Geoff's Woodwork

for Students of Woodwork                                          


Triangle Marking for setting or  marking out your project to maintain  orientation.  

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As a discerning woodworker you probably spend some time deciding on which face of your parts will be the visible face and what the orientation of the parts will be. It can be very frustrating to spend this amount of time and then forget how you had the pieces oriented. It can also cause some problems with getting the appropriate joints milled properly. 

The system that has become known as the Triangle Setting out system helps out with this. The system is basically a way of marking the face sides of the boards so that you can reassemble them in the correct orientation easily and mill your joints in the proper places. Here is an example: Setting out 01  

 Note that the tip of the triangle is upright on vertical surfaces. It points away from you on horizontal surfaces. I would then proceed around the piece clockwise looking from the top, such as in this example Setting out 2 of the left hand side of the same cabinet as in the above. Note that the second side has a line under the triangle. The line designates that this panel is different from the the front pieces. It would be terribly easy to mistake the stiles from the front assembly with the edge boards on one of the side panels. Here is what the other faces would look like. Setting out 3   Keep in mind though that the actual markings you are dealing with are much smaller marks on a bigger surface. It doesn't look so sloppy in real life, or as garish. 



Remember always to mark on the finished (visible) face. The open ends of the triangle point towards the edges that require joinery. That way you don't cut mortises in the wrong edge. This is great for face frames, glue-ups, drawer boxes, and even table legs. 

(text by Howard Ruttan)

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18th  January 2004