Friday, April 11, 2008

Bevel-Edged Pencil

Marking layout lines with a pencil always leads to "Do I split the line or save the line?" Here's a way to narrow the line, but still be able to see it, and resolve the issue.

Use a piece of sandpaper to create a flat side on your sharpened pencil then ride the flat edge along your straightedge. The line you create will be the exact the location of your cut. I mark dovetails this way and transfer lines from pins to tails. It is surprisingly precise. It does not, however, allow you mark lines in tight quarters, as in transferring marks from tails to ultra-thin dovetails. For that, you need a thin-bladed marking knife. (Or, cut your pins first...but that's another post.)

Using a pencil with a bevel edge leaves a mark that is easier to see than a knife mark. Sometimes you need that, especially if you've reached that 40+ year old bifocal age (raising hand).

11 comments:

Al said...

VC,

I can use this great tip to help me with the layout of a bunch of mortises and tenons I will make with a new little tool I got.

You *really* have helped me improve my hand tool skills, I believe. It is interesting that, after all these years, hand tools have my interest more and more. But I *still* must give hand-cut dovetails a chance... ;-)

The Village Carpenter said...

I know what you mean, Al. When I first started out in ww, I was all up in the power tool grill. But several years ago, I started getting into handtools...and it's been an even slippery-er slope!

You definitely have to give h.c. dovetails a chance. : )

Vic said...

It is definitely an age marker when you have to switch to bifocals. I didn't mind losing the hair and the rest I have going gray. But when I had to start holding thing at arms length to see the fine print...well...at least I don't feel old (usually!).
Thanks for the old fart tip!:-D

anteakhuntr said...

Hi VC
Really enjoy posts on sharpening. Have always wondered what these things are for when I see them in catalogs, now I understand. May actually try to get an edge on some of my chisels. Have never been to Mercer Museum, but looks like a place I would enjoy. Reminescent of some of the places seen on a recent trip to UK.
anteakhuntr

The Village Carpenter said...

Vic, if we're old farts in our early 40's, what does that make us at 65? (Don't answer that!)

anteakhuntr, lucky you traveling to the UK. I would love to go someday, not just for the countryside and history, but for the great prices on antique tools.

Gary Roberts said...

Have you tried a back bevel, or a micro-bevel on your pencil? It's my understanding that performance can be improved significantly. I believe a Veritas pencil bevel gauge is in the works.

Vic said...

Actually VC, except for the vision, the hair and a whole lot of wrinkles(too much sun), I probably feel better now than I did in my twenties. Of course, my twenties are somewhat blurred!! Still, my nails have never looked as good as yours!

The Village Carpenter said...

Hey, Gary, I heard the same thing about the Veritas gauge. It's my understanding that the release date is 04/01/09. Better put your order in now!

Vic, that IS the only thing that's better about me now....my nails!

Wyldth1ng said...

May I just say that 'I cannot beleive you did a post about a bevel edged pencil. Doesn't everyone know that trick?'

Nifty post either way.

The Village Carpenter said...

Wyld, yeah, but do you know the trick about "the bevel-edged PEN?"

Stay tuned!

Gary Roberts said...

Well, I tried to place a pre-order for the Veritas gauge, but they wanted to know if I was going to use a Japanese pull type pencil or a European/American style push type? I have to check on this one first.