I do a lot of arcs in my work, getting a nice fair sweep has always been a challenge. A straight grained cutoff from a long rip has been my flexible drawing aid for a long time, but it's a two man job, one to hand to trace the line, and three to hold the cutoff flexed. My patience with this method is at an end, though, so I bought Lee Valleys Drawing Bow.
The bow is a 1/8" x 1" x 48" long strip of glass-reinforced plastic with a nylon strap.
The slide buckle on the strap allows the bow to be flexed and retain its position.
Lightly clamping it to the work improves performance.
The curve was drawn, the bow flipped, and the curve drawn again. The flex is not perfectly symmetrical, but at least as good as a wood guide.
I don't like the rounded corners, it makes clamping difficult.
I am hesitant to recommend this tool. I don't like the rounded corners, and the buckle system could be re-designed. It's awkward to use and hard to control. Precise adjustments are difficult. Shallow arcs don't put enough tension on the bow, resulting in flexing and error while drawing. A permanently scribed and inked centre line would be nice, too, marking the apex and making layout easier. The centre line is necessary as a reference point when making small arcs with a partial bow. I don't think, as it sits, that this is a $29 tool.
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