Choosing the best marking tool for your project is a matter of weighing the amount of tolerance you’re willing to accept against the readability of the lines you scribe as well as the ease and speed with which the tool can be used.
Marking knives create highly accurate lines because the flat blade rides flush against a straightedge and cuts through wood fibers and grain contours that can cause a pencil to waver. They’re the tool of choice for most fine woodworking projects.
Scratch awls also cut through fibers and grain, but the round shaft causes the point to be offset slightly from the straightedge. Lines scored with a scratch awl are easier to see because they’re wider, which is especially helpful when marking softwoods.
Pencils are popular marking tools for rough carpentry and some woodworking tasks. A regular pencil sharpened to a fine point will create a fairly precise, readable line.
Lumber Pencils require less frequent sharpening and create dark, highly readable lines.
Tips for scribing and laying out:
- Use a white pencil to mark dark-colored wood, like hardboard or walnut.
- Attach Medium-grit sandpaper to your toolbox to make a convenient and safe sharpener for lumber pencils.
- Use a grease pencil to mark metal, plastic and other materials that can’t be marked clearly with a pencil.
- Use a sliding T-bevel to transfer angles to your workpiece.
- Transfer grid drawings to your workpiece by drawing a scaled grid, then re-creating the pattern using the grid as a reference.
- Make a sturdy template from hardboard or another durable material when making multiple parts with the same profile.
Getting Started With Woodworking Hand Tools – Layout and Marking Tools
Rob introduces what he considers the essential layout and marking tools for those particularly interested in hand methods. Squares, dividers, gauges, winding sticks, the better the tools the better the work and the more enjoyable.
What Measuring and Marking Tools Do You Use?
This time, I show my measuring and marking tools. I also share how and when I use them in my work.