For those of us plain-vanilla boys and girls who don’t like to remember numbers on tapes or which side of the mark to use, story sticks can simplify a number of measuring situations. You can buy commercially available gadgets that do the same thing (they are called bar gauges), but I’d rather make my own. Here’s how.
I start with a piece of garden-variety 3/4-in. copper pipe about 4 in. long (see drawing). I drill a hole in its side, then solder a 1/4-in. brass nut to the side of the pipe, centered over the hole. A 1-in. long 1/4-in. machine screw with a knob on one end screws into the nut. The screw acts as a clamp, bearing against a 3/4-in. dowel that has been split in half. To use this device, you simply loosen the screw and let the dowel halves slide past one another until they bear against the surface of the target. Let’s say it’s an inside measurement for a window jamb. Extend the dowels against the opening, clamp, transfer to workpiece and cut. No numbers required.
Another option is to add nail points to each dowel half, as shown in the drawing. They can be used to transfer outside measurements. For measuring diagonals, as in drawer boxes or picture frames, bevel the ends of the dowels so that they tuck into 90° corners.
Paul K. Kincaid, Lawrence, KS