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When I first saw Eagle’s Marking Center Finder, I thought, “Cool, that works on the same principle as Rockler’s mortise-centering router baseplate.” Looking at the PVC-made jig, I figured it’d be 5 to 10 bucks tops, but then I saw $25 price tag and figured I’d tell everyone they should spend 15 minutes in the shop and make one with a with a piece of scrap wood and a section of dowel instead.

It’s simple geometry that if you build it right, drilling three evenly spaced holes on a line, the resulting jig should be pretty accurate in finding the center of a board. And if you build your own you won’t be limited to the width of a 2×4 like Eagle’s model.

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Malco’s “The Sider” helps you measure and mark pieces of vinyl siding quickly and accurately. Made from 18 gauge stainless steel, the Sider has precisely spaced holes staggered vertically every 1/8″. To draw or score perfect horizontal lines, stick a pencil or knife blade into a hole and slide the tool along the siding.

Malco sells five different varieties of the Sider to work with most siding styles: the 4″ double, the 5″ double, the 4-1/2″ Dutchlap, the 5″ Dutchlap, and the 3″ triple. Any of these versions of the Sider will run you somewhere between $11 and $21 before shipping or tax.

The Sider [Malco]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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CH Hanson sells two low-cost accessories to protect and enhance your marking tools: Pencil Armor and Crayon Armor. Although I find it hard to justify spending a few bucks to protect a ten-cent pencil, I’ve held the pencil armor and it does look pretty cool. Armor for crayons, on the other hand, might make more sense since they’re a bit more expensive and fragile.

CH Hanson designed the aluminum Pencil Armor to work with rectangular carpenter’s pencils. The armor only exposes as much of the pencil as you need. You advance the pencil by sticking your thumb into the slot and pressing forward. The Armor also has a clip so you can keep the pencil in you shirt pocket.

The plastic Crayon Armor securely holds one of CH Hanson’s crayons and protects it from breaking since it only exposes enough crayon for marking. There’s a thumb slot for exposing more crayon and a lanyard strap.

The Crayon Armor will cost you about $4 and the Pencil Armor will run you $2 before shipping. Before paying double the product’s worth in shipping charges, check out your local Home Depot; mine carries the Pencil Armor, so maybe yours does too.

C.H. Hanson [Corporate Site]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Crayon Armor Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Pencil Armor Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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Here’s an interesting looking tool from Trend. The Multiscribe Pro has a rotating block that can be locked in at any angle with respect to the steel blade. The blade has markings in both 3/16″ and 1/4″ increments and comes to a point on one end. The block sports a pencil sharpener, a bubble vial, and two holes for sticking a pencil through, which is useful for scribing.

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Marking gauges traditionally use a hardened point or an easy-to-lose graphite point to scratch a layout line, but this marking gauge from Gladstone tools instead uses a regular hexagon-shaped pencil to draw lines as far as 8″ away from the edge of your work.

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Crown’s multi-angle try square does more than just right angles — it lets you layout or check 90°, 60°, 45°, and 30° angles with the same tool.

Crown Tools, based in Sheffield, England, designed this K-shaped square based on traditional tools still used in Europe.  They make the handle from plantation-grown rosewood and the blade, facing plate, and pins from polished brass.

You can find Crown’s multi-angle try square on clearance right now at Hartville Tool for $36.

Multi-Angle Square [Crown Hand Tools]
Multi-Angle Square [Hartville Tool]

You’re not going to drop upwards of $140 on a T-square unless you need a precision instrument, but if that’s what you’re looking for, Woodpeckers is prepared to sell you one of their precision aluminum T-squares.  Available in 12″, 24″, and 32″ lengths, these T-squares not only allow you to draw lines perpendicular to the edge, but by putting a pencil in one of its 1/16″-spaced holes you can drag the square along the edge to produce precisely spaced parallel layout lines.

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Wizard Industries crams a few tools you use all the time — a straight edge, marking gauge, ruler, level, and compass — into one tool to make their Measure Level.  With this 8.7oz tool you can measure, transfer measurements, mark straight lines, find level, and create circles and curves.

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