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Razor-fine layout lines

Pages in this Story:
Learn the basics first
Enlarge Image
A marking gauge ensures the
mortise-wall layout lines run
perfectly parallel to the workpiece side.
meticulous 2
Enlarge Image
A marking gauge ensures the
mortise-wall layout lines
run perfectly parallel to the workpiece
Maticulous 3
Enlarge Image
With the knife in the mortise-end line
of the first leg, slide the square up
against it, and then mark the other leg
for an exact match

Learn the basics first

•: Sharpen your knives on a fine-grit stone or sandpaper by simply pressing the bevel against the surface and dragging back and forth a few times. Remove the burr from the flat side by making a couple of passes on the abrasive. It won't take long to put a keen edge on the knife.
•: You don't need to score deeply, just enough that a chisel or handsaw will seat in the kerf. With coarse-grained woods, such as oak or ash, the marking knife might follow the grain rather than your straightedge. To avoid this, make the first scoring pass lightly, and follow with successively greater pressure, deepening the kerf.

Here are some examples of when a keen marking knife will leave a pencil looking dull.

Locating mortises

A mortise-and-tenon joint requires a precise fit to be strong and attractive. To lay out a mortise, as shown on the table legs above right, first mark the mortise sides with a marking gauge. Next, mark the top and bottom of the mortise with a marking knife and a square. Once you've got a mortise located on one table leg, use it to lay out the mortise ends for the other legs. Simply clamp the legs together and grab a square to transfer the lines. You can also use your marking gauge or knife to mark the shoulders for the tenons on the mating workpieces.

Continued on page 3:  Sizing up project parts


Comments (5)
grooverjamesr wrote:

To make a marking knife, all you really need is an old saw blade from a saws all. reciprocating saws use a thin blade and is prefect for the application. Simply cut a 45 degree angle at the tip and remove all the teeth with a grinder then make two pieces of nice wood for the handle and glue them on and sand, varnish and viola!

12/25/2014 09:41:39 PM Report Abuse
vtxman wrote:

I like to pickup old paring knives at garage sales then grind them to the profile I like for a marking gage. It's nice to have multiple marking knives for different situations.

4/11/2013 06:44:26 PM Report Abuse
rlambert94 wrote:

The caption attached to the photo above doesn't mention anything about dovetailing. After reading the whole article, everything makes sense.

7/30/2012 04:09:11 AM Report Abuse
Gee-Dub wrote:

I don't know that it is "who wrote this article" as much as it may be who picked the photos(?).

7/22/2010 10:24:17 AM Report Abuse
rupps3 wrote:

I don't know who will be cutting your dovetail pins but if you use the marking method pictured above, then they'll have a hard time. It appears you are using the "pins first" method for transfer, however, you're using a TAIL board. Who wrote this article?

6/19/2010 05:15:48 PM Report Abuse

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