In Tricks of the Trade

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When I bought my expensive 24″ machinist’s straightedge, I wasn’t sure where to store it. It didn’t include a hole for hanging, and I was reluctant to drill into the hard steel for fear of devaluing the tool or compromising its accuracy. I didn’t want to stash it in a drawer or on a shelf where it might be damaged by other tools. I finally came up with an easy solution. I removed an adjustable shelf from one of my shop cabinets and plowed a groove into its front edge to accommodate the straightedge. I made the groove about 116” wider than the thickness of the straightedge, and deep enough to completely house it. I screwed on a pivoting wooden retainer for safety. I also use this trick to store an auxiliary 18″ blade for my combination square.

How to remove the straightedge from the groove? I use a little “grabber” that I made by embedding a small magnet in the end of a wood block (cushioning the magnet with thick tape.) Alternatively, you could drill a small “pinch notch” into the edge of the shelf to offer finger access – handy for non-magnetic aluminum. Select a strong or lightly loaded shelf that won’t be subject to bending.  — Rob Porcaro


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