Yesterday’s article resulted in several suggestions on how to mark work pieces, to keep proper board orientation. I received replies from a post at Google+, and also as a Comment to the article here on the blog. For the benefit of everyone reading this, I summarize the replies below.
Marking work pieces
Steve said (Comment on the blog):
I’ll add a couple of tips:
1) You can use masking tape (blue painter’s tape) to write on if you are worried about marking up the wood or your pencil lead rubbing off.
2) I also like to number my corners, writing a number on both boards that meet. That way, if you’ve numbered them all, they only go together properly if you match the numbers.
And on Google+:
(requires a Google+ account)
- From Stephen: …I use a numerical numbering system; even numbers on the left side and odd numbers on the right side, works for boxes and frames too.
- From Shannon: I use triangles on the tops of boards. I break a triangle apart on each board. When I see it I can immediately tell I’m looking at the top of the board and the left, right, front, or back.
Why not just use pencil marks?
Pencil marks are hard to remove completely, and are likely to leave an impression of the tip even after using alcohol to remove them. Peter Follansbee takes his aversion to pencil marks to an extreme — until recently, he had not used a pencil in the shop in five years. He recently used a pencil was to mark the position of spindles and legs on the seat of a chair. He uses either a marking knife for joinery, or gouges to mate the matching pieces for joinery. This is brilliant; but Peter makes 17th C pieces. I suspect people might object to seeing such marks on more modern pieces.
As you noticed in my post of yesterday, I use chalk on black walnut. This makes it easy to see all markings I make; the chalk can be removed easily by wiping, followed by thorough sanding prior to applying the finish on a work piece. Chalk also stands out on much lighter woods; that is another thing I like about using chalk.
I am selling
- I suppose I am selling insurance when I suggest you use of chalk when marking work pieces.
- I am simply stating that it is my preference — and, hopefully, making your experience with marking joinery just a bit better.
- Do YOU have other choices, or are they covered in the results of the informal survey I shared above?
- If you use hand planes to get the surfaces ready for the finish, do you use a pencil to layout and mark the joinery?