Technique #2: Layout Tips

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Blog entry by DoctorDan posted 07-18-2010 08:38 AM 1231 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Looking for Feedback on my Dovetails Part 2 of Technique series no next part

When laying or marking out a project, depending on the task at hand I’ve been known to use a carpenters pencil, a mechanical pencil, a blue pen, a piece of chalk, and a marking knife. As I had the camera in the shop for a few progress pics of the shaker table I took a couple of photos to show how I attempt to accurately mark out cuts.

Step 1: The Marking Knife
The marking knife is the most accurate as it leaves the thinnest line. It also has the advantage that you can place a chisel easily and accurately in the resulting groove. It’s disadvantage is you need to be aware that areas you cut will show in the final piece. The most important thing when selecting a marking knife is that it is diamond shaped so you can mark left and right sided. Here I’m using a Vesper Tools marking knife.

Step 2: The Mechanical Pencil
A 0.5mm mechanical pencil will follow nicely along the groove made by the marking knife. This highlights the otherwise dull groove.

Step 3: The Eraser
This tip I picked up in one of the woodworking mags. By quickly running an eraser over the line you remove all the pencil other than that in bottom of the groove.

Step 4: The Chisel
The final step before reaching for a saw involves the chisel. Deepen the groove vertically (being careful not to bruise the fibers on the project side.) Then from waste side pare back to your line about 2-3mm, creating a |/ groove. This creates a track for your saw or chisel to work in.

The End Result
One of the end cap tenons for the table.

-- Daniel -

4 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7234 posts in 3377 days

#1 posted 07-18-2010 10:02 AM

I have read about this … never tried it.. looks like a good tip…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3087 days

#2 posted 07-18-2010 11:27 AM

Thanks for the tip.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3138 days

#3 posted 07-18-2010 10:21 PM

thank´s for the tip
now I remember what we used to do in the schooltime when we had sløjd :—)
excactly this tecnic :-) highlightning with a pencil
thank´s once more


View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3588 days

#4 posted 11-19-2010 12:57 PM

Thanks Dan, that is one of those “why didn’t i think of that” tips. Good one.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

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