Recommendations on good set of dividers/compass?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by gauntlet21 posted 11-09-2018 02:31 PM 531 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View gauntlet21's profile


44 posts in 380 days

11-09-2018 02:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dividers compass

I’m interested in buying my first pair (or pairs) of dividers for woodworking. I’ve heard buying ayx least two sets is ideal (especially for dovetails) which I haven’t attempted yet but am working my way up to.

Most of my projects are medium to small sized (lots of jigs all the way up to bookshelves) and I know Starrett dividers are probably great but they’re also very expensive. I looked through the Starrett catalog and saw so many styles that it seemed overwhelming.

I’m just asking for recommendations on a good locking pair of dividers in probably the 3-4” range and 6-8” range if that sounds about normal. I’ve got some Starrett stuff but just wasnt sure I wanted to drop $65 on a first pair. Maybe if I find I use them all the time but I also dont want inaccurate ones with slack/slop that are going to be more headache than help.



I’m looking for the style that doesn’t use a pencil tip as one of the legs btw. Stepping up from the middle school math ones for now. I did see a pair someone was using that actually scored a line in the shape of an arc which seemed quite useful if those go by a specific name?

9 replies so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile


4891 posts in 882 days

#1 posted 11-09-2018 02:49 PM


-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View PPK's profile


1173 posts in 979 days

#2 posted 11-09-2018 03:11 PM

I have been using this set for a year or so now, and I’m REALLY pleased with the set. Very affordable.

-- Pete

View Smirak's profile


76 posts in 688 days

#3 posted 11-09-2018 04:51 PM

I have 2 pair of Starret 6” divider with round points on the legs, not the “squarish” points. They were expensive at like $75/pr, but I get a discount through a vendor at work, and wound up paying about $45 a pair. I have PEC squares and have used their dividers. They are good quality as well, but have the “squarish” legs that I didn’t care for. Otherwise, I might just have those because the price is very good.


View TheFridge's profile


10484 posts in 1655 days

#4 posted 11-09-2018 06:59 PM

Stuff like that can be dirt cheap in ebay

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View HokieKen's profile (online now)


6526 posts in 1308 days

#5 posted 11-09-2018 07:00 PM

Stuff like that can be dirt cheap in ebay

- TheFridge

+1 Vintage Starretts are what I have and ebay is where I got ‘em.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View jdh122's profile


1042 posts in 2987 days

#6 posted 11-09-2018 07:05 PM

For just pacing off measurements the spring-loaded generic ones of the type linked above are fine. But for laying out symmetrical carving I prefer this style because the dividers keep the setting more reliably. (I don’t have these exact ones, but mine look the same).

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Woodknack's profile


12392 posts in 2549 days

#7 posted 11-09-2018 07:34 PM

Ebay, quality calipers & dividers are cheap. Starrett, B&S, Lufkin; all good.

-- Rick M,

View gauntlet21's profile


44 posts in 380 days

#8 posted 11-09-2018 07:43 PM

Pardon my ignorance, I know I could go search YouTube but if you’re bored and don’t mind, what’s the difference between solid nut and spring nut? I’m assuming there’s a spring pressing apart the spring version and the nut keeps it in place? Then do the solid nut dividers just move apart as you walk the nut in or out? Any advantages/disadvantages to either design?


View bondogaposis's profile


5039 posts in 2520 days

#9 posted 11-09-2018 07:54 PM

I got my Starrett dividers on Ebay. Dividers are a good bet to by used as generally they are not subject to tremendous abuse, like say a chisel can be.

-- Bondo Gaposis

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics