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.


Test Drive: Carbide Marking Knife from Czeck Edge

If you don’t like (or cannot) sharpening a marking knife, the new Czeck Edge “Super Kadet II” knife is likely the right choice for your tool chest. Based on the well-balanced and well-made “Kerf Kadet” knife, this version is like its older brothers with the addition of a tungsten carbide blade. Why a carbide...


Inside Colen Clenton’s Adjustable Try Squares

I first heard about Colen Clenton’s tools from Joel Moskowitz of Tools for Working Wood in Brooklyn, N.Y. On Joel’s recommendation, I purchased one of Colen’s squares and was deeply impressed by its craftsmanship and accuracy. I asked Joel how I could e-mail Colen and ask him a few questions about his tools for...


TS-2: Perfection Made Rare

Years ago I worked with a professional woodworker who built all his own tools, used the least-expensive machines available and turned out work that was undeniably world class. He scoffed at buying clamps (he made his own). He invented precision tools when he needed them. And he could make inlay tools from shop garbage....

lumber crayon and mechanical pencil

Don’t Leave Home Without Essential Layout Tools

Whenever I leave town to teach a woodworking class, I make two stops to pick up a supply of two essential things for project layout. The first stop is the office supply store for a box of Bic .5mm mechanical pencils. Next stop is the “big box home center” for a dozen lumber crayons....


Cool Square. But What the Heck is it Used For?

One of my favorite tools is the “English Layout Square” I built for the December 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Heck, I like it so much I put it on the cover of my book “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” built one on “The Woodwright’s Shop” and even had its shape engraved on the...


Find Center With a Combination Square

In this short video, executive editor Robert W. Lang demonstrates how to find the center of a board using a combination square, it’s easy, accurate and no numbers were harmed in the making of this video. – Robert Lang  

My new winding sticks -- walnut with maple inlay.

Winding Sticks with Better Visibility

Winding sticks don’t have to be fancy. Heck, they don’t even need to be anything other than two pieces of material that have parallel edges – that’s all you need to use these sticks to diagnose a twisted board or assembly. But I have a weakness for nice winding sticks, and they are a...


The Black Knife

In 19th-century English workshops you could be sacked (fired) for wearing eyeglasses. There are even accounts of how a shop might have a certain phrase that was spoken when the master was about to walk through the workroom. When that phrase was uttered, all the eyeglasses would go into hiding. I would have been...