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Tips for Measuring and Marking
“Measure twice, cut once.” You’ve probably heard that age-old expression hundreds of times, but for good reason. It’s all too easy to measure wrong—a simple mistake that can throw off your entire project—which is why it never hurts to double-check yourself. In this edition of Kreg Plus, we’ll discuss tools and techniques that will help you achieve accurate and consistent results every time.

Choose the Right Tools

A tape measure, hook rule, and steel rule are just a few of the measuring tools that you’ll want to have access to. When choosing a tape measure, pick a brand you trust. A smaller tape (10' or 12') should be suitable to keep in the shop for projects. When it comes to steel rules, choose one with etched markings rather than one that is stamped or painted. Etched versions are typically more precise. Tools

Mark with the Right Device

A regular pencil is usually the go-to tool for marking cut lines, etc. A mechanical pencil is a great tool for high-precision marking. For dark surfaces, use a light pencil. If you’re worried about leaving a permanent mark, try chalk. On tile or other smooth, hard surfaces, a marker may work best. If you’re worried about leaving marks that can’t be removed, apply tape to the surface, and then make your marks on the tape. Mark With the Right Device

Mark Properly with a Square

The way you hold your pencil or marking knife against a straightedge while you mark can make a big difference. If you want your line to be on an exact measurement, make sure the tip of your pencil or knife is not angled away from the edge of the square or rule. An easy way to ensure consistent layout marks is to hold the point against the straightedge. Mark Defects

Simplify Centers

If you need to find the center of a piece, don’t bother trying to calculate half of an odd dimension. An easy solution is to hold the zero end of your tape measure or rule against one edge of your piece, and then tilt the tape or rule until the opposite end or edge of the workpiece lines up with an easily divisible whole number. Then you can mark the center much more easily. Simplify Centers

Take Two Measurements

Many times—when measuring inside a drawer or cabinet—people tend to bend their tape measure into a corner, which can create inaccuracy. For precise inside measurements, follow this simple method: Measure to a fixed dimension (like 10") and then measure back to it from the other side. Add the two numbers together to get the total dimension. Legs

Cabinetmaker's Mark

When laying out and grain matching boards for a panel or tabletop, it’s a smart idea to clearly identify how the pieces are arranged for properly reassembly. You can do that with a cabinetmaker’s mark. Just draw a large “V” on the face of the boards with chalk, which is easy to remove once you’re done. Simply reassemble the “V” to arrange the panel correctly. Legs
Cutting and Measuring

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