Maker's Cabinet

by Stuart Lennon
"Is it to draw circles?" So asked "unsubstantiated_script" on an Instagram picture of the Iris by Maker's Cabinet. It's a fair question. I can confirm that is is, in fact, to draw circles.

"Taking inspiration from camera apertures and their reliable mechanisms, the Iris is a perfect replacement to the drawing compass. It's easy to use, accurate and looks seamless on the page.

Its rings are machined from solid brass, the leaves are stamped from stainless spring steel that retains its shape. It has 20 designed leaves that enable you to create accurate circles.

Each Iris comes with a wooden base, which not only supports the Iris so you can gaze at it on your desk but locates the centre point of your circle."

£118 for an over-engineered piece of nonsense. (An additional £46 for a leather jacket for it.)


I have one on my desk. I love it.

Do I need it? Heavens, no. I never draw circles.

I also have a høvel, a sort of mini-plane for sharpening pencils. It's fiddly, takes forever and leaves you with a tip that looks like a dog chewed it. A mere shaving at £68. I have a leather sheath (£22), just in case I fancy taking my mini pencil plane out for a walk, and it sits in a bespoke wooden base. (£12) I like walnut, but the beech is nice too.

Wait! There's more. My ruler of choice is solid brass and hinged. It's borderline a weapon. And £96 (£19 for the sheath, natch.)

The latest piece is the Ferrule. A brass pencil extender. Yours for £68.

You should get some change from £500 for the whole lot. What a bargain!

Isn't this way too much money? Well, yes, and no. If you are lucky enough to have sufficient funds to spend on things that you want, rather than need, then I think there's a case for these beautiful pieces. Each is beautifully made, and stands as a piece of art. These items hark back to barely remembered days of artisanal quality.

The items are expensive, but will last forever. Amanda recently wrote me about how shocked she was at my IT expenditure. She's right. I buy computers, laptops, iPads and phones constantly. All for thousands of pounds. I'm unlikely to feel compelled to upgrade my ruler any time soon.

Maker's Cabinet items are gorgeous to look at and to hold. And hey - I might draw a circle, or a line with a pencil mangled by a mini-plane and held in a brass extender. Art in action as it were.