Ornamental Turning Book of Knowledge
Pearling Tool


Pearling Tool

The Pearling Tool is a hand-operated fly cutter used with a indexing wheel for guilloché style embellishments. It is a variation of the Eccentric Cutting Frame.


Figure 530 - Plate XLVII. Ivory Casket;
oval and eccentric chucks in combination

Turning and Mechanical Manipulation, vol. 5 - The Principles and Practice of Ornamental or Complex Turning (1884)

Just getting started?
You can delay getting one of these. Frankly, unless you have the need for one, you could make a load of stuff never having one of these. But, they can be used to make some really cool stuff!

Some believe that it was used to make the pearl-looking balls around the periphery of the object that you see in the picture to the left, though there are no references to this in John Jacob Holtzapffel's book, Turning and Mechanical Manipulation, vol. 5 - The Principles and Practice of Ornamental or Complex Turning (1884).


Pearling Drill Bit
Image courtesy Chris Ploof of Ornamental Tools

In fact, there are only vague references to this tool anywhere, making it seem to be more mythical than real. Some in the ornamental turning community think this is a term that was applied to another tool, but others disagree. In any regard, as shown in the picture above, this tool has been made at one point (I think it was by Lindow Machine Works), but I cannot find any sources for them as of 2019. If you really want one, contact David Lindow.

The video from Ed Davidson (AKA, YoYoSpin), Embellishing Cabochons with the Rose Engine, shows this in action, around 11:00 in the video.

As a final note, what is more likely to have been used to make the "pearls" shown in Figure 530 is a pearling drill bit like the one to the right. You can get one (or other, similar ones) from Chris Ploof at Ornamental Tools.


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Disclaimer : eMail comments to me at OTBookOfKnowledge @ Gmail.com. The process of woodturning involves the use of tools, machinery and materials which could cause injury or be a health hazard unless proper precautions are taken, including the wearing of appropriate protective equipment.