Making a Straightedge: Episode 1


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In this episode Paul lays out the handle section and taper, before using a drill either side of the handle to gain an even curve. He then rips the tapers, in preparation for the finessing.

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  1. António on 6 March 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you WWMC team!

  2. Michael Barnes on 6 March 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Would have liked a longer episode, seems like it could have been done all in one episode.

  3. kaetwo on 6 March 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Does the grain orientation make a difference with a straight edge like this? Would it be best to use quarter sawn wood or does it really make much of a difference?

    Thanks for the great tool videos.


    • Mike Higgins on 6 March 2017 at 5:53 pm

      I was wandering the same thing. It looks like Paul’s board is rift sawn.

    • Salko Safic on 6 March 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Quarter sawn is best but rift sawn is ok as well, the only issue that could arise with rift sawn it may twist, but as long as it’s dried properly the chances are minimal. Don’t use flat sawn for obvious reasons.

    • Frank on 6 March 2017 at 8:22 pm

      I also was curious about the orientation. Also Paul says he has used his straight edge for 50 years. I wonder how often adjustments need to made to it? I assume that it changes shape over time. Maybe this will be talked about in the second video.

    • Philip Adams on 7 March 2017 at 4:03 pm

      In this instance, milling orientation doesn’t really affect the long term stability. Different woods have different tensions after drying, so you may have to plane the flat edge straight after making it.

      In reference to movement over time, Paul said that you may have to straighten the edge a few times, but after a while, wood loses it elasticity, and is less prone to atmospheric influences.
      Best, Phil

      • Hugo Baillargeon on 8 March 2017 at 4:28 am

        Thx Phil! Appreciate all the efforts done by the team and Paul! Cheers

      • piper on 9 March 2017 at 9:56 am

        Adding the taper in the straightedge also exposes more end grain into the piece rather than having a constant thickness. That allows the wood to react to seasonal changes more quickly making it more stable over the long run.

  4. Mic van Reijen on 6 March 2017 at 9:06 pm

    One of the tools needed to make a straightedge is.. a straightedge. I’ll ave to make one of those first then :p

    But sereously Paul, thanks a million for these tool videos!


    • bpower on 7 March 2017 at 1:34 am

      I seen that he used a straight edge too and it made me laugh. Which came first…. the straight edge or the straight edge. 🙂

    • hphimmelbauer on 7 March 2017 at 9:16 am

      That is easy in fact I guess. You start with a small Straight Edge using a 30 cm steel ruler. So You get something like a 70 cm SE. From there You may go to the next size(s). Or You use a 50 cm steel ruler – but thats not the way of a sportsman – sorry – craftsman – does not it? 🙂
      But thanks for this episode – it makes our garage look very classy.

    • Eric Johnston on 7 March 2017 at 6:31 pm

      No straight-edge? I guess you could make three straight-edges at the same time. When #1 fits to #2 and #3, and #2 fits to #3, they are all dead straight. I understand that is how engineers used to make surface-plates.

    • Christopher Hodgkin on 21 March 2017 at 6:10 pm

      If you don’t have a straight edge a chalk line would do as well since absolute precision isn’t needed for that part of the straightedge.

      Actually, I used a piece of aluminum angle as a straight edge for a long time. Not beautiful, but it works until you get around to making your own.

    • roymac on 25 March 2017 at 11:55 am

      Two perfectly parallel lines constitute a straight edge!

  5. cdouglas1942 on 6 March 2017 at 9:20 pm

    I thought this video would start out with some descriptions of Lumber choices and how to be sure you picked up piece of straight wood, or could straighten one that needed a tweak …maybe that’s coming later

  6. Andrew Williams on 6 March 2017 at 9:55 pm

    It was interesting to see how regularly Paul oiled his saw.
    Thanks for the video. I’m looking forward to the next episode.

  7. Ilana Grandpa on 6 March 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you, your videos are very informative.

  8. adrian on 6 March 2017 at 10:39 pm

    I am making another one of these as a gift to my fellow”REAL woodworkers”.
    Thanks for the great sharing of the craft.

  9. Abbé Faria on 6 March 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Great video both in information and production quality. Thanks!

  10. Bob Pyck on 7 March 2017 at 3:26 am

    Looking forward to the next video. Thank you

  11. rex jackson on 7 March 2017 at 5:24 am

    Thanks Paul, a true tradesman, the little tricks make life so easy.

  12. FrankM on 7 March 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Very nice video as usual. In my case I didn’t have any hardwood stock and didn’t want to drive 30 miles to get some. I ended up using some 3/4 cherry, laying it out per Paul’s instructions then used a scrub to rough in the ramps then smoothed with a No.4. Finally, I glued a block in the center for the handle. I may use a gouge to inlet the sides for easy grip.
    Can’t wait to see how Paul verifies straightness. For now I just penciled a line on my bench and stretched a string along it. Looks pretty good.

    • Carl Dorsch on 7 March 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Makes sense to glue the handle onto 3/4 stock. It seems to me to be a lot of unneessary work and waste of wood to cut this out of one solid piece. Actually, if you laminated the entire bottom piece out of 1/8 inch thick stock, it would be more dimensionally stable over time.

  13. rustifer on 7 March 2017 at 8:54 pm

    the number of experts that require instruction never ceases to amaze me

  14. willfeyn on 8 March 2017 at 9:55 am

    While Master working in peace and brightening next generation’s minds with pure craftsmanship a router screaming from behind like a bugbear. We were used to hear the train whistle for years now we are hearing router screaming.
    If you are fallowing Master for years like I do I think you can see how it is ironic and how Master was right.
    God bless you Paul. You will born again with every new generation.

  15. Ruben Morales on 13 March 2017 at 12:50 am

    Thanks for the video great teacher.

  16. roymac on 25 March 2017 at 11:54 am

    Many thanks to Paul and team brilliantly executed as usual.

  17. Charles Thompson on 24 May 2017 at 2:53 am

    He makes it look so easy. I think I need to make a trip to his school.

  18. vern wyborney on 7 November 2017 at 8:12 am

    What great gifts you give us – very grateful that share your knowledge and experience. One of my teachers (a Turk) told me that “…you must share or give away your knowledge to own it…”. Therefore you are a very wealthy and fortunate man, in many ways.

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