• How to rule all straight and secure.
    How to rule all straight and secure.

Trouble is most times there is no one about, or the hand helping is attached to someone that is, how can I put it tactfully, ‘Less than Helpful’… But, an extra hand can be sometimes found without the aid of surgery — or the invasive presence of another person in your creative space!

How often have you tried using a ruler or straightedge as a guide when drawing a straight line on, or even worse tried cutting a straight line in, material such as a small piece of slippery veneer. Only to fine the darn thing has a mind of its own. At best it’s frustrating and worst it can be COSTLY.

Here’s a simple inexpensive way to create an extra hand that will obey.

Select a straightedge of your choice: wooden, metal or plastic, the material doesn’t matter. I use several brass and steel rules for many different purposes so I’ll illustrate the process on a steel ruler from a cheapy shop.

I use 240 grit wet and dry, other papers will work but I have found 400 or 600 doesn’t grip as well and 150 or 100 can scratch the work surface. Wet and dry compound seems to last for ages whereas other abrasives still work well but tend to lose their gripping qualities quickly.

Equipment needed: Ruler, 1 x sheet 240 grit wet and dry, slim double-sided tape, knife

The tape I use is Kikusui double-sided tape, it’s very thin but very strong, ideal for this purpose. It can be found at most craft shops and comes in various widths.

Cut some tape to the length of the paper to be used or if the ruler is smaller than the sheet of wet and dry, cut it to the size of the straightedge you want to use. I have several 150mm rules for small work as well as some 600mm and 900mm rules for larger jobs.

Lay the sticky side down on the back of the rule, or whichever side you don’t want to use (for example, many steel rules have imperial one side and metric the other). So pick which measurement you want to be seen and place the tape over the reverse side.

If the width of the tape is less than the width of the rule build up the width with parallel strips of tape. Once the straightedge has been covered. Remove the protective covering and then stick that side down onto the reverse (non-abrasive side) of the abrasive sheet.

Use your knife to cut along the edges of the rule and remove waste. All done!

An extra hand is now at your service.

There are many more uses for this idea and I’ll share some others in future tips.

Steve Hay presents Woodworking Masterclass on 31 Digital, TVS, C31, 44 and WTV. Find out more from www.woodworkingmasterclass.com

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