Layout: When Pencil Beats Knife
For accurate dovetails and hinge mortises, you’re better off with the humble pencil
Synopsis: Although many woodworkers use marking knives and gauges to cut layout lines, students at North Bennet Street School learn to use a pencil when laying out dovetails and hinge mortises. Instructor Steve Brown argues that a sharp pencil makes a more accurate line and, because it doesn’t damage the wood or cut into any part of the joint, results in a tighter, better-fitting joint. Here he shows how to transfer dovetails accurately and mark and cut a hinge mortise will always leave you with a perfect fit.
From Fine Woodworking #224
Good joinery begins with accurate layout, and for many woodworkers that means using marking knives and gauges to cut layout lines. Pencils typically don’t enter into the discussion, because a drawn line is supposedly less accurate. But a pencil line can be just as accurate as a scribed one and there are times when a pencil is a…