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Thread: Lofting Tool Mystery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    La Conner, WA
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    527

    Default Lofting Tool Mystery

    I was able to purchase my first chest of tools from Lloyd Johnson, a legendary Loftsman at Puget Sound boatyards. He and his brother lofted the only Battleship built on Puget Sound, the Nebraska in 1902.
    Among the treasures in the chest were some shop made brass tools that I cannot figure out what they were used for.
    Loft Tool 1 copy.jpg
    The above shows it overall, and you can see the two pivoting arms, that have degree lines scribed.
    Loft Tool 2 copy.jpg
    This picture shows the right side arm set at 0 degrees to the riveted straight bar, and the left arm matched up
    Loft Tool 3 copy.JPG
    This picture shows the larger left arm set at 20 degrees, and the smaller right arm just touching for some kind of reading?
    Loft Tool 4 copy.JPG
    Same setting on the tool, I was having a lot of trouble trying to eliminate glare.

    I have one more mystery tool to get pictures, and then some self reading bevel gauges.

    anybody have an idea what this tool was for? The best I can come up with is that is was for expanding or rolling plate steel for the battleship?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lindstrom, MN
    Posts
    3,143

    Default Re: Lofting Tool Mystery

    It looks like some kind of bevel gauge. Possibly for setting a table saw blade. Perhaps the small arm is used for setting obtuse angles and swings out of the way for acute angles?

    Far be it from me to incite thread drift, but while looking for a similar tool, I found an interesting common angle bevel gauge and a potentially useful Compound Angle Calculator for anyone who was ever frustrated by a frustum.
    Last edited by MN Dave; 10-16-2018 at 06:51 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Walney, near Cumbria UK
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    59,314

    Default Re: Lofting Tool Mystery

    My best guess is for a bevel gauge for lifting the bevels for the frames.
    The hull will have n=been riveted in 1902.

    https://chestofbooks.com/crafts/mech...ding-Slab.html

    The big spanners were for opening the angle of the frame angle to the bevel lifted from the scrieve board.
    The rivets were driven through the angle and plate
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    La Conner, WA
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    527

    Default Re: Lofting Tool Mystery

    Thanks guys, don't think we solved it, but it makes a nice 'Whatsit"
    Here is another shop made self reading bevel gauge
    Self Reading Bevel copy.JPG

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    9,741

    Default Re: Lofting Tool Mystery

    Usually during building bevels are rarely translated into degrees, there's simply no need. Frame bevels in the loft might be one of those times when the number is needed, as Nick has mentioned. For timber patterns for parts going to be sawn with a shipsaw there would be a need to pick up the bevels from the lofting and translate them into degrees to note on the pattern, so the sawyers helper could then wind the saw to the corresponding angles during the cut.

    Pure speculation, of course, but there had to be various methods of doing this needed task, this might be one.

    Jim

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Walney, near Cumbria UK
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    Default Re: Lofting Tool Mystery

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    Usually during building bevels are rarely translated into degrees, there's simply no need. Frame bevels in the loft might be one of those times when the number is needed, as Nick has mentioned. For timber patterns for parts going to be sawn with a shipsaw there would be a need to pick up the bevels from the lofting and translate them into degrees to note on the pattern, so the sawyers helper could then wind the saw to the corresponding angles during the cut.

    Pure speculation, of course, but there had to be various methods of doing this needed task, this might be one.

    Jim
    Donlt forget. These guys were bending red hot steel to achieve the bevel, so a metal bevel gauge would be needed.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    La Conner, WA
    Posts
    527

    Default Re: Lofting Tool Mystery

    Actually, I think the self reading bevel gauge was used mostly for carvel planking. It saved the step of transferring the angle from your standard bevel gauge to your bevel board (which of course was made from your Master Bevel Board).
    Additionally, many of the shops in the NW had one of the Tilting Arbor Shapers, which allowed perfect shutter planks to be made every time, any plank. These shapers were similiar to a Shipsaw, with a visible gauge having a pointer giving the degree of tilt, and had a hand wheel to tilt the cutter head. Guards were a bit tough to make for this beast.
    But the real magic lay in that the lower tip of the shaper knife was 3/4” above the table as it spins around, and there was a 1/2” tall collar fastened to the table which was the same radius as the cutter knives. The center of the tilt axis is exactly at that point, so we nailed a 3/4” square batten to our spiled plank shape and rough bandsawed it, then flipped it over and one man pushed the plank into th cutter head, keeping the batten against the collar, while a second Man cranked the bevels that had been picked up. So the tilting did not eat into the batten, thus decreasing the real width of the plank.
    The plank was the banged into the opening with a wooden mallet just enough to check that all was fine, then removed and the caulking bevel added. Then it was hung for good.
    I am lucky enough to own one of thes amazing machines, and when my shop finally goes up,this winter, it will see the light of day after 15 years in a semi trailer.

    Sigh...I love wooden boatbuilding.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, Ca
    Posts
    35,345

    Default Re: Lofting Tool Mystery

    The brass tools above could work to set your "standard" bevel gauge to a known or given angle.

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