Quick Poll

Cutting pieces accurately while building your projects is an essential skill to master.

Unfortunately, I have yet to truly master the task.  But, hey, a fire on a chilly December night isn’t the worst thing to happen.

When woodworkers want – and need – accuracy when measuring, they turn to some tried and true methods. Some involve a hand-held linear device that provides a visual readout comparing the depth of snow to a universally understood unit of measurement.  You know, a ruler.  Others involve marking the length directly from the project.

So, this week, when you need an accurate measurement, how do you get it?

[poll id=”103″]

5 thoughts on “Quick Poll”

  1. I voted for “Something else”….Not because I use something else but, because I use most all of the above. It all depends on what Im building and how accurate it needs to be.
    If you need two pieces to be “exactly” the same, the smart money is on cutting both pieces at the same time. 🙂 If you need something to fit between other fixed pieces, I cut it a bit long and then nibble away a 1/2 saw kurff at a time until it fits.


  2. I voted “story stick” but in retrospect, I use a steel ruler (incra) to get my initial measurements and then move those measurements to a story stick for repeat cuts.

    My success with a tape measure are less than accurate.

  3. Tom,
    As Marc states over and over, “Relative Dimensioning” is both faster & more accurate than any other method. I once may a very custom trim for the windows in my old bedroom. The windows were Anderson’s biggest picture window, flanked by double-hungs in a single unit. All 3 windows received a single inner frame which included jam extensions where it touched the windows and firring where it touched the walls (it was an exact depth to house the blinds). I used relative dimensioning to measure each piece and then assembled the entire thing in my work shop. It was only when my Dad asked me how it fit as we were carrying the unit into the bedroom that it occurred to me that I might have tried to test fit it before gluing the whole damn thing together. Thankfully it fit fine, and I’ve been sold on relative dimensioning ever since.

  4. Ditto Roger’s post.

    And I don’t see relative dimensioning and unit-based measurement as some sort of mutually-exclusive dichotomy. Each has its place. Which is basically what Roger said.

  5. I use direct measurement when that is possible. However, I think sometimes woodworkers forget that wood moves. Not just a little but a lot. Usually the sander is your friend. Nothing you can do about a length that is too short. Except return to the wood pile. Would I use a steel rule over a metal tape. Not if I had the tape with me. The point I have always held is to use the same measuring tool each time on the project. Something as simple as picking up a different tape or rule can cause problems. Having worked in and being in charge of case and millwork shops. I insisted that all employees used the company furnished rule. Which we replaced on a regular basics.

    Good Luck with your projects and remember the end results always justify the tools to get there.

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