20 Marking Hacks

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Becoming an experienced DIYer involves mastering a diverse set of skills, but perhaps none of them are as foundational as accurate marking. Even if you know how to use a saw, even if you can take accurate measurements, if you don’t know where to make your cuts or take too long laying out a pattern, you may soon see an entire day’s worth of efficiency slipping away from you. Here’s a collection of 20 astounding hacks that’ll help make your marking more accurate and your days more productive.

Learn and Master the Basics

Before we get too far into the hacks and tricks, let’s pause a moment to make sure we all understand the basics of marking for a cut. It’s always best practice to mark the board where the saw will make it’s first contact. For a circular saw, that’s usually at the edge of the board, while a miter saw cut should be marked in the middle of the board. When possible, mark with a ‘V’ to reduce the chances of favoring one side of the line or the other.

Simple Way to Mark Cylinders

It’s notoriously difficult to mark cuts on curved surfaces. Dropping a straight edge or a measuring tape on a length of tubing or PVC will give you a line to mark against, but it’s very simple to roll or shift your edge when trying to pull a mark. Instead, check out this hack from Family Handyman reader Frank Martin. Use a length of angle iron to create multiple touch points on the cylinder, stabilizing the line and making it easy to draw a mark with a pencil or marker. If you need to pull a measurement on the surface, just put a tape measure or ruler on the flat surface of the angle iron. It’s a great way to make a tricky job simple!

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