Scribing a perfect fit for curves

Fit the initial rough template to its approximate location. The largest gap determines the spread of the compass.


I’m making a wooden toolbox for my pickup bed. How do I make a template to fit over the curved wheel well?
—Jeremy Ryan, Anacortes, Wash.


Start by cutting posterboard to roughly the shape you will need, Jeremy. Hold the template in place on the wheel well where the project part will sit; then set the legs of a compass a little wider than the largest gap between the template and the curve. Keeping the compass points perpendicular to the surface of the curve, trace the curve with the compass point while transferring the line of the curve to the board with the pencil, as shown below. Cut along the marked line and repeat the process, tweaking until you have a pattern with a tight fit. Use your template to lay out and cut the workpiece to shape.

As the gap narrows, close up the compass legs to match and scribe the curve again.

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