17 votes
Accepted

How do I drill a hole exactly in the center of a circle?

Finding the center Using Geometry There are a couple of ways to do this. Since your dowel is big enough you can do this by hand relatively easy. First would be to make 3 lines on the outside of the ...
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  • 20k
15 votes

How do I drill a hole exactly in the center of a circle?

My final solution was to just use a drill press to drill a 2" hole with a forstner bit partway through a block of wood, then a 5/16" hole the rest of the way, centered on the pilot hole from the ...
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  • 5,511
14 votes
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Caliper Showdown: Dial vs. Digital vs. Vernier

After doing a fair bit of research the general consensus is use whatever you have available and you feel comfortable with. That being said, there are several points worth making about all three tools ...
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11 votes
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What is a board foot?

A board foot is a volume of wood 1 inch by 12 inches by 12 inches; i.e., 144 cubic inches. If the board is 1/2" thick and 12" wide, one board foot would be 24" long. If the board is 2" thick and 6" ...
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11 votes
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Making removable marks on walls for e.g. cabinet installation

When I don't want to make messy marks, it's blue painter's tape all the way. (There are various options, in terms of how long you can leave it on. Just remember to peel it in time.)
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10 votes

When it comes to dovetails what is the significance of 1:6,1:7,1:8

What is the significance of the numbers? They represent ratios that determine a dovetails angle. So in the case of 1:6 - for every unit you move up you also move 6 units over. These ratios are not ...
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  • 20k
9 votes

Given final dimensions in mm, how do I choose what dimensional lumber (in customary units) to buy?

The confusion comes from nominal vs. actual dimensions of dimensional lumber. Typically a solid wood board sold in customary/imperial units is slightly smaller along its thickness and width, the ...
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  • 18.5k
9 votes
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Cutting tight miter joints for a frame around an existing object

How can I create a tight mitered frame around a fixed size, pre-existing object? OK I'll tackle this one first as it's actually most important: in this context you don't want to. To pass on some ...
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  • 59k
9 votes

Caliper Showdown: Dial vs. Digital vs. Vernier

If you were given a choice between dial, digital and vernier calipers which one should you pick? When I went looking for a caliper I wanted a dial type, based on the following comment in Andy Rae's ...
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  • 59k
9 votes
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How can I scribe a slab into a nook with three walls?

I think I wrote an answer some time ago that addresses this, but I cannot find the link... The simplest way I know to get the correct geometry is to do what cabinet shops do to make and install ...
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  • 7,824
8 votes

Traditional woodworking marks

This is another example (of many!) where terminology is used irregularly in the woodworking world. To me witness marks or witness lines mean lines such as you'd quickly pencil over a board face prior ...
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  • 59k
8 votes
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Trouble identifiying a gauge

For this gauge, I would imaging that you scribe with both beams individually instead of scribing with both points active at the same time. So, if you're setting up the inside cheek of the mortise, ...
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  • 12.1k
7 votes

How does one measure stock for miter cuts?

I was taught to measure to the inside (mainly because it was important to fit the frame to the glass, which went on the inside) and to cut via a mitre box to the outside of the line marked, that is is ...
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  • 2,176
7 votes
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What would be the UK equivalent of the common US 2 by 4 (not just by size)

Does the UK have a piece of wood that is universally commonly used for hobby / domestic projects that it is simple referred to by a common name and is this typically a suitable substitute for the US 2 ...
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  • 12.1k
7 votes
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How to build shelf brace from 2x4's (as pictured)

There's a few things going on here; I don't claim this is a full answer, but simply a bit of the puzzle. You're doing a lot of math here, which isn't in and of itself a bad thing, but it's unnecessary....
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6 votes

Setting precise depth on a table saw with no depth gauge

What is the quickest way to set it to a precise depth for e.g. cutting slots or dados or clean looking rabbets? I think you're already pretty close to doing it. Usually what I do is get it close to ...
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  • 12.1k
6 votes

How does one measure stock for miter cuts?

Often in woodworking the best practice is to cut slightly over the final size, then sneak up on the final dimension. One great solution for getting perfect miter joints is to use a miter sled. Once ...
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  • 18.5k
5 votes

Traditional woodworking marks

There are distinct sets of traditional marks for several purposes. At least some of the sets of marks have regional variations. Reference face and edge marks One common set of marks is a loop like a ...
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5 votes

What is a board foot?

As rob pointed out a board ft. 144 cubic inches. When dealing with rough cut lumber that is always how it is calculated for sale. Partially because it is NOT the final dimensions of the board, you ...
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  • 15k
5 votes

Can anyone Identify what this item is and what its used for?

I believe that it is a brass masonry square. After looking up what you said was marked on the antique it's seems this is true as there are links to other antiques being sold under the same name. In ...
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  • 574
5 votes

Angle to Inches Calculator

Here is a site for solving triangles. The user interface doesn't show a right triangle by default (assuming that's what you're after), though the solved triangle does appear to be drawn to scale. Here ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Are drill guides supposed to be zero-clearance?

This could be a manufacturing issue (not necessarily the one you're thinking of, more on that below) or it could be entirely within specs. With metal bushings the fit must be loose enough you don't ...
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  • 59k
4 votes

When building a shelving unit, how does having the rails and stiles be out of square affect the alignment of the shelf?

Construction grade lumber can be pretty bad. I would pay particular attention to the milling process and to the calibration of your tools (i.e. fences): The standard milling process: Jointer: ...
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4 votes

How accurate does 'square' have to be in your project? What is acceptable?

The things I have learned that have been working fine: Dry fit always, then trim until it's good enough. You can stop at good enough. Err on the long side since you can't add some back after you ...
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  • 5,511
4 votes

How do I drill a hole exactly in the center of a circle?

I use maths from school for this sort of thing. (I can't believe this stuff actually came in handy!) All you need is a ruler and a square. You draw two or 3 base lines and then a perpendicular line ...
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  • 1,045
4 votes
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Imperial or metric?

If imperial measurements were not so ingrained in my mind, I'd do everything in metric. Quite a few of the tools here in the US that are labeled as "inch" are actually metric. A few of my 1/2" ...
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  • 8,016
4 votes
Accepted

Is it ok to clamp down squares and i-beam style levels?

It's certainly possible to damage squares and/or levels by clamping. So if you're looking for a yes or no answer, it would have to be yes. However I can think of plenty of situations where I would ...
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  • 2,159
4 votes

Percent error of a cut

If it is a picnic table no problem if it is in the face of a fancy hutch maybe, maybe not. Sometimes the project can be modified to fit, sometimes it really does not matter, and I have had to scrap a ...
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4 votes

Angle to Inches Calculator

I created a calculator that searches triangles in 1/8" increments to get as close to the target angle as possible. As I see it, the advantage of this approach over others is that you can get ...
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  • 161
3 votes

How accurate does 'square' have to be in your project? What is acceptable?

It really depends on the project. If you're gluing up a wide panel, acccumulated error from a series of non-square edges can become significant, unless you take steps to counter that by balancing the ...
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  • 9,101

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