There are various grades of pencils, in a range of soft 8B to very hard 9H.
- Dark, heavy lines are drawn with High "B" numbered pencils.
- Fine, light lines are drawn with High "H" numbered pencils.
- F and HB are in the middle range.
- General usage is HB, F or 2H in carpentry.
Chalk line tools are used to mark straight lines, generally over long distances. A chalk line may also be referred to as a "chalk box", as this is also descriptive of the hand tools!
Most chalk line tools consist of a string, usually with a hook on one end, that is wound around a spindle that is inside a box containing powdered chalk of various colors. Colors of chalk generally available include-- but are not limited to-- blue (most common), red, yellow and orange.
To use a chalk line, the free end of the string (usually with a hook) is pulled from the box. The free end is then either hooked onto an object, such as the edge of a board or a nail, or held by an assistant. The container end of the chalk line is then taken to the other end of the object that is to be marked. Both ends of the string are then placed over pre-measured marks and pulled taut. The string is pulled away from the object to be marked and released, transferring a chalk line from the string to the object. This may be repeated several times to mark additional lines before the string must be returned to the box to have additional chalk applied to it. Note that care must be taken when snapping lines - if the stringline is pulled away in a direction not perpendicular to the face of the object, the snapped line will curve. Also, snapping across a hump or dip may cause distortions in the desired line. Snapping lines in wet weather can be problematic. In the worst conditions you can replace the cotton line with twisted nylon of the same dimension and then use concrete dye (powder) instead of chalk, add water to the box, mix contents and drain any excess. Then flick excess dye from string before snapping and quickly lifting the line from the surface. Puddles should be swept away before using this method.
A scratch awl is basically a strong metal pointer with a handle.
A scratch awl is used for marking on materials which do not readily take pencil or chalk marks. A line is scratched into the material with the awl.
Another common use is to make a small indentation in wood, etc. into which a nail or screw is placed, or a drill bit aligned prior to predrilling a properly aimed hole for the nail or screw. To make the biggest indentation in the least time:
- push awl-point straight down against the surface
- wiggle it to and fro in one direction
- wiggle it rotary-wise
- repeat the last two steps in sequence a time or two as needed.
With wired-cardboard crafts
When boxes are to be repaired or signs or other structures built by wiring together sections of cardboard, one may use the awl to create holes at the right positions on fitting pieces of cardboard prior to placing them together, or match the pieces together first and while holding or clamping them tightly together, make the first holes (often two) just prior to inserting and twist-tying wires to a desired secure tightness.
Solid core telephone wire
The type of wire most easily used is the kind found in telephone cables since World War II, with a solid copper wire inside any of ten colors of plastic sheathing which brings the outer diameter to about 1-mm. This wire, sometimes in cables of 50 or 100, may be found discarded in dumpsters when business buildings are demolished, or intercepted on the way to a "recycler" (they only trash the plastic and melt down the copper for recasting at the cost of energy; an effort should be made to save this fine crafts resource, placing reuse ahead of "recycling").
This tool is made by wirebraiding a big 2" safety pin, by its foothole, to the handle of a regular awl. Use this pin to make holes in tough cardboard, large enough to admit one telephone wire, or to start holes which are then easily widened by the regular awl point, usually wide enough to admit four telephone wires or one conduit-size wire (3-mm.).
This is usually the easiest tool for marking pieces of carpentry wood and other varied materials. The Sanford Sharpie and its many Asiatic imitators have a point of about the right sharpness for marking where cuts will be made, a support bar placed, etc. Where many holes are due to be drilled, one may carefully mark all the locations first with a Sharpie, then dig pilot pits with an awl, then drill all the holes.
Wikipedia Woodworking Measuring and Marking Tools - more information on marking tools. There are several types of saws for cutting wood. Some are used to make straight cuts and others are used to make curved cuts.
The two main types of handsaws in the western world are the crosscut saw and the ripsaw. The teeth on a ripsaw are like a row of chisels, each used to sever a fiber of wood as they pass parallel to the grain. The teeth on a crosscut saw are like a row of knives, each used to slice across the wood fiber as they pass perpendicular to the grain. As its name suggests, a crosscut saw is used to cut wood perpendicular or at an angle to the wood grain. The crosscut saw typically has more teeth per inch than the ripsaw. A crosscut saw can also be used to cut plywood. The ripsaw is only used to cut wood in the same direction as the grain. The ripsaw makes a very rough and ragged cut when used to cut across the grain. The crosscut saw is a better all-purpose saw since you can cut with or against the grain. Although it can tend to follow the wood grain and make it harder to make a straight cut with the grain.
Both of these western handsaws cut on the push stroke. Japanese saws, on the other hand, cut on the pull stroke. The advantage of the Japanese saw is the width of the blade can be much thinner because you are using the steel in tension. Western style saws are much thicker because they will buckle if they are too thin. An exception is the backsaw used by cabinetmakers. This saw has a very thin blade with a high tooth count (for cleaner cuts) and a stiffener across the top of the blade to keep it from buckling.
The compass or keyhole saw is a short, narrow-bladed crosscut saw used for getting into tight spaces or for making circular cuts
The coping or fret saw has a narrow fine-toothed blade held in a c-shaped body and is used to make circular cuts and to for cope (trim) molding to fit snugly.