This is the smallest knife available on the conservation market, with a .9mm width. The M2 steel blade retracts into a standard supplied mechanical pencil handle, so it can be retracted when not in use. The blade can be extended to about 20mm to reach into recessed areas. It has a double bevel, and can be used for cutting complex fills, working under magnification, miniature bookbinding, anywhere you need to make precise small cuts. Can be resharpened and stropped. Or the blade could be dulled to use as a micro spatula. The M2 steel blade is hardened to Rc 65. Just don’t mistake it for a pencil!
Proportional dividers are ancient tools, dating back to Roman era, though as late as 1955 some thought they were a Renaissance invention. The Alvin 450 is really handy when making miniatures, like the triangle and engineer’s square above, that I made for Fritz Otto Buchbinder. They allow you to quickly see and measure what a reduction in the actual reduction size would be. Using one is a much more intuitive than having to divide 100ths of an inch into something. But don’t get me started on numeric measuring!
Other uses are to convert a given length of line into equal parts, divide a circle into equal parts, and even generate angles. All of which are useful for bookbinders. The 450 can generate proportions down to 10:1 for lines, and 20 :1 for circles. A regular dividers can do these things, but it takes some set up time.
They make a great addition to my dividers collection. I found them at a flea market, still in a fake leather covered wooden box, with a nifty sliding pin latch, all for $10. They originally sold for $9.75, so they have held their value. New ones are still available, though considerably more costly, having a list price of $216, though commonly found for $132.
Obviously, though, one can never have too many tools. I’m still looking for a used 458 (10 inches long) and a 950 (stainless steel)….
Some items popular with book and paper conservators include: the modified 151 spokeshave for paring leather (top), 2-inch triangle and bookbinder’s pliers (middle), and (l – r) A2 leather Swiss style knife, 8 inch Delrin lifter, Delrin folder, Delrin hera, and the set of lifting knives.
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