Layout Tip

Layout_IMG_6180I’ve watched many woodworkers use a tape measure to layout drawer locations; they hook the tip on the top or bottom of the case side, stretch the tape from end to end and mark the various locations as they travel the length of the case. They then repeat the steps for side #2. Are the little hairs on the back of your neck standing yet? Mine are.

First of all, you should only layout one side of your case, then use the first side to transfer measurements to the second side. And you should transfer your marks from the front edge to the front edge to eliminate any out-of-square square problems. (If your square is out by a half of degree, you lose accuracy as you transfer the line from front to back. If you then transfer the marks to your second side with your back edges matching and again draw in the lines with your square, you could double the inaccuracy. The results could be a case from hell – try to fit drawers to that mess!)

Second, please don’t use a tape to lay out critical measurements. You’re much better off using a steel rule. You’ll be more accurate.

My tip for layout is to align your rule at your drawer measurement plus 1″. In the photo above, my opening was 6-9/16″. I positioned the rule so that 7-9/16″ crossed the previous layout line. When you mark at 1″ (the correct height of the drawer), you can then slide down the thickness of your blade (mine was 3/4″) to mark the second edge – this marks the exact location (top and bottom) of the drawer blade, and you are not working at the extreme end of your rule. (If you click on the photo the image will get larger.)

It’s the little things that make a difference.

— Glen D. Huey

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One thought on “Layout Tip

  1. And use a #3 pencil, instead of a #2 crayon…

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