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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

This is my first post here. I'm a woodworker with basic skills. I'm nearly 100% self taught. My dad has some basic carpentry skills and passed those on to me, but I prefer to get most of my knowledge from books and the internet. I just think it's faster that way these days.

I got into woodworking because I bought an old 1920s house and I wanted to fix it up. 2 years later, that's still my driving motivation. When I started, I had a hammer drill and a demolition saw. 2 years later I have a ridiculous number of tools that span the bridge between "woodworking" and "carpentry" pretty evenly. As an example, my most recent purchases included a set of Lie Nielsen hand planes and a Paslode air powered framing nailer. I buy what I need to do the projects quickly when I can, but versatility is most important to me.

I'm the sort of person who is more interested in the process than the end result. As such, I don't mind doing things the long way if I think it buys me something valuable. However, I go nuts if I have to do something repetitive too often and I know there is a better way.

Because of my remodeling focus, I'm particularly interested in millwork (doors, windows, etc). However, most of the projects I'm proud of to date have been focused on organizational "furniture". I've found that as my tool collection grows, my need to organize it effectively grows in proportion. So far I've built a massive 6ft x 6ft cubby shelving system for glass rod storage (my girlfriend is into lampworking) using dovetail joints for all of the joinery, and an even more massive, but much less refined 8ft x 2ft heavy duty 2x4 shelving system for scrap wood storage and tool storage. My next project with be a 2x4 based workbench so I can use my hand planes effectively.

Alright, anyway, I gave you all of that back story to let you know that while I'm not an idiot, I'm certainly quite ignorant in a lot of areas. Being self taught often leaves you with weird holes and blind spots in your knowledge base.

One problem I've had during both of these "furniture" projects is layout and marking efficiency. I think I spend MOST of my time using my tape measure, pencil, and square to draw perpendicular lines on boards. For example, the cubby project required a metric a$$ ton of markings for dados and markings for sliding dovetails.

This is a two step process. First, I measure the length from one end of the board and make a mark with my pencil. Second, I use my square and pencil to extend that line across the width of the board. Usually, I need a second line next to the first to designate the width of the saw blade (1/8") or dado or sliding dovetail. I fill in the space between these two lines using the pencil so I won't become confused when it comes time to cut.

All of this marking takes a lot of time. I recently realized a speed square will help speed up step #2 dramatically. However, what I'd really like to do is make this a one step process. Measure and draw. Boom. Done. It should be that easy.

What is the industry accepted way to do this? I've searched for linear slide measuring tools on google and I found the Acro Precision T-Rule: Incra T-RULE12 12-Inch Precision Marking T-Rule - Amazon.com

The T-Rule almost seems useful, but I don't think it's a full solution. I've been toying with the idea of making my own jig, maybe some sort of long linear slide. How do you people do this? Any ideas?
 

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Sawdust Wrangler
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Hello back,

Here are a few items you should have already come across in web searching but, since you didn't mention them, I will give you a few links

http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/videos/marking-gauges/

http://www.m-powertools.com/products/c-3d/combination-3d-try-square-marking-gauge.htm

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=60488&cat=1,42936

http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=32598&cat=1,42936

http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=67290&cat=1,42936

of course, with any of these, you have to assure that the edge you mark off from is a good edge...

Other people make these markers except for the m-powertools one, and you can find all kinds of brands of them on amazon. Lee valley just popped up first in the search, so I added that one. Veritas is a very good brand, though.
 

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Are you looking to measure and draw lines, vs just make a mark?

Good links by Paul, these are ones I would have included.

I have the Incra 12in and 24in T rules. Check the calibration, easy for the steel to move and not be exactly 90 deg. Only matters for drawing right angles.

I normally use a mechanical pencil, so the Incra rules work for me.

I also have the LV rule linked by Paul. I use this for marking but not drawing lines.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=32598&cat=1,42936
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey Paul,

Those links are all pretty awesome. I particularly appreciate the video. I've known I need some marking gauges for a while, but I wasn't sure what to look for or how to use them. That video cleared it up for me.

However, what do you do when the dados are in the middle of a 6ft board, such as when making shelves? Those little hand held marking gauges aren't long enough to use from the end of the board. Seems like making them longer would make them impossible to use too.
 

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Hey Paul,

Those links are all pretty awesome. I particularly appreciate the video. I've known I need some marking gauges for a while, but I wasn't sure what to look for or how to use them. That video cleared it up for me.

