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Whether you want to keep track of a bunch of stuff or tell people who made it, there isn’t much simpler than using a number and letter stamping set. These hardened steel stamps can be used on wood and softer metals like brass and aluminum.

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You probably want a 36-piece set, which usually has stamps for A through Z, 0 through 8 (9 is 6 upside down), and an ampersand. The stamps sets come in several different character sizes such as 1/8″, 1/4″, or 3/8″.

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The 36 piece 1/4″ letter and number stamping set from Harbor Freight will run you $11, while online similar sets will run you $25 or more.

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Stamping Set [Harbor Freight]
Street Pricing [Google]
Amazon(B00315BCEO) [What’s This?]

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Spacing markings equidistantly can be tedious and prone to error; it’s easy to make mistakes calculating the distance between the marks. The Point-2-Point from M-Power makes spacing marks equidistantly almost as easy as pulling out a tape measure.

Just choose how many points you need to mark and stretch the Point-2-Point so that the bracketing uprights line up with the ends of your project. The geometry of the gauge keeps each upright the same distance away from the next, no matter how far it’s stretched. For example, if you need to mark three equally-spaced holes on a board, line up the first upright with one end of the board and the 5th upright with the other end of the board.

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Finding the holes for European-style hinges isn’t particularly troublesome, especially if you take the time to make a simple jig, but the makers of the Hingemark think you can do it more quickly and accurately with their jig.

The jig has two stops that you fold down to catch the edge of the door when marking the holes for the hinges. When the jig is in position you just tap the spring-loaded punch labeled door. To mark the mating holes in the carcass you just fold the stops up, slide the jig into place, and tap the two punches labeled “cabinet.”

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Recently, while I was browsing the Hartville Tool catalog, I found Woodjoy’s marking and cutting gauge.  It’s a tool that works on similar principles to the their chairmaker’s router I wrote about a few years ago, and it even looks like it might use the same reversible edge guide.

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I imagine the meeting that birthed the SquareONE sounded something like this:

“All right everybody; let’s brainstorm ideas for our new product.”

“How about a tape measure and flashlight?”

“No, but I like the tape measure idea; everybody likes tape measures.”

“How ’bout a combination tape measure and coffee cup?”

“OK, I know you’re not supposed to criticize people while brainstorming, but that’s a stupid idea. You’d spill your coffee.”

“A tape measure and a square?”

“Hmm, I don’t think that’s been done before.”

“Let’s add a screwdriver.”

“No.”

“Let’s make it a level too.”

“Ooh, Ooh, let’s add a pencil sharpener.”

And so on….

Generation Tools SquareONE incorporates a tape measure into a speed-square-shaped triangle and endows it with the following functions:

  • Locking tape measure
  • Square
  • Level
  • Pencil with pencil holder
  • Pencil sharpening
  • Writing surface
  • Protractor

They coat the SquareONE in rubber to protect it and make it easier to hold onto, and they triple-rivet the stainless steel and tape measure end hook. Their professional model comes with a carpenter’s pencil rather than an ordinary #2, and has a hole in the end hook for marking radii.

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Sure we learn by our mistakes, but we don’t have to advertise them to the world. If you make more mistakes than the tiny nub of an eraser on your pencil can handle, maybe it’s time to upgrade to an electric eraser like the above Sakura model.

Powered by two AAA batteries, this compact eraser runs spins at 12,000 RPM to quickly remove marks.  Designed to be easy to control and comfortable to use, it weighs only 2.8 oz. It uses two different types of erasers: white vinyl for pencil and blue solvent for drafting ink.

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This month Kreg made its Multi-Mark multi-tool available for sale. It joins a long line of measuring multi-tools of dubious value like the Level Best2, the Squangle, and the Multiscribe Pro to name a few.

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Can you spot something missing on Kapro’s Combination Square? Actually two things are missing.  Notice there’s no channel running the length of the rule; it’s smooth and flat. You don’t need a channel because this square doesn’t have the usual thumb screw locking mechanism. Instead six rare-earth magnets hold the body where you position it.

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Big Foot Tool’s Stand-Up Bolt Hole Marker allows you to mark the location of bolts on plates quickly.  Once you’ve dialed the correct bolt size and lined up the plate next to the bolts, you simply push the tool against the bolt and hit the spring-loaded plunger with a hammer to mark each bolt.

The bolt marker has a bolt size dial for 1/2″, 5/8″, 3/4″, 7/8″, 1″, and 1- 1/4″ bolts on each end; one end is used for 2×4 plates and the other for 2×6 plates. It retails for $33 at DHC Supplies, plus an extra $10 for shipping.

Stand-Up Bolt Hole Marker [Big Foot Tools]
Stand-Up Bolt Hole Marker [DHC Supplies]

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Cheap electronic labelers have some downsides — they can be awkward to handle, it’s hard to type on the tiny keyboard, batteries run down at the most inopportune time, and the expensive label stock isn’t very durable. Dymo offers another simpler option: write directly on the label tape with a sharpie.

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