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“Near enough” isn’t. Successful completion depends on the accuracy of the marking and measuring which was done at the beginning of the project.
Carpenter’s folding rule. Made of boxwood with brass hinges and ends, a carpenter’s rule is 3' (± 91 cm) long when unfolded.
The slotted bar can be adjusted to any angle.
Flexible steel tape. These tapes have a loose fitting hook on the front which automatically adjusts for inside or outside measurements.
Centring tool. A handy little tool to have if you have a lot of mortises to mark. You will have to make it yourself as it is not available in the trade but here are simple instructions for making one.
In the centre of a piece of wood drill a hole to fit a pencil. At exact distances from this hole and absolutely centred with the pencil hole, drill a 6 mm hole at each end and fit a piece of 6 mm dowelling in each.
The pencil can also be replaced with a nail to scribe the centre line. Pre-drill the hole for the nail and make sure that this is absolutely centred and straight.
Carpenter’s pencil. This is always a flat pencil sharpened like a chisel to give accurate scribing with strength of lead.
For accurate marking put the ruler edge on the material. With your finger line up the edge of the ruler with the edge of the wood or let the ruler overlap the edge of the wood by one unit but remember to add the “lost” unit if you are measuring distance.
To divide a board into a number of equal widths (say 5) place a ruler with its end on one edge of the board and move the other end diagonally across the board till the number 5 corresponds with the other end of the board. Mark off on the units.
When laying out a large area use the 3-4-5 (Pythagoras) formula to create a 90° angle. Measure 3 units along one side, 4 units along the other side and adjust the legs so that the points are 5 units apart diagonally.
To check if the corners of a frame are square measure between two opposing corners both ways. If the distances are the same the corners of the frame are square.
To mark a long line, use a chalk line. Chalk lines can also be used as plum bobs to get an accurate vertical line.
Once it has been decided which side of wood should be the working face this is marked with a curl. The working edge is marked with an upside-down V.
Make all measurements from the marked sides.
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