Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Reference Ruler

I've always liked Stephen Shepherd's wooden reference ruler he places in his photographs so that readers have a sense of scale. So I decided to make my own out of cherry and bloodwood.

You can cut the 1" pieces by hand, but I used a crosscut sled on my table saw* along with some scrap pieces—one used as a stop block and one to protect my fingers.

The jig I had built to make some picture frames worked well at keeping the pieces square during clamping. A sheet of wax paper between the jig and the workpieces kept the two from being glued together.

The ruler is thick enough to stand vertically without toppling over but thin enough to be positioned relatively close to the object I'm shooting.

After glue up, I handplaned the ruler smooth using my favorite jig.

Cherry and bloodwood when first planed are contrasting in color, but over time, if left in sunlight, will both turn a dark reddish brown. That diminishes the effectiveness of the ruler if you can't see the line of demarcation between each inch.

So, I plan to build a special little box for it.

I just hope my metal rulers don't get jealous.

*Be sure to use the blade guards and safety features that come with your power equipment.