Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
Boxwood Four-Fold Rule Repair

William Duffield
Has anyone successfully straightened an old boxwood four-fold rule? What is the best way to go about this?

Last week, I picked up a Stanley Works number 66 1/2 A, (three feet, four fold, bold numbers, 1923~1933) whose boxwood parts are warped. Because of its condition, it was inexpensive enough I can experiment on it, and if I can straighten it, it will meet my specialized needs. It lays flat, but the ends won't meet because the wood curves away from the rule joint, in the wide direction (technically, a "crook" http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/Wood_warping.png). Obviously, over many years, the outside edges have shrunk more than the inside edges. All four sticks have about the same amount of crook. When fully closed, the hinges are about 3/16" apart. When half opened (V-shape) the tips are about 5/8" apart. As expected, there is a lot less patina on the inside faces and edges.

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