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Layout tools


A basic collection of rulers, squares, and levels should serve on most home improvement projects. But it always helps to follow the adage “Measure twice and cut once,” particularly when it can save an extra trip to the lumber yard for more wood.

For measuring, you can use a classic folding carpenter’s ruler or a measuring tape. Both are available in several lengths. The fold-out variety takes a little time to open and close, but some models have a handy pullout extension that makes it easy to take accurate inside dimensions--for example, between two wall studs.

For squaring up measurements for cutting, use a combination square on smaller boards. On larger boards and over larger areas--for example, to check the corner of a room--use a 2-foot-long framing square.

But there are a few carpentry tricks that work as well as any tool. One is to check for square by measuring the diagonals of a piece of plywood or a room. If the room is square, the diagonals should be equal.

Another trick is to use the proportions of a 3-4-5 triangle. If one leg is 3 feet long, another is 4 feet long, and the hypotenuse is 5 feet long, the angle between the two legs will be 90 degrees. Triangulation is practical in construction and remodeling work because it works at any scale. You can measure the sides of the layout triangle in inches, feet, or yards and in multiples of 3-4-5 (6-8-10, 9-12-15, and so on).

 

MEASURING

 

 

Along measuring tape is handy for layout work on walls. Most have 16-in, centers marked in red.

 

 

The extension bar on a folding ruler makes it easy to take accurate measurements between studs.

 

step-ahead layout

1. When you draw layout lines to mark the locations of studs, use a combination square to mark one side.

 

2. Mark a large X where the stud will go, and stick to the same step-ahead layout to maintain even spacing.

 

Layout Tools: A--measuring tape, B--electronic distance finder, C--framing square, D--stud finder, E—chalk-line box, F--contour gauge, C--speed square, H--sliding T-bevel, I--compass, J--folding carpenter’s ruler, K--combination square.

 

 

 

 

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