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Hermaphrodite Caliper

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I recently discovered something called a hermaphrodite caliper. We are all familiar with normal calipers, what makes the hermaphrodite caliper different is one leg has a small inward facing "foot". This foot makes scribing or drawing a line that is a set distance from the edge of a piece of wood very simple and accurate. The foot follows the edge while the other leg, which can hold either a sharp point or a pencil lead, scribes or draws a line.


I found that this is so accurate that I can quickly go over the same line multiple times to make a scribe mark deeper and the scribe always is in the exact same place. The following graphic shows some of the possible uses.


post-21-0-26636200-1387548424_thumb.jpg Starrett make two versions of this tool.



post-21-0-95526900-1387548409.jpg   The 563-6 is a 6" tool where the opposite leg is straight for its entire length.



post-21-0-62555200-1387548400.jpg The 243-6 is also a 6" tool but the opposite leg has a bend in it about half way up.



The Starrett models are a bit pricey (about $50 USD each) so you may want to shop around. The ones I own have what Starrett calls a stiff joint which means there is a nut that you can tighten if needed to increase the amount of force needed to adjust the gap and these are the ones shown above. They also have a locking joint version of both but I find the stiff joint version is just fine and the lock joint version costs twice as much.




Jim L

What we ever hope to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence. - Samuel Johnson


     On the Building Ways:                           Launched:                                                 Contracts Signed:                    Member:

       The Nautical Research Guild

                                                                                                                                                                                        The US Naval Institute





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I have wanted something like these calipers but didn't know this tool actually existed.  After seeing the original post I jumped onto eBay this morning and got a great set for $25. Place sent a notice that they have shipped already!




Kurt Van Dahm






Nautical Research & Model Ship Society of Chicago

Midwest Model Shipwrights

North Shore Deadeyes

The Society of Model Shipwrights

Butch O'Hare - IPMS

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Never know then called anything else other than "odd leg calipers" here in the Uk and that goes back almost 50 years to when I was in school








Current build Trumpeter Arizona 1:200 with White Ensign PE and a Nautilus Wooden Deck.

Built Caldercraft Convulsion, HM Brig Badger and HMS Snake.

Awaiting - Zvelda HMS Dreadnought planning to get the Pontos Deck and PE Upgrades, Panart 1:23 Gun deck model and couple of the cannon kits Manatu - French siege mortar, and American coastal cannon.

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