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.

A Video Guide to Measuring Tools in the Workshop

Over the last few weeks, I’ve made several posts about measuring tools in the series Precision Instruments for Woodworkers. The purpose of the series is to introduce the idea of precision through establishing standards for accuracy with a few high-quality instruments and to test all of your measuring tools against them. It’s...

Don’t Close Your Eyes to the Square

When people injure themselves in the shop, their first reaction is to grab the wound and refuse to look. Sadly, this is the same attitude many woodworkers take with the squareness of their components: They refuse to look and hope things will work out. While there are lots of areas of...

‘Houndstooth Dovetails’ – by Rob Cosman

I recently posted on our Instagram account and Twitter feed the opening image from Rob Cosman’s 2006 article “Houndstooth Dovetails,” and it proved remarkably popular – so I figured I might as well post the article. And while that “opener” certainly benefited from good lighting, and great camera and a skilled...

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...

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...

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...