Block of wood
A common cause of inaccuracy when using a metal rule is in measuring in from the edge of a work-piece. The problem is positioning the rule so that it’s absolutely flush with the edge. Many woodworkers use their finger as a stop and press the rule into their finger. Good idea, but the rule will often go past the edge when pressed into the resilient flesh. A better solution is to use a scrap of wood as a stop. I always have a few small scraps of MDF (medium-density fiber- board) lying around just for this. MDF is super- flat and resistant to warp. Just press the scrap firmly against the edge of the work-piece and thenbutt the end of the rule up against the scrap.
Center of a board
Here’s a quick tip for finding the center of a board with a rule. Position one end of the rule flush with the edge of the work-piece (the scrap block tip mentioned above works great here). Then pivot the rule until a n u m b e r that’s easily divisible by 2 rests directly over the opposite edge. Divide this n u m b e r in half and mark the center.
Dividing a board equally
Quick: You need to divide a board that’s 9 5/8″ wide into five equal parts. The solution? Modify the “center of a board” trick above. Place an end of the rule flush with one edge of the work- piece. Pivot the rule until anumber (10, in this case) that’s easily divisible by the desired units rests directly over the opposite edge. Then mark to create equal spacing.