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 In Tricks of the Trade

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Woodworkers are both cursed and blessed with our hopelessly archaic system of measuring. When it comes time to divide any distance in half, like marking the center of a board’s edge for resawing, it’s best to avoid arithmetic altogether. A combination square will do the trick; just ignore the numbers. 

Finding the center takes no time at all. Set the square to project an amount that appears to be about halfway across the edge of the board. Then draw two lines, one from either side of the board. No matter whether you’ve guessed too long or too short, the middle of the board lies exactly halfway between the two lines. 

For resawing, you can probably just follow a path right between your lines. If you must know the precise center, slightly readjust your square and repeat the process. Chances are you’ll be right on.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Terry Mottley

    It is so much easier to put a ruler diagonally, let say at 6. Divide by 2 and you have the exact center, you could use any even diagonal number, and divide by 2, or thirds divide by 3.

    • Collin Knoff

      Could we use that as a future tip in the magazine?

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