PreCAD (and marking up)

There is one (well there is probably more than one, but for the sake of this conversation), there is one aphorism that I really don’t like.

It isn’t that I necessarily disagree with it, but it is one I don’t follow very much anyway, because I have better things to do than doubt my own ability to concentrate on the task at hand.

The aphorism I am referring to is “Measure Twice, Cut Once”.  Boring.  Did you remember to turn off the gas? Better go back and check (again).  Not that we never make mistakes – happens often. (Although hopefully not with the household gas supply!).  Just that “I have measured from a known start point to the current one, and made a mark, why should it be wrong” creeps into my work practices.

So instead, why not use a better ruler?

There are a number on the market and Woodpeckers have decided to up the ante on their product range with some very stylish inclusions.  If only they had been making them 20 odd years ago!  Oh well, I can finally retire the wood and plastic one!

What I am referring to is their brand new T Square, supplied in Australia by Professional Woodworkers Supplies. Cost is (currently) $A215 while they are on special, and before the US-Au exchange rate goes insane again. (Note to banks – we don’t give our money to just anyone, perhaps you should try to be a little more sensible and a little less greedy).

Now historically, I have used a T Square solely on the drawing board, but there is no reason why it shouldn’t also be used directly on marking up stock ready for machining (or whatever your next operation is).  The advantage of a T Square, is it keeps the body of the rule exactly perpendicular to an edge (assuming that edge is straight of course).  It is the same principle as a normal woodworking square, just larger.

Woodpeckers T Square

Woodpeckers T Square

There are some added features on this T square that differentiate it from the norm.

The first is rather striking (ok, before that, it is a nice shade of red).  The presentation is very well done, with a machined and engraved storage designed to hang directly on the wall.  Very nice, and makes it a nice gift as well (plenty of room in the lower-right corner for a plaque or something)

Along the length, every mm as it turns out, there is a hole, just the right size for a 0.5mm clutch pencil lead. Therein lies the measure one only requirement – so long as you put the pencil in the right hole, how can it go wrong? (Ok, it probably can, but then perhaps you need to measure 3 times too!)  There are also holes at 32mm intervals for hinges etc – haven’t checked if that is relevant for anything I use it for, but they are there.  I wish there were also imperial holes, but how religious can a T Square get? (holy)

The junction between the arm and the base also has a zigzag cut – you can’t see it, but it ensures that the two line up accurately at 90 degrees.

There are other little features etc to make it easy to use, such as the 30 degree bevel etc, but you are either already sold on it, or not!

The picture above has my old drawing board I used (a little) over 20 years ago when I was studying Technical Drawing (before I had access to CAD (boy was that a revolution!)) and includes the compass set that I still have, and my final project, which is a full exploded isometric drawing of a bicycle derailleur, measured and drawn from scratch.  It took just a little while to do! (Click for a larger image)

Exploded Isometric Derailleur

Exploded Isometric Derailleur

If you are using the T square for drawing, rather than marking up, you also need some set squares – a 45-45-90, and a 30-60-90.  Woodpeckers have a 45-45-90 already, and I am encouraging them to also have a 30-60-90, as you need that for isometric drawings.  I haven’t seen them as yet, but I hope that there are also the holes at 1mm intervals all round as well.

French Curves

French Curves

I’m also hoping that they’ll produce some French Curves in their typical red anodised aluminium, because they’d look awesome (and it would complete the Tech Drawing set) (Yes there are so many more things as well, but they are the basics).  Again, very handy for either drawing, or marking up a workpiece.

So back to the T Square for a sec – very well constructed, and presented – for those of us who don’t like endless measuring, here is a tool that helps you get it right, first time!

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