How to Make a French Curve Ruler

Written by james mcilhargey
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How to Make a French Curve Ruler
French curves are an old drafting tool that still finds use today. ( Images)

Before the advent of modern computers, drafters used french curves to draw curved lines of various radii. These templates usually incorporated a number of curves over their entire length. Modern usage has dropped off, but drafters still find a use for the french curve in crafting and drawing. Making your own french curve takes time and preparation, but modern technology makes this task easier by providing you with a plethora of potential templates to choose from.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Printer
  • Thin acrylic
  • Scissors
  • Drill
  • Jeweller's saw
  • Sandpaper
  • String
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Find and print out a french curve template. Doing a quick image search online will provide you with templates. Print one out to the desired size, making sure the boundaries are clear.

  2. 2

    Cut the outline of the french curve from the printout, and tape the template to the acrylic. You can also use a marker to transfer the pattern.

  3. 3

    Use a jeweller's saw to cut out the shape. You can cut out the outline directly, but you will need to use a drill to cut a pilot hole to saw out any inside shapes.

  4. 4

    Smooth out the edges with sandpaper. Use successively finer grits to smooth out all of the rough spots.

  5. 5

    Mark out inches and fractions of an inch on the string. Stretch the string along the ruler and use a pen or marker to mark the measurements.

  6. 6

    Use the string to mark out measurements on the french curve. Stretch the string along the curves and use a marker to transfer the measurements.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also use hard wood with a tight grain for french curves.
  • If you are looking for something for short-term use, you can use thicker cardboard.
  • Be careful when using the saw to ensure you don't cut yourself.

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