Here are two of the most important tools in my shop, other than my hands and eyes. The uses of a compass extend far beyond striking circles. I use one, or more, on just about every project to aid in design, work out proportions, establish perpendiculars…the list goes on and on. I’ve discussed some of those ideas in more detail in my posts related to layout. It may not seem as exciting, but the thoughtful preliminary design considerations shape a piece as much as the axe.
That should not be intimidating. Which is why I admire the efforts of George Walker and Jim Tolpin in encouraging people to develop and trust their designer’s eyes. They have recently expanded upon those efforts with their new website and blog that already includes some enlightening thoughts, procedures, and videos with more to come — check out the blog.
George and Jim have immersed themselves in design from an artisan’s perspective. They balance classical design theory with very practical layout procedures. You’ll get the idea from the creative animated video on the opening page of the website.
And if you’re looking for a big compass or two, I got mine years ago here through Lee Valley. Same as mine, but I see they leave them shiny now instead of black.