For the manner in which men live is so different from the way in which they ought to live, that he who leaves the common course for that which he ought to follow will find that it leads him to ruin rather than safety.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Squaring up

Important in making anything, whether in wood or metal, is making parts square. It's easy in metal, I put it in the mill. In wood, however, I need to plane by hand. It's nice when it all works out.

Even for simple projects, before anything else can happen, the stock you're using needs to be as square as you can get it. I'm not going to get into the process here, really. I was just very happy yesterday evening when I planed up a piece and found that it was as near perfect as I could imagine.

One of my 6" machinist's squares. I like them because they are way more accurate than a typical woodworking square. This particular one is within .0006" over it's length. I have a couple of different sizes here at home. I also use them at my shop and at work. My local hardware store has them and they are reasonably priced. Most would say that a square made to this level of accuracy is not required for woodworking, and they are likely correct. However, when you factor in cost, it's the best choice. I get these for about $20.

When I cut the length of a piece of stock, I mark out all the way around it. Usually I would use a marking knife, but my camera had trouble seeing it. For the pictures I used a mechanical pencil. Here, I have marked across the face side and edge. Unless I'm just chopping off, I mark all the way around with the knife since it helps control tearing out from the saw.

As I wrap the markings around the piece they will meet up on the other side. The difference between the lines shows how far out of square the piece is. In this case, I did a good job.

So, yeah, I'm just happy with myself, that's all.

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