However, what do you do when the dados are in the middle of a 6ft board, such as when making shelves? Those little hand held marking gauges aren't long enough to use from the end of the board. Seems like making them longer would make them impossible to use too.
Dave added some good thoughts as well. I have a few of the Incra rules but they require such a small pencil lead, I don't tend to use them. Not saying there is anything wrong with them, they just don't come to mind when I, personally, am thinking about marking up. When I do dados in the middle of a board I just mark it out. Cut it with my table saw and a dado stack or with my router and a straight edge. You could set up a jig if you had a good many of the dados to fabricate across a long length of board.

If you are just jumping into this game, relatively speaking, I highly suggest learning and using SKetchup. You can lay everything out so you that you may visualize what you are going to accomplish and change anything that does not strike your fancy. Once you have the design down, it's on to figure out the way that most efficiently accomplishes your cuts. You can, eventually, have your entire house "sketched" up. That way you can move furniture around, take out walls, add walls, whatever and all easily changed if not what you decide you want. There are some great tutorials on getting started with it. I just started using it about 3 weeks ago and I am now able to design the cabinets that are going into my new shop. In fact, if you go here:

http://www.finewoodworking.com/blog/design-click-build

and watch the

Drawing a shop cabinet

and the subsequent one


Drawing a shop cabinet - casters and drawers



You will see a friend of mine, Dave, teach a really good set of tutorials on a cabinet I designed. There are other really good tutorials over there as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've got three years of CAD background designing mechanical parts. I'm pretty rusty (i.e. not proficient), but I'm familiar with Sketchup and some other CAD programs (Microstation, Autocad, Blender, OpenSCAD, etc).

For the pieces I make right now, CAD is overkill. When I tackle my first 6 panel door, or the cabinets for my kitchen, this will make a lot more sense. I nearly fell asleep watching that video (voice too calm - like the PBS happy tree painter guy), but I admit I learned a good bit. I came away from it wondering how difficult dovetails would be to model, and also wondering if my dovetail obsession was masochistic given today's glue technology.

Anyway, all of this CAD stuff is welcome, but a little off topic.

Maybe what I'm imagining doesn't exist yet. (wouldn't be the first time)

With 3d printing technology (see reprap) becoming so common and inexpensive, and DIY CNC mills and routers becoming similarly common and inexpensive (inexpensive being a relative term here), I have to wonder if some sort of CNC solution would be useful.

For example, when I was a kid I made a 2d plotter out of legos. It was a simple kit. You programmed the micro controller and it drew shapes like circles and squares on a sheet of paper. I wonder if a plotter kit that clamps to the side of a board would be useful. Cricut makes something similar that uses a knife for cutting paper and cake. Something similar for wood might be awesome. I just have to wonder if it would be worthwhile vs the (slightly?) higher cost of a similar CNC router or mill that would do the cuts for you, rather than just mark them.

Tackle the problem from a different angle: Would a laser cut aluminum template be a less expensive solution for frequent markings? Or even a non laser cut template?

Mix it up again, and go seriously analog: I still wonder if I could make a sliding 90 degree sliding ruler to do this job quickly and effectively. It would clamp to the side of the board (the long edge) and function a lot like those circular saw guides, or drywall squares (my recent trip to Lowes is showing), except it would have two rulers: one that is fixed and runs the full length of the board, and one that was "relative" and can be moved to different positions along the length of the board. For example, the operator could start measuring on the right side of the board, measure off 3.5" using the fixed ruler, then slide the moving ruler to that spot, allowing relative measurements. The 90 degree "arm" could them be slid to the desired location and locked it place for quick marking of the board.

No clue if this would be useful to anyone. Often these ideas I have are because I don't understand the process everyone else is using. Once I understand those processes my idea becomes less relevant.
 

