In my furniture restoration work, I often have to reproduce missing or broken parts, tracing their shapes from the originals. Tracing around flat work is easy, but sculptural parts like cabriole legs present a problem that I solved by devising this tracing “mouse.” To make one, start with a 1 × 4 × 51⁄2" hardwood block. Next, drill a 5⁄16"-diameter hole through the block to fit a commonly available straight-sided ballpoint pen. Center the hole across the thickness, about 13⁄4" back from one end. Then make the profile cuts as shown in the drawing. Next, use a disc sander to form a 60° point on the nose–tweaking and sanding until the point aligns with the tip of the inserted pen. Then sand a comfortable radius for a hand on the opposite end of the block. Finally, tap a 1⁄4"- 20 hole in the middle of the body, and install a thumbscrew to secure the pen. To use the mouse, push the pen down until it contacts the paper, lock the thumbscrew, butt the knife-edge against the part, and trace your pattern.
-Craig Bentzley, Chalfont, Pennsylvania