In the previous weeks, we discussed the different types of compass and how to use them. Today we are talking about where to find the best drafting compass.
There are good news and bad news for you today.
The bad news is that you will be a little disappointed to find out most of the manufacturers don’t produce compasses anymore. Many of them don’t even exist anymore.
As architects and other professionals started using the computer to draw, the use of hand tools became unnecessary.
The good news is that these tools are now sold as vintage or second-hand stuff.
Many sellers don’t even know how precious these instruments are, and they sell them at a super low price.
The best thing would be to buy a compass set so that you can have different types of compass in one case.
Search for the following manufacturers: Haff, Dietzgen, Kern, Ecobra, Riefler and Keuffel & Esser.
Staedtler and Ecobra still make good quality compasses but search for the ones with no plastic parts, as they wear out quickly.
You can do your research anywhere you want, but these are the 3 ways I prefer:
HOT TIP: Search for “Zirkelkasten” or “Präzisionszirkel” which is the German translation for compass or compass set or search for ‘fallnullenzirkel‘ which is the German translation for dropbow compass.
My number one favourite website when it comes to second-hand stuff.
Depending on where you are in the world you can find a lot of high-quality compasses for a ridiculous price.
Buy all steel and ask the seller for extra pictures just to be sure there are no rusty parts which may affect the quality of the compass.
Choose international shipping when doing the research.
What is funny to me is that the majority of these instruments were made in Germany but were sold in the USA. Like it was made in Germany, shipped to the US just be sold and shipped back to Europe. Globalisation people!
Also, Ebay.de often has more options than Ebay.com.
Oh yes, vintage compasses are sold on vintage markets. This applies online, as well.
Etsy is one of the most famous vintage online markets in the world, and I highly recommend you to take a peek there and see what you can find.
I’ve never bought anything there, mainly because I already have many compasses. Still, I have some saved items which I like to watch and drool over.
FLEA MARKET / THRIFT SHOPS
Thrift shops are not only for clothes, you guys! If you are not comfortable with buying second-hand stuff online, you can go to your local flea market or thrift shop and see what you can find.
Again, buy all steel (no plastic and no bras) and double-check the compass to be free from rust.
Alan Adams has a great blog post about taking care of your compass and how to bring old vintage compasses to shine again. Read more about this here.
I hope this blog post has been halpful.
Where did you find your drafting compass? Let me know in the comments below
Where to Find the Best Drafting Compass
April 23, 2020
Love this. The best compass I was able to find was from a local thrift store, it was so cheap too!
I am currently awaiting a vintage Dietzgen set, all steel, for only $9. And wait for it…brand new and never been used. Couldn’t believe my luck! Thank you for the valuable tips.