Have you ever attempted the process of dividing a circle into 8 equal parts, and struggled to get the desired results? Or have you had to make precise 45 degree angles around the perimeter of a project and not known how to do this effectively without measuring? These are perplexing and humbling undertakings even for many seasoned woodworkers. Well, fear these challenges no more! The technique that George demonstrates takes all of the guesswork out of the process of dividing a circle into 8 equal parts, allowing for precision and repeatability.
The key to segmenting a circle into eight even increments is to use a layout tool called a beam compass. This device serves the same purpose as a traditional compass, but it utilizes trammel points that slide on a beam, allowing it to work on much larger circles. This is a handy tool to have in the shop for many shop geometry applications, and will help a woodworker at any level who is learning how to build furniture.
Follow the steps carefully
As with most woodshop tips, it is important to follow the tasks that are described in the correct order with great care so that the desired results of dividing a circle into 8 equal parts can be achieved. If these steps are followed carefully, you will find the technique produces outstanding results. A similar process can be followed to divide a circle into six equal sections, which can be applied to simplify the process of laying out the legs of a three legged stool. Learning to use a beam compass, and understanding the basics of shop geometry, will serve you well in many medium to complex woodworking projects, and will also serve to enable you to design a wider variety of projects of your own.