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What’s this type of plan called?

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Mrs C

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I have just been talking to someone who said that professional shops sometimes use full size plan drawings transferred to a piece of hardboard so that each piece can be checked for size after cutting.

However, he couldn’t remember what the proper term/name for it was. Any clues? Does anyone use this technique?
 

Jacob

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Rod: essentially used for marking up from, not just checking.
Does anyone use this technique?
Sure do, more or less everything I make, it's absolutely basic first principles.
I use lengths of MF chipboard shelf widths. Re-usable and accurate enough straight edge.
 

Sgian Dubh

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That would work":341r8yim said:
It's called a 'rod'
And in North America, the USA and Canada anyway, they call them story sticks. Slainte.
 

Woody2Shoes

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Or simply, a 'pattern'. I made myself a pattern rafter when building a cut roof recently.
 

Trevanion

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When I was in college there was always a massive focus on rods in the paperwork (Which hadn't changed since the early half of the century from what I gather) which I think harkens back to a day when joiners would make standard size joinery like internal doors, linings and such where you would be making quite a few of the same sized item quite often. Of course, these days standard sized items are just bought off a shelf because it's more cost and time effective. In my time as a joiner I could perhaps count the amount of internal doors I've made on both my hands compared to the number of external doors I've made, and of those external doors, there would be very few that would be the same size.

Of the workshops I've worked in, rods weren't really used and the only times I would ever even consider using a rod is full-sized layout of a curved or angled part of a workpiece or otherwise complex piece which isn't "Straight and square" or when I'm equally spacing a lot of something like glazing bars. It's a bit of a dead technique these days in the trade I think, you very rarely see them being used except for what I've mentioned above.

I think small batch-production furniture makers would still make good use of them.
 

Jacob

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Trevanion":3saxc2e5 said:
.......
I think small batch-production furniture makers would still make good use of them.
I used them all the time on every job when I was into period joinery. Indispensable.
Also as part of the design process for other stuff - basically the "production" drawing from which all marks are taken - directly that is, not measured, calculated, no back of envelope stuff, and as a result very few errors - at that stage at least.
Used in various ways in many crafts with different names, dress makers patterns, sailmakers "lofting out", steel yards full size drawings with chalk lines on the floor. Largely replaced by CAD I assume, but there was never a middle stage between drawn rod (or full sized drawing by whatever name) and CAD
 

Trevanion

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Jacob":2f054v51 said:
I used them all the time on every job when I was into period joinery. Indispensable.
On EVERY job? I can see their merit with some things as I mentioned above but I think marking out onto a piece of MDF to only transfer those marks onto the workpiece only once is a massive waste of time, you may as well just mark the workpiece from the get-go and get on with it.
 

Jacob

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Trevanion":3n1tvx3m said:
Jacob":3n1tvx3m said:
I used them all the time on every job when I was into period joinery. Indispensable.
On EVERY job? I can see their merit with some things as I mentioned above but I think marking out onto a piece of MDF to only transfer those marks onto the workpiece only once is a massive waste of time, you may as well just mark the workpiece from the get-go and get on with it.
How many workpieces are so unique to a job that they are more easily marked up directly?
At a glance I'd say about zero.
No doubt the odd exception but I can't think of an example off hand.
A table has four legs. A drawer has 4 sides, 1 bottom, 2 slips. A set of sash windows could have hundreds of components with identical marks, or marks which relate to other components. I made a little chest of 4 drawers recently - a rough count says about 34 components - all related to each other, non of them unique (except the top, which also has to relate to everything else and needs to be on the rod). Not to mark them up from a rod would be insane. You'd spend hours fiddling with a tape and lists of measurements, calculations, corrections. Madness, bin there dunnit, made the mistakes, filled out the mortices out by 10mm, thrown away stuff cut too short, etc etc.
PS not just the construction details but you can put in the hardware, position of knobs, all sorts of other stuff, everything which needs to be done shown in exactly the right position.
 

Distinterior

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Although a lot of Stone Mason companies now use digital equipment as a means of measuring for Granite & Quartz worktops, there are still a large proportion of companies that still make full size templates out of 4mm MDF or Cordek.
The company I use for all my stone worktop requirements still make full size templates.
 

Sheffield Tony

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Jacob":344p7kkm said:
A table has four legs. A drawer has 4 sides, 1 bottom, 2 slips.
But don't you clamp them up together, measure and mark them together on one go ?

In my school woodwork (only "O" level) rods and story sticks were never mentioned. My other teacher, my Dad, never used them either. I was going to say I don't, but I guess when turning several chair parts that can be decorated however the whim takes me but must be the same, I'll turn the first one, mark it as the "master", and use that to judge the positions of beads etc on the rest. No measuring needed. So a sort of similar process ?
 

Jacob

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Sheffield Tony":2qdg2kjk said:
Jacob":2qdg2kjk said:
A table has four legs. A drawer has 4 sides, 1 bottom, 2 slips.
But don't you clamp them up together, measure and mark them together on one go ?
No. I mark up the rod with all details (including mortices etc, everything), lay the four legs on the rod in a stack and mark up with a set square. No need to measure anything at all during the marking up process, which eliminates the single most common cause of errors.
Yes your legs thing a similar process. If you took the master leg and transferred the marks to a board you'd mark the others up from that instead. If it was a regular item you'd keep it - a busy shop in the old days would have patterns and rods hanging up all over the place. I've only seen this myself in an ancient timber mill which still had patterns for wheel felloes etc hanging up around the shop.
I didn't know anything about it until I did a course - probably the most useful thing I ever learned!
PS come to think - an early introduction was model plane making. Keil Craft. Balsa and tissue. You construct by laying on, cutting and pinning to the pattern. No measuring.
Non of them flew too well I seem to recall!
 

Adam9453

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With the combination of cad and cnc, this has been superseded in commercial workshops. The ability to draw an item of joinery fully in 3D then export the cutting list and parts directly from the model, then upload them into the beam saw and/or cnc for cutting/machining makes a dramatic difference to production accuracy and efficiency.
There are of course still elements which are ‘finessed’ to fit but these are typically down to interference fit levels so would not be aided by a rod in my experience
 

Jacob

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Adam9453":23vcvijz said:
With the combination of cad and cnc, this has been superseded in commercial workshops. The ability to draw an item of joinery fully in 3D then export the cutting list and parts directly from the model, then upload them into the beam saw and/or cnc for cutting/machining makes a dramatic difference to production accuracy and efficiency.
There are of course still elements which are ‘finessed’ to fit but these are typically down to interference fit levels so would not be aided by a rod in my experience
So for the small workshop it's a choice between several 1000 quids worth of kit, a steep learning curve, somewhere to operate the CAD and CNC.
OR
a pencil, a square, a set square, marking gauges and a rubber.
Without CNC how do you transfer marks from CAD to the workpieces?
 
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