Edge Center Locator - My 9 Step Process

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Blog entry by ChunkyC posted 01-04-2010 05:28 AM 1115 reads 2 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I needed to find the center of the edge of board tonight so I figured I’d toss together a Center Locator Tool and document my process. You’ve all seen these 100 x before but this is how I make them.

It should be noted that the overall dimensions are not critical at all. We’re going to be using the fact that the radius of a circle is the always the same. My dowels are about 3” apart

You can click on the pictures for larger versions. Remember that the pics don’t open a new window here so use your back button to get back here. [gripe]Man I wish they would fix that… [/gripe]

What you’ll need:
- A suitable piece scrape for the locator stock. Mine happened to be walnut about 5/8 square. (the size doesn’t matter as long as it’s wide enough for the dowels.
- A piece of hardboard or other thin scrap ripped to the width of the locator stock.
- Dowel rod. I used 3/8 but I think 1/4” might work better but 3/8” was all that I had on hand.
- A finish nail.
- Pencil, combination square, drill press and bits and a method of sharping the pin to a sharp point. In other words, basic woodworking tools, nothing fancy here kids.
- 30 minutes or so of your time.

Step 1: Find the center!
Start by finding the center of the hardboard and your stock. I use a combination square. Find the ‘center’, move the square to the other side and mark again. If the lines are exactly on top of one another, your not in the center. Adjust until you are exactly in the center.

Mark a line about 2 to 3” in from one end. Mark a second line about 1” to 1-1/2” over. Again, the exact distance isn’t important at all.


Step 2: Drilling Time
Drill a through hole at the first line scribed in that hardboard that is large enough for the finish nail to go through. This hole should be a loose fit because the hardboard will need to “spin” on the nail.

Drill a through hole through the stock that is a “tight fit” for the finish nail. Mine was a 3/32” hole.

If you done it correctly, you should have something like this


Step 3: More drilling.
Now align the hardboard with the stock and drill through the hardboard and just MARK the stock. All we want is the reference from the center, the nail, to the dowel.

Now “spin” the hardbaord on the nail and MARK the other side.

Now our dowels will be exactly the same distance from the center pin. At this point we’re done with the hardboard so you can set it aside.


Step 4: It’s Fostner Time
Chuck up a fostner bit in the drill press that fits your dowel and drill two blind holes for the dowels. Mine were 1/4” deep. These are the holes to the outside of the center pin hole.

Step 5: Cut’in Time
Cut the stock to length. I cut mine 3/8” from the outside of the dowel pin. I used my miter saw w/ zero clearance fence.


Step 6: Round-Tuit
Cut your dowels to length. I cut mine at 1-1/4”.


Step 7: Get Sharp
Sharpen you nail (pin) to a nice point in the center. I chucked the nail into my hand drill and sharpened it on my Worksharp. You can use the drill press and sand paper, a grinder, or what your wish.


Step 8: Assembly Time
Glue your dowels into the stock and cut your pin to length. (You can see that I haven’t cut my pin yet. I’m still looking for that darned hacksaw…)


Step 9: Action Jackson
Here we are with the money shot!

Now if your paying close attention, you may notice that there’s something different about the pictures at the end. Well when I bored my 3/8 holes, I picked up the 5/16 bit and had to try again.


-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

2 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3645 days

#1 posted 01-04-2010 05:45 AM

this is a great accessory to have… now – why haven’t I made one already is beyond me… thanks for the reminder!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3557 days

#2 posted 01-04-2010 06:23 AM

I like that – think I’ll build one tomorrow.

-- Joe

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