Marking and Measuring

Proper layout is fundamental to crisp work, whether you use primarily hand tools or power tools. We show you proper measurement techniques from how to read a tape measure to how to use a marking gauge. And, we cover the entire range of measuring and marking tools, from winding sticks to micrometers, carpenter’s pencils to marking knives. Plus, you’ll find videos and slideshows about historic tools (including those from H.O. Studley’s iconic chest) and plans for shop-made squares, gauges and sectors.

Quick, Dirty & Effective Trammel Points

When starting in woodworking I couldn’t afford a good set of trammel points. I had my grandfather’s set, but it didn’t lock down well. Then one day woodworker Troy Sexton showed me how he drew large arcs and I realized that I already owned an effective trammel. Troy uses a yardstick (or meter stick...

Check Squareness on Big Pieces

When you’re building casework, your parts really need dead square ends if you hope to fit drawers, dividers or a gallery inside. I don’t trust any table saw gizmo to give me square cuts. And I don’t trust my shooting board, either. The only thing I trust is a square that has been tested...

You Can Own the Rulers of the Ancient World

How we measure the world around us is a reflection of how our society interacts with the world. To wit: The metric system is, in my opinion, the most efficient way to gauge everything around us. And that is exactly why I dislike it so. It is a system based on base-10 efficiency and...

Anatomy of a try square

All About Try Squares

One of my favorite parts of our now-retired publication, Woodworking Magazine, was the back cover. Each issue featured a handy, illustrated guide to something every woodworker should know – and about which some woodworkers are too proud to ask. The following post on try squares is a perfect example. We are releasing the new...

Wierix Square, Part 3

With the glue dry, it’s time to see if your square is square – or if it’s a doorstop. Squaring a wooden square is a simple operation if you plan to use it for woodworking – not for building equipment for a nuclear reactor. It’s easy to go overboard with squareness. Here’s how I...

Build a Wierix Square, Step 2

Making the blade of the Wierix square is the most creative part of the construction process, when you can get in touch with your inner fledermaus (aka bat). While you can argue about whether or not the curves on the blade have any purpose, I am pretty certain of the reason the overall blade...

Build a Wierix Square, Step 1

A customer asked me to make a Wierix try square for him this week, and because it’s silly to make just one wooden square, I’m making a batch of five this week and am documenting the process here on the blog. If you don’t know what a Wierix square is, it’s an old style...

Free Plans: Ancient Squares for Ancient Scraps

I don’t turn pens much, and the word “fireplace” is a dirty word in our house (thanks to an incident involving a flaming log and full nudity). So my scrap pile is always overflowing. I give away scraps for kindling to my neighbors or I burn them in our outside firepit, but that is...