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Rounding-up (Topping) Tools

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Construction and Use

The main parts of the tool are A. the wheel holder (outlined in red in fig.1), and B. the cutter holder (outlined in green). These two are arranged at right angles to each other. In fig. 2 the wheel holder is vertical, and the adjustment is simpler (but less accurate).

There are various slides and adjusting screws of varying complexity, and a driving wheel attached by a cord to the cutter arbor. Some less common types, especially in Germany, used a geared drive.

The cutter is supplied with a smooth, tapered helical portion which is adjusted so that its end is exactly one wheel tooth away from the cutter body. As each tooth space is cut, the helix turns the wheel round to the next space.

 
Fig. 1 - A High quality bronze topping tool
A. = Wheel holder
B= Cutter Frame
  Fig. 2 - A simpler tool with vertical wheel holder
Fig. 3 - This cutter holder is mounted between centres and driven indirectly from the boxwood pulley. The larger types usually have a mandrel with the front supported in a cone bearing.
 
Fig. 4 - Select a stump whose diameter is a little less than the inner circle of the wheel teeth.   Fig. 5 - The wheel is mounted and ready for cutting. Its pivots are held so that it can turn freely, but the wheel rim is supported by the stump.
 
Fig. 6 - A Carpano cutter with integral indexing helix. This type is simpler to set up than the earlier type in fig. 7.   Fig. 7 - The simple cutter needs a separate indexing block to turn the wheel. The results are just as good as the Carpano type.
 
Fig. 8 -The teeth of a cutter. They are superbly made, and if used correctly on brass they never need sharpening.   Fig. 9 - Beginning the cut. At the end of each revolution of the cutter, the helix moves the wheel on to the next tooth space.

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Copyright (c) 2006 Ian Coote. All rights reserved.