For some woodworkers – particularly chairmakers – a small sliding bevel that locks tightly is an essential tool. Most inexpensive sliding bevels can be knocked off their settings with little effort, and the results can be a disaster. Because sliding bevels guide most of the joinery in a chair, being off by 1° or 2° can ruin a workpiece.
The Crucible Sliding Bevel is designed to lock the blade so firmly that it requires throwing the tool across the room to change its setting. The patent-pending locking mechanism is an adaptation of the hinge we use in our Type 2 Dividers, and it is tightened and loosened with a straight-blade screwdriver.
But the Crucible bevel does more than just lock tight. Machinist Craig Jackson devised a way to allow you to independently control the rotation of the blade and the sliding of the blade.
The screw up by the blade controls the rotation of the blade. It works like the adjustment mechanism on any sliding bevel. You can use it to lock the blade, loosen the blade or set the tool’s tension so the blade rotates but only with some effort.
The second screw near the end of the handle adjusts how the tool’s blade slides in its slot. You can use these two screws to control separately the rotation and the sliding of the blade. That means you can:
- Lock the rotation of the blade and then slide the blade to a different position in the body of the tool.
- Lock the blade so it won’t slide, but it will rotate.
The locking mechanism is controlled by loosening and tightening two slotted screws. We got the idea from early sliding bevels in our collection that are adjusted and locked this way. While some woodworkers might prefer thumbscrews, we decided to use Chicago screws because they have a very low profile and lock the bevel tighter than is possible with a thumbscrew.
The bevel is made using an alloy steel with a 4” blade, which is an ideal small size. The blade is 3/32” thick, so it is impossible to mangle. The body of the bevel is 11/16” x 3/4” x 4-3/8” and weighs a nice 10 ounces. The bevels are machined and assembled in Kentucky by Machine Time of Nicholasville, Ky.