In the past, most old guys like me jealously protected their shortcuts and tricks to guard their job from competitors. I’ve seen many old fellows actually turn and place their bodies in front of their work to keep someone else from seeing how they did something, and they were not too bashful about doing so either. But, a lot of the old knowledge is disappearing now and some hard-learned things may disappear forever. I’ve learned a few tricks in my six decades of work related experience, and wish to pass a few tips along here, as I have time.
Tricks and shortcuts develop over time, depending on the trade. Some are to save time, make things easier, or more accurate. Some are time-tested and in general use, and others are peculiar to a particular shop or craft. I plan to present some I have used – and still do – hoping others may profit from them. Some you may already know, depending on your level of experience, and others may be new to you. In the end, my hope is overall, these little tips add to your knowledge and experience.
First, this one, which I call ‘Poor Man’s Scribe’, is simple and obvious. In many shops you use the same few settings to scribe lines in from the edge of your stock – say for a line of screws or nails, or to sand, tape, saw or chisel too. Of course most wood shop people will have a scribing tool with infinite settings which can be used. But, it is much handier to have a simple little jig, or ‘multi-tool’ for this purpose, which can often fit 75% or more of your scribe spacing needs. And, depending on how big you make it, will not ‘rock’ like a scribe tends to do.
The pictures explain this little tool, and it can be made to fit your four most commonly used scribe spacings. In my case it’s 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2” and 3/4”, all labeled plainly. Put a hole in it for your finger and to hang it by, and PAINT IT RED (or other bright color) to keep it from getting lost in your bench clutter!
This will take mere minutes to make and save lots of time. Just some short thin battens, tacked/glued to a bit of ply. I have made some of these with bevels at the end to reach into corners, but they are then ‘handed’. Let your needs be your guide.
-- ''Woodworking has always been the best therapy for me!''