Tools #3: The Two Foot Rule

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Blog entry by ElroyD posted 05-17-2018 02:03 PM 895 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: My First Wood Bodied Plane! Part 3 of Tools series no next part

Last weekend, while out for a Sunday drive (except it was Saturday), I pulled into an “antiques” (junk?) shop that I had passed many times before over the years. Every time I had driven by in the past, I thought to myself “I should stop in there sometime.” For some reason on this day, I actually did.

My nine year-old daughter and I went in to look around while my wife decided to stay in the van with the rest of the kids. My daughter has been binge-watching “Flea Market Flip” on TV, and really wants to restore/remake some old furniture this summer, so she was on the lookout for fixer-upper type stuff, while I, as usual, was on the prowl for tools.

The place was cramped and crowded, with items filling every corner. It was basically an old house that someone crammed with as much saleable product as they could while still leaving (barely) enough space for someone to walk through. We didn’t find much of interest, so we headed back out through the maze toward the front. Just as we reached the door, my daughter, said “Hey, Dad, look at this.”

I think I giggled a lit bit inside.

My lovely junk-picking daughter had found a 2-foot folding boxwood rule. I’ve been on the lookout for one of these since I read about them in Tools: Working Wood in Eighteenth-Century America (Thanks Ron Aylor for reminding me of this book. I picked up a second copy). In the past, I’ve only ever found the tri-fold rules that are pretty common. I’ve never been able to find a bi-fold one.

From Tools:
“The most common measuring tool used by woodworkers was the two-foot folding rule.”

Checking the price to see if I could add it to my workshop, the tag simply said “Old Tool – $15”. Okay, I can part with $15 to replace my modern ruler with a two-foot rule. I handed my daughter a $20 and let her go up to the counter to pay for it. She came back roughly 30 seconds later, handed me a $10, the rule, and said “All set. Let’s go.”

She always gets discounts. I don’t know how she does it.

So, my workshop is one step closer to being period accurate for the 18th century. There’s no maker’s mark or date on this particular rule, and I suspect it’s 19th century, but it matches photos in the book, so I’m pretty happy with the purchase.

-- Elroy

2 comments so far

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16695 posts in 3389 days

#1 posted 05-17-2018 03:16 PM

I love those folding rules. Looks like you’ve got a nice one.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

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2955 posts in 2961 days

#2 posted 05-17-2018 04:43 PM

Great buy, you should have your daughter buy all your tools. Did you give her a commission?

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

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