Layout and Measuring Tool and their Makers


Layout Basics by James D. Thompson

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I was taught most of my basic layout in the late 1950ís by a journeyman Millwright who was dirty, smelled bad, and was constantly spitting tobacco juice on everything and everybody near him. He was almost illiterate, and spoke like an illiterate, and cursed constantly. His only saving grace was that he knew what there was to know about layout, and was willing to teach me.

I will always be grateful to him for the knowledge he imparted to me. His teaching was the basis for me learning more advanced layout later and earning my living doing layout work. A good portion of the pipe in the mammoth California Water Project was laid out by me.

Layout is accomplished using one or both basic methods: Centerline layout and/or baseline layout.

I.  Connecting two points

II. Erecting a perpendicular

III. Tools: Compasses and lead

IV.  Bisecting a line

V.  Constructing a hexagon

VI.  Making equal parts

VII. Constructing 4 or 8 parts of a circle

VIII.  Layout - Centering Stock for Turning

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Layout Tools


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