Layout Multi-tool for Surprise Toolswap

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Project by HokieKen posted 02-13-2017 05:17 PM 3570 views 8 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This tool was my contribution to the Surprise Toolswap we’re just wrapping up. We had a great time in the swap and hope to see even more LJs in future ones! LJ Ripthorn is who I was assigned to ship my tool to. I hope he gets good use out of it!

This tool was a result of just “winging it” on the design. I initially started out to make a wood version of the Stanley Odd Job. I even bought a chunk of wood, a steel ruler and the hardware for it. But as I got closer to actually making sawdust, I realized more and more that it would be more of a novelty and less of a tool that would actually be used in someone’s shop.

I still had the idea of a layout tool that could perform multiple functions in my head though. So, long story short… this is the result.

The main beam is a 24” section of T-track set into a Walnut and Oak lamination. Then, I made a fence based off the shape of a t-square head. The fence is Jatoba and Walnut with a brass wear strip. The fence serves double-duty for the panel gauge and the story stick. I installed a HDPE key in a dado in the fence to ride in the t-track to keep it square. The fence knob is turned from a piece of Cocobolo.

Next, I made the story stick tabs. They’re just simple pieces of Jatoba with the front angled to a point and a V-notch filed in for a pencil. The thumb nuts were made with brass knurled nuts and Purpleheart. I drilled a bore the same size as the brass nut into the wood and epoxied thin pieces onto the top of the nuts. Then I turned them to diameter on the lathe. Finally I used my small laser engraver to personalize them for Ripthorn.

Next was the panel gauge attachment. I made the attachment so it hugs the end of the main beam and locates firmly. I had a point from a drafting set that uses a collet to hold either a 2mm steel point or 2mm lead. I drilled a hole at an angle for the drafting point so it would be trailing the tool and used a small brass thumb screw to fix it in place. The attachment is Jatoba and Purpleheart with maple dowels. If the tool never sees duty using any of the other attachments, I think it functions very well as a panel gauge and a beam compass.

Which brings me to the next attachments. The trammel points are made of laminated Jatoba and Purpleheart. One has a fixed steel point and the other uses the same drafting pointer used in the panel gauge attachment. I drilled and tapped the tops and used epoxy and threaded rod to attach the brass pieces on the top because I just thought they looked nice :-)

The final attachments were a last minute brainstorm. They are caliper heads that can be used to measure the width of a board and then the opposite side can be used to set a fence or transfer a measurement to another piece. Unfortunately, they have a little too much play to be precise but I think the proof-of-concept is there and functional pieces could easily be made if desired.

Thanks for looking. Comments and questions are always welcome!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

21 comments so far

View Kelly's profile


2125 posts in 3141 days

#1 posted 02-13-2017 05:20 PM

That’s one of those things that the likes of us would be happy to frame and mount on a wall, as a center piece in our shop. Who woulda thought sharpened T-track would be so desirable?

Kuddos, on a large scale (and those other guys take back everything they’re going to say about you this coming week).

View ShaneA's profile


7051 posts in 2795 days

#2 posted 02-13-2017 05:22 PM

Whoa! Great job. That is very nice.

View dannmarks's profile


700 posts in 778 days

#3 posted 02-13-2017 05:46 PM

Truly cool and beautiful – as well as useful.

View jbee's profile


65 posts in 892 days

#4 posted 02-13-2017 05:50 PM

Well done Kenny!
Nice concept and execution.

-- Life is good! Make the most of it.

View jeffswildwood's profile


3589 posts in 2174 days

#5 posted 02-13-2017 05:50 PM

Ken, this is one amazing item! Definitely creative and thinking out of the box. As I said, you better patent this before Starrett sees it. Wonderful job!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Woodknack's profile


12426 posts in 2577 days

#6 posted 02-13-2017 05:58 PM


-- Rick M,

View pottz's profile


3491 posts in 1181 days

#7 posted 02-13-2017 06:18 PM

very nice work kenny,professional grade tool,id say ripthorn is going to be happy with this tool,if hes not tell him to regift to me-lol.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Mambrax's profile


157 posts in 1688 days

#8 posted 02-13-2017 06:30 PM

awesome !!!!!!!

-- Let's do the best we can !

View JayT's profile


5957 posts in 2408 days

#9 posted 02-13-2017 07:29 PM

Nicely thought out and constructed. You obviously can think outside the box and don’t have a one t-track mind.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Kelster58's profile


670 posts in 737 days

#10 posted 02-13-2017 08:41 PM

Very nice….Anyone would be proud to own that. You did a GREAT job !!

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View ToddJB's profile


8293 posts in 2327 days

#11 posted 02-13-2017 09:05 PM

So rad. Great job, Kenny.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


8516 posts in 2773 days

#12 posted 02-13-2017 09:55 PM

Great work Kenny!

View KelleyCrafts's profile


3299 posts in 936 days

#13 posted 02-13-2017 10:55 PM

Love this set. I want one. I might make a setup. At lminimum the story stick portion but like it all.

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View KelleyCrafts's profile


3299 posts in 936 days

#14 posted 02-13-2017 11:28 PM

Daily top 3 too! Congrats.

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View ColonelTravis's profile


1930 posts in 2090 days

#15 posted 02-13-2017 11:29 PM

That’s nice HK.

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