Clay, Application to Refinement


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 Profile Gauges

The profile gauge is an invaluable piece of equipment for the clay modeler who is going to transfer data manually to complete a scale model. The use of expensive machinery or digitizing software is not always available especially if the project is home based. With a few specific balance points and sectional profiles of the master side the secondary side can be modeled in to a balance that is visually a mirror image.


The most important factor is what type of profile gauge should you purchase. You will find there are several varieties available on the market ranging from the inexpensive to the moderately priced. There are steel pinned and plastic, the difference is, the smoothness of the needles as you capture the shape.

Profile gauge readily available at hardware stores.

This profile gauge to the left is an inexpensive model that is readily available from Home Depot, Sears and most hardware stores. The needles are somewhat hard to manipulate on a soft surface like clay and the size at six inches is restrictive in its usefulness.


There is no provision for adding additional gauges to increase its length and this profile gauges use in a clay modeling application is purely as a temporary measure.

Close up of Profil-Meister profile gauge.

This profile gauge to the left is a German brand by STABA-technic known as the Profil-Meister. The overall length of this profile gauge is eight inches, it has a scale that slides and is calibrated in millimeters and centimeters. The scale can be locked into position by way of a central Allen screw and at each end of the gauge there is provision to attach other gauges to increase the length.

The beauty of the Profil-Meister is that it is available as a set of five profile gauges with the addition of an angle bar which slots in place of the scale. By removing the scale from two profile gauges and placing the angle bar in their place and locking it into position with the Allen bolts, you can take profiles of much larger objects than you would with just one.


The angle bar is adjustable, using a wing nut to secure the bar in place.

Set of five profile gauges with angle bar.

Profile gauges using angle bar.

The image above left shows the set of five profile gauges and angle bar out of the carrying case. The image top right shows the application of the angle bar with the profile gauges. As you can see, it is possible to capture a large shape for duplication.

The close up of the profile gauge on the left shows the tongue which slides into the groove to increase the overall length of the gauge to allow for larger duplication. The scale is in place with the Allen screw locking it down.

The image on the left shows the groove for the tongue to connect to.


By unlocking the Allen screw and sliding the scale so that it connects  the second profile gauge together, this will provide a ridged extra length gauge.

I have found this brand of profile gauge to be one of the best that I have used and many sculptors that I know have exactly the same set. It is easy to use, the needles are responsive when capturing the form and do not bind at the critical moment. The gauges are easy to extend and lock in place and the angle bar provides an extra dimension. The good thing is, it comes nicely packed in its own carry case and  I would certainly recommend it for your modeling kit.

Copyright © 2006 - 20 Steven Austin