Properly Mark Your Tools
Sharp and snappy
A sharp pencil is indispensable for making precise layouts. One way to keep your pencils sharp at all times is to tape or hot glue a strip of medium-grit sandpaper or an emery board to your work bench or a nearby wall. To sharpen a pencil just rub the point back and forth a few times against the abrasive surface. To achieve the chisel-shaped point that’s best for marking wood, sand only the opposite sides of the point.
Another one-handed sharpener
You can also hot glue a small plastic pencil sharpener to the underside of your workbench. Position
the sharpener over a rubbish bin to catch the shavings.
The colored chalk used for snapping lines is heavily visible, but it can be hard to remove from porous
surfaces such as brick and unfinished wood. To make cleanup easier in such cases, an extra Chalk box filled with talcum powder is just what you need. The white powder is almost as visible as chalk on dark colored surfaces and is easy to remove. On lighter surfaces, however, the white can be hard to see.
Snap line holder
When snapping a chalk line, both ends of the line must be anchored while the line is snapped. On wood, tie the line around a nail driven into one end of the stock or panel. Or cut saw kerfs and hook the string in the kerf
To avoid having to resharpen and re-position the little pencil in a compass over and over again, substitute a mechanical pencil for the wood one. You have a durable marking tool that needs no sharpening and little adjusting. All you have to do to get a fresh point is pushed down on (or twist) the end.
Ceramic tiles, glass and metal are hard to mark. One solution is to cover the area to be marked with a tape that easy to peel off, such as artist tape, or with a sheet of contact adhesive paper such as shelf liner. This way you’ll be able to draw your cutting lines. Leave the tape contact paper in place until you’ve finished cutting.
A length of chain is a handy aid when drawing circles. Drive the tip of a nail into the center of your circle and use this nail as a pivot point. Slip the end of the chain over the nail, insert the point of a pencil at the desired radius and draw this circle. For the most accurate results keep the pencil perpendicular and the chain taught.
A 50 mm wide strip of pegboard makes a great substitute trammel-a tool used to mark large circles-because the board’s holes offer a variety of radii. To use your pegboard trammel, first locate the pivot point by fastening one end of the board to the work-piece with a screw that fits the hole, but leave it a little loose so that the strip can pivot freely. Place a pencil in the appropriate hole and rotate the pegboard to draw an arc or circle.