Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 4
March 2008
What Is It?
  Drawing Rules  
  Archimedes (287-212 BC) defined a straight line as the shortest distance between two given points, an observation that had been noted by Aristotle in the previous century. The process of sketching consistently straight lines has always plagued those who draw, whether for personal pleasure or for profit, and it was only natural that some form of implement to aid the process was developed. In its simplest form without any markings or special shape, a rule or straightedge is nothing more than a glorified stick with a purpose. The
T-square, set square, parallel motion rule and the more modern rolling rule are simply modifications of a system that has been in place since someone decided to pick up a stick and use it to draw a straight line.
  Drawing rules  
  The drawing rules shown here could often be found in Victorian tool chests and drawing kits, usually accompanied by a compass and other rudimentary drawing tools. They were usually identified only as a piece of exotic wood for unknown use. A craftsperson or a technical draftsperson could sketch a complicated workpiece or concept employing either of these rules, which can be used to draw horizontal and vertical parallel lines, rudimentary circles and arcs, and other shapes by sliding, rolling or rotating the rule across a surface. They also served as navigational tools used for plotting a course.  
  Drawing rule in use  
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