A GEORGE THOMAS UNIVERSAL PILLAR TOOL

Made by Neil Read

THE UNIVERSAL Pillar Tool designed by the late George Thomas has been one of the most popular items made for use in the model engineer’s workshop. George designed many items of tooling in the 70s which can be relied upon completely. This example was built by Neil Read from castings obtained from the old A J Reeves & Co. Neil recalls learning that the design was so popular that the castings were shell moulded, and which differed from the Thomas original slightly but were good machinable quality. Although the basic tool was built some years ago, Neil continued to add parts until it now has a full set of tooling, including a graduated table.

It says much for the original design that Neil has changed little in his version. Originally, it was mounted on a Contiboard base, as recommended by George. Neil replaced that with a chopping board from the local Sainsbury’s supermarket. This is an improvement, although some parts had to be fastened with specially made 2BA bolts.

The finger plate visible on the tool table is to Neil’s own design, based on that by Commander W Barker in the 1950s. The only other non-standard item is a recently made tap wrench. Otherwise, all is as designed by George Thomas, and as Neil is a fine engineer (and former Technical Editor of Model Engineer magazine) that says much for the original work.

Click on photos to enlarge.