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Wow, now we are thinking outside the box. I'll have to think about some of the things you mentioned a little more before I comment. As to the dovetails in sketchup, that is not a big deal. Ask, and ye shall receive:

http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/15393/dovetail-joints-in-sketchup-made-easy

http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/26539/handcut-dovetailsin-sketchup

http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/24751/drawing-dovetails-with-a-new-plugin


and this:

http://www.sketchupwoodplans.com/2011/01/08/making-dovetails-sketchup-faster/

You might find a story stick or story pole of some use with multiple markings. You may make one of any length you wish, I have had them up to 10' long, or you may purchase one that is a little more down to earth like this:

http://www.woodpeck.com/storystickpro.html you can get them cheaper elsewhere but I wanted you to see woodpeckers site.

you can tale story sticks as far as you want to go as seen here:

http://www.startwoodworking.com/post/using-story-sticks-build-furniture

Don't forget that two sticks slid along together and then marked (Bar gauge as it's often called) is an excellent way to make measurements without a tape measure as shown in the first part of this paper:

http://dc105.4shared.com/doc/46nDXYCR/preview.html

and, finally this about measuring sticks http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/articles/measuring-sticks/

here is one set of bar gauge heads

http://toolmonger.com/2011/03/01/make-your-own-bar-gauge/

http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/veritasbargaugeheads.aspx (free shipping from these guys)

Oh, and if you are thinking CnC then that is a talk for another thread but now we are thinking like I've been thinking for months...

I hope this helps a little,

Paul
 

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Oh, and Dave does have a soft, soothing voice but, he gets the job done and he is so helpful. You will come away learning something from him. You can write him and ask him something and he will bend over backwards to help you understand it thoroughly. He is a great resource for Sketchup and woodworking. I also like his approach to modeling in Sketchup. I come from a CAD/3D animation background and the way he models makes sense down the line, especially if you need to change something later on or resize it. Take a couple shots of espresso and give Dave's blog and videos a try. You will learn something.

I do apologize for getting off-topic but, in reality, I felt that this particular skill could suit you for both, what you asked and what you have ahead of you...

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah, I didn't mean any disrespect to Dave. It was sort of a neg (a compliment wrapped in an insult). As far as I know, that happy tree guy was highly respected by all. Just quirky. The masters usually are.
 

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Sawdust Wrangler
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Yeah, I didn't mean any disrespect to Dave. It was sort of a neg (a compliment wrapped in an insult). As far as I know, that happy tree guy was highly respected by all. Just quirky. The masters usually are.
Oh no, I didn't feel any disrespect from your remark. I was merely thinking that if you ramp up on Sketchup while you are doing things that don't need it, you will be ready for the primetime when you do need it. It's a great deal easier than AutoCAD and others. It makes real sense for woodworkers. If you want to get going on it, pm me and I will share a couple of things that Dave shared with me that make it a better program from the start.

Paul
 

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Hah. Yeah, Bob Ross. Sorry, terrible with names and apparently too lazy to google. Shame on me.
I am not too great with names either, the reason that Bob's name sticks in my head is that a friend of mine had every one of his episodes taped and we would all sit around and watch them at a party. It was fun....gosh, it doesn't sound so fun when you type it, though!
 

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I sincerely hope that I haven't loaded you down too heavily with links? I think you will find some good info within them. I have a couple of good ones you need for a work table for your house project but it's kinda off-topic in here. PM me and I will slide those links to you...

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm slowly working through that last barrage of links, Paul. I particularly appreciate the story stick links. My next project is a workbench for using my hand planes. I bought the lumber today, and my big Record 52 ED equivalent vise arrived a few days ago. I'm using this blueprint/article as a guide: http://picnicpark.org/keith/woodworking/workbench/BobAndDavesGoodFastAndCheapBench-ne.pdf

Anyway, he mentions creating story sticks as the second step after buying the lumber. I figured they were just sticks marked with measurements, but I was fuzzy on the details. You're educating me. I might as well try my hand at using them. It's entirely possible they'll solve my measurement frustrations.

I guess I need a woodworker's marking knife. Thinking about buying this one. Price is right: http://www.woodcraft.com/product/2020498/27377/pfeil-swiss-made-marking-knife-small.aspx
 

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Oh yeah, that bench should be just fine. You can use those bar gauges for story sticks and to check square in cabinets/boxes. That knife would be fine. There are two that everyone on another forum raves about, lemme see if I can find those links, gimme a minute. .. ... .... .... oh, yeah, here you are:

http://www.bluesprucetoolworks.com/cgi/commerce.cgi?search=action&category=MARK

http://czeckedge.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=9

here's yet, another, vid http://www.finewoodworking.com/tool-guide/video/tool-review-video-marking-knives.aspx

http://www.wkfinetools.com/contrib/cSchwarz/z_art/markKnives/markKnives1.asp
 
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