simple key to successful woodworking is avoiding mistakes.
And avoiding mistakes requires proper project planning.
The first stage of planning starts with a single thought
. . . “I want to build X.” It could be a simple birdhouse
or an elaborate chest of drawers on rolling casters with
shelves and a mirror.
Then, you choose your materials, do a rough estimate of
the size you want it to be, plan the joints or cuts you’ll
use for assembly and do a sketch of how you think the finished
project should look.
But before you can create a Bill of Materials or decide
what tools and accessories you may need to do the job, you’ll
need a dimensioned drawing or layout to follow. Without
this, you’ll be a lot like Stanley Livingston in the jungles
of Africa . . . LOST!
To start with, every shop needs a graduated Steel
Rule and a Square
for measuring and for marking lines and 90-degree angles.
For unparralleled ease of finding the centers of your workpieces,
nothing beats a Center-Finding
The measuring and setting of precise angles is also important
in woodworking. The Oriental
Miter Square is perfect for picture framers and cabinet
makers. Draftsman’s Triangles
(available in a 30 / 60 / 90-degree configuration or a 45
/ 90-degree configuration) are an excellent choice for measuring
and marking the most common angles.
However, they won’t work for many “odd” angles. Duplicate
unknown angles is a snap with the Rosewood
When turning on the lathe, Inside and Outside Calipers are
a must. And, since they can measure both thickness and diameter,
they’re also ideal for taking measurements when planing
or sanding workpieces. An ordinary school-type pencil compass
or our Yardstick Compass
Points will help you draw perfectly round circles. And
when you need to copy or re-size elaborate patterns, there’s
nothing like a Pantograph.
Almost any custom design you can dream of can be created
and transferred easily with this unique device. Just guide
the metal stylus to trace your pattern and the Pantograph
will draw an exact replica of that pattern on a separate
sheet of paper or directly onto your workpiece. And it can
be adjusted to enlarge or reduce your original design, or
trace it at the same size. To transferring full-size patterns
to your wood stock without using carbon paper, use the Pounce
And finally, there is the matter of marking your material.
Most woodworkers use a pencil, but we recommend you restrict
the pencil strictly to compass work, using a light touch
and a hard lead. A pencil loses its sharpness quickly and
as it dulls, your lines become wider and therefore less
Alway use an eraser to remove any pencil marks from your
workpiece as sanding them off will only force the lead deeper
into the grain.
The best tools for the vast majority of your markings are
either a scribe or an artist’s or striking knife.
Any of these tools will give you a fine, even line that’s
easy to follow and won’t leave the imbedded lead a pencil