Hand tool tips and tricks #18: No Pencil Gauge? No Sweat.

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Blog entry by RGtools posted 04-14-2013 11:41 PM 2402 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: Using Leverage to Keep Things in Place. Part 18 of Hand tool tips and tricks series Part 19: Dovetail Tip; Mark Your Mistakes Early »

I do a fair bit of layout work with a pencil. I find it’s a quick way to figure things out on a unique project, or a unique piece of wood that you want to get all the cuts “just right”.

Normally, I use a combination square as a pencil gauge when I am trying to get the width of a workpiece. As it happens, both my combo squares had settings I did not feel like losing, so I borrowed a very old carpenters trick.

Holding your hands like this you can use a rule to mark out a line that will easily be within a 16th of an inch of where you want it. Just slide the whole works down the board to mark out your width (notice how my finger is riding against the edge of the board…that’s the depth stop).

Simple huh?

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

5 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16447 posts in 3259 days

#1 posted 04-14-2013 11:46 PM

Now take a triangular saw file and nick both ends of the rule, in the brass, so the pencil has a place to ride without slipping.

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

19500 posts in 3208 days

#2 posted 04-14-2013 11:55 PM

and place your index finger on the corner of the square to help hold the pencil in place. The corner helps hold the finger.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3295 days

#3 posted 04-15-2013 12:30 AM

^thank both of you for getting my back. Don, because I posed the shot and messed up the positioning on my pencil holding hand, and Smitty, for convincing me to nick my rule with a saw file (totally going to do that by the way).

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View bondogaposis's profile


5655 posts in 2992 days

#4 posted 04-15-2013 03:16 AM

Great trick.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View AnthonyReed's profile


10131 posts in 3081 days

#5 posted 04-18-2013 01:41 PM

Teamwork tips. :)

Good stuff, thank ya fellas.

-- ~Tony

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