I’ve been wanting to make a sector for a few years, ever since I read Jim Tolpin’s article “Secrets of the Sector” in the June 2011 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine.  What exactly does a sector do for you?  Well, back in 2011, Chris Schwarz posted a great video that answers that question better than I can.

A couple of months ago, I took a few hours to try making a sector again.  I’ve tried a couple of times, but I  had issues with the wood I used warping when I sawed them out because of tension in the boards.  This time, I used a piece of 1 1/2″ square red oak and used my frame saw to cut the two legs from the same piece.  Doing it this way, I had very little movement in the pieces.  To hinge the pieces, I made a rounded bridal joint with a wooden hinge pin.  All in all, it was a good test.  I’m still trying to get the graduated lines set up just right to get consistent results.  I’m not really happy with the red oak for the tool because the grain is so large.  I’d like a more fine grained wood for this purpose.

A couple of weeks later, I was in Dayton, Ohio for work and decided to visit one of my favorite antique stores.  The store had added a restoration and reclaimed building materials section since the last time I had been there, and I thought I would poke around a little.  I found some hardwood 2″ x 4″s around 3′ feet long.  They were quarter-sawn (the growth rings ran from wide face to wide face of the billets) and were only about $2.50 each.  I had been thinking that when I made another sector, I wanted to use quarter-sawn material because it expands and contracts mostly along the thickness of the piece instead of the width.

A couple of days after I brought them home, I decide to start milling up the boards and this is what I found. . .


It ends up that these boards are quarter-sawn beech.  This is the type of wood that is preferred for making wooden hand planes.  This type of lumber usually costs around three times more than I paid for it.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts, that I would like to make a set of moulding planes for creating mouldings and other profiles on furniture.  I now have the material for a few planes.  In fact, the next weekend, I went back to Dayton and bought five or six more of these billets.


Over the past few weeks, I’ve been rewatching Larry Williams’ DVD on making moulding planes, Making Traditional Side Escapement Planes and buying and making tools I will need to make a few planes.

In future posts, I’ll show you some of these tools and fixtures.

Until next time . . .

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