Marking Wood for Woodworkers


For all rough work the ordinary carpenter's pencil, sharpened flatways, like a screw-driver, is the most convenient and durable instrument. For nicer work, where you need more accurate lines, the common round pencil (medium hard or rather soft) is all you need, but for nice, close work (such as marking accurate joints), a knife, the corner of a chisel, a making-awl, or a scriber of some sort is necessary. There is no need to buy any tool for this, although they are to be had - nothing is better than a common pocket-knife or a chisel. Keep your pencils sharp by rubbing them on a piece of fine sandpaper, or an old file. In scribing with the chisel, the edge is drawn along with one comer slightly raised and the flat side next the straight-edge, holding the tool either like a pencil or for deeper scoring as in Fig. 565.

Marking Fig. 565

In all marking and scribing, whether with pencil, awl, knife, chisel, or other tool, be sure that the marking edge is kept close up to the rule, straight-edge, or square, as it will often tend to follow the grain of the wood and run off the line, and will sometimes force the straight-edge or square out of position if the latter is not held firmly.

Do not try to stop lines which meet at a given point, but let them cross one another when they will not show in the finished work, as it is quicker to do so and the crossing of two lines marks a point more accurately than a dot. For work to be finished, however, scoring the surface with lines should be avoided wherever they will show, as they will become conspicuous after the work is finished.

In marking lines with a. straight-edge or ruler you must be careful that it does not slip. If it is long you can put weights on it. To mark a line accurately through given points, the ruler should not quite touch the points, but be pushed almost up to them and equally distant from each (Fig. 566). This will give you a clear view of both points so that you can be sure that the pencil or whatever you mark with will go as nearly as possible through the centre of each. Bearing the pencil against the edge of the ruler, you can slant it a trifle till the pencil-point will just coincide with the given point on the wood, and, keeping the same inclination, move the pencil along the ruler, and it should also go through the second given point. This applies to a regular ruler with a comparatively thin edge, and to fine work only. In marking by a thick edge, or where extreme nicety is not required, you will of course put the straight-edge right up to the points and run the pencil-point along in the angle (Fig. 567).


Besides marking lines, the straight-edge (in some form), is used to determine whether a surface is true.

For rough, off-hand marking, particularly on undressed stock, chalk is often best. Sticks, shaped like school-crayons, of graphite or some black composition, are good for rough marking.

The chalk-line is used for distances too great to be covered conveniently by a straight-edge and in places where the latter could not so well be used. The chalk-line is a chalked cord drawn taut between the two points to be connected. It is better to use a small cord than a large one, and blue chalk is often preferred to white. Fasten one end of the cord with a loop around an awl or nail at one end of the desired line, and from this point chalk the cord, holding it between the thumb and the chalk so that the cord will bear on the flat side of the chalk in such a way as to wear it away evenly without cutting it in two. Then draw the chalked cord tight to the other end of the desired line and, holding the end down with one hand, lift the cord from as near the middle as practicable with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand and let it snap back on to the surface. The cord should be raised squarely from the work and not pulled slantingly to one side or the line will not be straight.


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