If you want to sell something to a woodworker, the easy way is to start by selling him on the idea that he can’t possibly do it himself. If you can accomplish that, then you have someone ready and willing to buy yet another jig to make joinery simple or publication that reveals the secrets to cutting dovetails. In truth, there isn’t much to woodworking beyond cutting stuff to a line and cleaning up surfaces you’ve cut. When I tell myself “I can’t possibly do that” a warning signal goes off, and I look for the reason why.
That alarm went off a couple months ago when we were planning the next issue of Woodworking Magazine. My assignment was to build and write about shop made layout tools, specifically wooden try squares. There was a day when this was the tool of choice, and many pieces that we consider classics today were marked for length and checked for square with two sticks.