trades > fabrication > wood > hand_tools
document updated a month ago, on Feb 28, 2024


Cutting specific types of materials:

† Look ma, no straight-edge!

My preferences for a straight-edge are:

material Only steel is acceptable — aluminum is softer than a steel utility blade, so is liable to being scratched, allowing the blade to climb and travel over the straight-edge, posing a hazard to your fingers.
width 1½" or 2" wide are great. 1" is too narrow, as it doesn't give enough room for fingers to keep the straight-edge steady while avoiding risky situations.
thickness I usually use stock flat bar at home stores, which often comes in ⅛" or 3⁄16" thickness.
anti-slip backing I like some rubber / elastomer of varying thicknesses:
  • 1⁄16" thick (often available with adhesive backing)
  • 1⁄32" thick (often not available with adhesive)
  • workout resistance bands — somewhere around 1⁄64", but your mileage may vary

Thicker rubber can accommodate bumps and protrusions with ease, but feel like they would be less accurate due to the fact that the straight-edge can rock side-to-side. If possible, the rubber should be firm, especially for the thicker pieces.

Note that you can put different types of rubber on each side of the straight-edge, which gives you a choice of which one you want to use for a cut.

You can use CA glue for many types of elastomers (test this on a sample piece, however). But I had problems with the CA curing way too fast, after I spread it into a super-thin layer, before laying the rubber down.