey! I see what’s going on here! ?

  • Richg: October 30, 2017

    thank you for explaining the process. It is a great tool.

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