Maintaining Measurement Accuracy
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tips for choosing and using the RIGHT measuring & marking
tools for the job
and marking-out your workpieces is a vital step in the process
of building every project. A foul-up here will ruin your project
and cause untold frustrations.
are 7 valuable tips for making certain this step in the process
is done correctly:
Buy good quality measuring and marking tools. Cheap rules
with inconsistent, 1/16" thick dimensional lines won't cut
it...and neither will squares and angle markers that are not
precise. This is one place where spending a few extra bucks
will make a significant difference in the quality of your
NEVER use one measuring device for some of the components
of your project - and another device for others. There are
often measurement inconsistencies between rules that will
affect the fit of your components.
Some rules are made of thick materials that position their
surfaces 1/16" or more above the surfaces of your workpieces.
If you're using a rule like this, tilt it toward vertical
to bring the measurement marks closer to your workpiece to
avoid the "parallax effect".
Thicknesses are best measured with a device such as a dial
caliper. When buying such devices, remember that inexpensive
plastic models with 1/64" graduations are available for woodworkers.
If you can't find one of these, affordable metal versions
are also available. These are typically graduated in .001"
increments...more than enough resolution for any kind of woodworking
task ! These devices also typically contain a feature that
will allow you to accurately measure the depths of dadoes,
holes and mortises.
If you're using a pencil to mark out a line, be sure it's
SHARP. A dull pencil, held vertically to a workpiece surface
during mark-out will surely produce an improperly positioned
line. It's best to use a #3 or harder pencil, which will hold
its point longer and produce a lighter line, requiring less
effort to remove.
For the most accurate mark-outs on wood, use a sharp knife
(such as an artist's utility knife) or scratch awl with its
point sharpened to a knife-like edge.
7. When marking metals, glass, plastics or similar
hard materials, use a diamond-pointed scribe.