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Terrific Shop Tips

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Creepy Eye ball floating in space by card and boards

Pinhole view puts flatness in focus

To check the surface of a panel for twists or warps, many woodworkers use winding sticks. You lay two straight-edged sticks on the panel and sight across the top edges of the sticks. If the panel isn't flat, the edges of the sticks won't appear to be parallel. I've used this method in the past, but as I've gotten older, my eyesight doesn't allow me to focus on both sticks at once.

To overcome this problem, I punch a small hole (less than 1/32") in a note card. Sighting through this "pinhole aperture," as shown, increases the depth of field and brings everything into clear focus. I use the same technique to sight along the edge of boards to check them for straightness.

-- Jeff Gaynor, Rootstown, Ohio

Build Flawlessly Flat Panels

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Comments (3)
rmacomson wrote:

If the board is bowed in the middle, the edges of the winding sticks could still appear to to be parallel but the board wouldn't be flat. Same for a board bowed from side to side. Dial indicator will give most accurate determination of flatness; just be sure wood doesn't rock when moved under indicator. Dr.Bob

8/15/2013 04:18:02 PM Report Abuse
ronin47111 wrote:

You may also put a fine line on top of the front stick and a few horizontal parallel fine lines on the rear stick, this way you'll see if it's flat or not.

10/25/2012 02:47:50 PM Report Abuse
rickandjansplace wrote:

Thank God for us old folks, age does have it's advantages in other words-- pay attention kiddies

9/1/2011 02:06:03 PM Report Abuse

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