Incra Rules

During my recent update of the Tools page, I was surprised to note that I hadn’t actually made direct mention of some of my favourite markup tools in the workshop – the Incra Rules.

The underlying principle of these rules is they have extremely accurately drilled holes at every measurement point, which are just the right size for a 0.5mm clutch pencil.

Incra Rules

The rules pictured here are a T Rule, Bend Rule, Protractor and Marking Rule.

Incra Protractor

The Incra Protractor can be used both with the track to accurately place it on the edge of the workpiece, or removed from it so the protractor can lie flat.  Marks can be drawn at every degree – incredible accuracy.  Even the crosshairs for centering the protractor when used without the rail are 0.5mm apart is it is easy to position the protractor on bisecting lines.  The rail has a lip on the lower edge so when reassembling the protractor, it regains its precision.

Incra T Rule

The T Rule is in my mind one of the best tools you can have for marking up work.  Not only can it be taken apart (as with the protractor), the rail makes making up so simple, and accurate.  By inserting the clutch pencil in the required hole, the entire assembly can be slid along the edge of the workpiece producing the accurate line, very quickly.  In the image above, I have created lines 10mm apart, then 5mm, then 1mm, and finally 0.5mm. I find myself using this technique over and over (and over).


In this closeup, you can see the hole layouts that are provided.  Different rules have different available measurements.  For example, the bottom edge measurements have 1mm and 0.5mm placements.  Above that there are inch layouts, with the ability to place lines at decimal 0.025″ increments.  Above that, 1/64″ placements.

Accuracy. It is a beautiful thing!

These rules all sourced from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.  Made from stainless steel, they are definitely worth their weight in gold.

Limiting your range of plans?

As much as I do enjoy coming up with my own designs and projects, building them in my mind, working through the specifics of design, I also look at a LOT of woodworking plans.

I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t necessarily care whether the plan is in imperial or metric, but I do know a lot of people who are only comfortable working with plans that use the same measurement scale that is ‘native’ to their country, and as such pass up on the opportunity to use some incredible designs just because they are drawn up in inches and not millimetres (or the reverse).

At times, it really does become necessary to work in one, or the other, or worse, mix the two in the same project.  In Australia for example, being metric and mm being our forte, we run into a constant problem that often not only are the plans in imperial, but so are the tools!  Router bits are imperial, that is just a fact.  Often the same with other cutters, such as dado blades etc.  So what do we do?  Abandon projects that require a conversion?  Constantly get out a calculator and divide the fraction then multiply by 25.4? Or just use a better calculator.

The FastCap Converter Pro, from Professional Woodworkers Supplies allows calculations in digital imperial, fraction, and metric all in the same calculation and then have the answer in metric or a fraction (and flick between the two).


Converter Pro

So if you wanted to add 2.52″ + 2 5/32 +37.5mm you can.  Easily.

(The answer is 6 1/8″ or 156.28mm fwiw (and yes, I’d just round it to 156!)

Or subtract the kerf of your blade, measured using a digital caliper.  Or whatever.

The point is, you don’t have to ignore projects, plans, tools that use a measuring system you are not confident with. And that is the advantage that having the Converter Pro in your pocket gives you.

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