Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Rule Guide

A metal rule is great for measuring, but it can be difficult to use for layout work. The problem is the thickness of the rule itself. It creates a “step” between the surface of the rule and the workpiece that can make transferring a mark less than accurate.

My solution is the simple rule guide shown at right. It’s a small wood block that makes it easy to accurately lay out a line. You simply align the end of the block with the desired increment on the rule. Then mark the line, using the block as a guide.

Rule Guide

To allow the rule guide to sit flat on a workpiece, the bottom edge is rabbeted to fit over the metal rule (Figure 1). Since the rule guide is fairly small, it’s best to cut this rabbet in an extra-long piece (Figure 2).

Rule Guide Rule Guide

I also added a small magnet to hold the rule guide in place, yet still allow it to slide along the metal rule. The magnet fits in a hole that’s drilled in the rabbeted edge of the strip. After cutting the rule guide to length, it’s just a matter of sanding a bevel on each end to ease the sharp edges and then gluing in the magnet. (I used epoxy.)
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