A method of marking wood that transfers a profile directly is called scribing. A compass-type tool allows you to transfer a profile from one surface to another. One application allows accurately marking an irregular shape, such as to fit a wood panel against a stone wall. Marking the exact angle to join two pieces of wood is another application. Scribing tools have sharp metal points which scratch the wood to mark it for cutting.
Irregular Edge Scribing
Lay the board or panel so that it is parallel to the irregular edge that you want to match. If you are installing a number of boards or panels, such as wall paneling or hardwood strip flooring, begin at the irregular edge and work away from it, rather than toward it.
Set the gap on the compass-type scribe slightly wider than the widest gap between the irregular edge and the board or panel. For example, if the wood panel will abut a stone wall, place the panel as close as possible to the wall. Find the largest gap between the panel and stone and set the compass to that gap width.
Hold the scribe with the blunt tracing point against the irregular edge and the sharp scribing point on the wood. Keep the plane of the two points -- a line drawn between the scribing point and the tracing point -- perpendicular to the edge of the wood throughout the scribing operation.
Follow the irregular edge with the tracing point while keeping light pressure on the scribing point. Keep the two points perpendicular to the board or panel edge. Continue until the profile of the irregular edge is transferred to the wood.
Scribing for Joints
Lay two boards on a table with the end of one board against the side of the second board. Position the boards to the exact angle at which they will join.
Set the points on the compass-type scribing tool slightly wider than the widest gap between the two boards. Place the blunt point on the board edge and the sharp, scribing point on the face of the board end. Draw the tool along the board edge to scribe the edge on the face of second board.
Cut the board along the scribed line. The end of the second board will meet the side of the first board at the desired angle. This is useful for marking and cutting joints for boards that meet at any angle.
Tips & Warnings
- Learning to scribe takes practice, especially compass scribing. Practice on a scrap pieces before working on an actual work piece.
- A pen-type scribing tool is useful for marking with a template or a tool such as a square. Keep the point of the scribe against the edge of the template or tool and the body of the scribe perpendicular to the face of the template for accurate marking.
- A scribed line is more accurate than a measured line because it transfers the cut line directly onto the wood.
Things You'll Need:
- Compass-type scribe tool
- 2 boards
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