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.

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...

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...

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  

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...

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...

New Episodes from ‘The Woodwright’s Shop’

The shows from the latest season of Roy Underhill’s “The Woodwright’s Shop” can now be viewed online for free through this link. What, you are still here and reading my crap? Click the link and get over there and watch all 13 episodes. That’s more than six hours of Roy, with...

My New 150-year-old Try Square

While deep into dovetailing a small chest at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking this summer, my concentration was suddenly burst by someone at my workbench. “There’s a guy outside,” the student says, “and he’s selling all his woodworking stuff.” I nodded and then returned to my dovetails. I run into...

My Favorite Tool from the H.O. Studley Tool Chest

Making woodworking tools doesn’t interest me as much as making furniture, but my recent encounter with Henry O. Studley’s tool chest has me eyeing the metals section of the  McMaster-Carr web site. The tool that turned my head is small and simple, but boy do I have a crush on it....