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Episode 018: Ruler Accessories

By: Chris Fitch
Wood tools are always a pleasure to use, and they look beautiful in the shop after the work is done. So, when I saw the 36” wooden brass-capped rule from Woodsmith, I knew I had to have one and design some accessories for it.

The layout accessories I designed are sized to fit the Woodsmith 36” wood rule, but if you don’t want a gorgeous, brass-tipped wood ruler that’s fine, just use an aluminum rule and bed it into a wide groove cut in a straight piece of wood measuring ¼” x 1 ½” x 36”.

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There are a lot of possible accessories for a large ruler in a wood shop, but I decided to focus on three layout tasks that I often encounter: drawing large arcs, laying out angles, and striking 90° lines. With those tasks in mind, here are the three tools I decided to build.

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Drafting Head. This super handy add-on turns the wood rule into a drafting square and a large depth gauge for all sorts of large-scale layout tasks. A knurled brass thumb screw quickly loosens the drafting head for quick changes and the brass rub shoe tightens securely on the edge of the wood rule without marring it. Brass hardware and accent strips of exotic wood set this tool off.

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Trammel Points. Laying out big curves is often a challenge. Often, I end up bending pieces of wood, tracing off found objects or just kind of faking it and blending several smaller curves. Well, no more! Now I have a serious layout tool that can draw an arc with close to a 36” radius. The trammels fit a standard wood pencil that’s easy to remove, sharpen, and replace as well as a 5/16” steel point for a solid pivot point.

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Protractor Head. I don’t often have to lay out projects by angle, but when I do, this tool is awesome. The large size and easy-to-read numbers make it fast and convenient. The ruler can be positioned so that the corner is placed on the edge of the workpiece. This means you can use the ruler to accurately layoff distances.

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These accessories are a fun, precision project for your CNC router and would be a great addition to your shop. Plus, they can be made with small pieces of wood that you have been saving in your workshop for a special project like this!

Episode Downloads

Project PDF and DXF Files

Published: March 2, 2023
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Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.


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