Marking and layout

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 04-19-2015 09:00 PM 830 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MrRon's profile


3898 posts in 2667 days

04-19-2015 09:00 PM

When laying out lines on wood, how do you compensate for the thickness of your pencil line? If you are using a marking knife, no problem, but sometimes you need to make a mark without scribing into the wood. If I strike a line with a marking knife and then draw a line with a pencil, the distance between the scribed line and the pencil line can be as much as 1/32”. When I layout a line, I will back off a smidgeon to compensate for the line to scribe distance.

9 replies so far

View lateralus819's profile


2236 posts in 1314 days

#1 posted 04-19-2015 09:36 PM

Ill usually run my tape measuer, then strike a line.

Then i go back and re-measure to see where on that line my mark falls. It usually works pretty well. Sometimes it’s the left of it or the right or right in the middle.

View altendky's profile


169 posts in 1634 days

#2 posted 04-19-2015 10:40 PM

If you start such that the point of the pencil is against the edge and keep the pencil in the same orientation then even as it wears, the edge of the pencil line should remain with the straight edge. Obviously, some are has to be taken with angles and not to ride under the straight edge etc. But, point is that you would not follow the center of the pencil line but rather the edge. I’m no expert but that’s how I would approach maintaining precision with a pencil line. Hopefully you get some really experience replies.

View Mykos's profile


102 posts in 1219 days

#3 posted 04-20-2015 02:29 AM

I pretty much always use a striking knife for lines that will be cut. When I do use pencil lines, I use my drafting clutch pencil with 2H leads.

It can be sharpened to a very fine point. Finer than 0.3mm mechanical pencils. Of course, it needs to be kept sharpened but 2H lead wears slow enough for me. And most of the time if the job warrants pencil then I don’t need 0.3mm precision.

View Andre's profile


993 posts in 1230 days

#4 posted 04-20-2015 02:51 AM

I use a Stadler pencil and keep it very sharp, and always cut to the inside of the line. LOL!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View unbob's profile


699 posts in 1327 days

#5 posted 04-20-2015 02:51 AM

Old draftsman’s trick using 2mm lead holders, or regular drafting pencils, is rotate the pencil as a line is being drawn, keeping the line consistent. I usually use a fairly soft lead with a light touch.
If you can find them, drafting machine scales work pretty good for lay out on wood….that is, for me.

View Bluepine38's profile


3337 posts in 2509 days

#6 posted 04-20-2015 03:38 PM

I have found that every pencil mark is made a little different, and I have to remember where to cut on
the mark. This is usually on construction work where you are cutting with a skill saw. Reminds me of a
remark Norm Abram made in his book “Measure Twice, Cut Once” you marked it, you cut it. On two or
more man projects such as cutting and installing baseboard and molding you need a sharp pencil and call
out whether you cut short, long or in the middle of the line. When you make your own quatersawn
oak molding, it has to fit perfect.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

483 posts in 1105 days

#7 posted 04-20-2015 03:54 PM

I tend to put the pencil mark on the waste piece so I cut the line just shaving the edge of the line facing the keep piece. If I have to do something different I’ll place a little tick mark facing the edge of the pencil mark I want. I’m pretty sure I picked that habit up watching New Yankee Workshop.

When using hand tools I rarely use pencil marks and mostly use knife edges placing the bevel into the waste.

View MrRon's profile


3898 posts in 2667 days

#8 posted 04-20-2015 06:38 PM

For my carpentry projects, a pencil and tape suffice. For woodworking projects, I tend to work to precision limits, ±.001”. That’s the machinist part of me asserting it’s influence.

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 655 days

#9 posted 04-20-2015 07:49 PM

wood putty.

You could sharpen your pencil per old drafting methodology: sandpaper.

Im so heavy handed that I cant use a very sharp pencil.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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