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What is the best way to mark construction materials for cutting?

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QuestionI'm about to start a bathroom remodeling project and have been pricing the materials I'll need. I'm especially concerned about accidentally cutting something too short and wasting expensive building materials. What's the clearest and best way to mark construction materials for cutting?

Answer"Measure twice, cut once" is an old woodworking adage to help you avoid incorrect cuts and the waste of time and materials that result from them. A good tape measure is what you need to "measure twice." Whether you're remodeling a bathroom, creating a woodworking masterpiece in your garage, or hanging a picture, it's an indispensable tool.

Unfortunately, if you don't use your tape measure properly, it can be a source of frustration and a waste of valuable time and materials.

There is, indeed, a proper way to mark building materials. First, measure the length you need. Once the blade's tip is secure and the blade is pulled to its proper measured location, tip the tape measure slightly towards yourself so the blade edge nearest you lays flat to the surface. It seems like a small thing, but this little trick makes it easy to read the blade when you're ready to mark your material.

correctly mark building materials for cutting, use a tape measure, using a tape measure, remodeling a bathroom, woodworking adage, best way to mark construction materials, convert direction points, copyright by Leon A. Frechette/C.R.S., Inc.The basic rule is to always mark on the lower scale of the tape blade and never use a straight line or a hash mark. It's easy for straight marks to get lost in the grain of the material or its surface texture. Instead, use one of the two "convert direction points" illustrated to the right to point to the increment you want to mark. The point tells you that this, indeed, is your mark.

Personally, I use a No. 2 pencil rather than a fat carpenter's pencil so I can be precise when making my marks. Also, I prefer the second mark (#2) over the first (#1).

Remodeling A Bathroom

Good luck with your project! A bathroom remodel can be a real challenge, but my book, Remodeling A Bathroom, was written specifically to help homeowners understand how to start the project and learn the steps required to finish the project.

This book paints a pretty realistic picture of what it takes to remodel a bathroom but it also shows you how to save time, avoid common mistakes, and get the stylish results you're after without breaking the budget.

To purchase your autographed copy of Remodeling A Bathroom, click here!

Purchase this article to learn how to read and choose a tape measure!

Using a tape measure to correctly mark your construction materials is just one facet of using this complex tool.

To really learn the ins and outs of reading a tape measure and to gain insights into choosing the best one for you, consider purchasing my award-winning article, "Learn How to Read and Choose a Tape Measure." This article received the 2008 Vaughan/National Association of Home and Workshop Writers (NAHWW) Golden Hammer Writing Award in the Internet Category. 

Available in both .pdf and hard copy, this 8-page article features 21 color photographs and provides outstanding information about using a tape measure to its full potential and purchasing a quality tape measure.

Click here to read customers' feedback. To purchase "Learn How to Read and Choose a Tape Measure," click here!

Copyright © 2008 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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C.R.S., Inc. · Spokane, Washington · USA

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