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Make it to Measure

Kids grow up so fast that we can hardly keep track, but with this whimsical, oversized ruler, you'll always know exactly where they stand!

Make It to MeasureBy Rob Brown

Kids grow up so fast that we can hardly keep track, but with this whimsical, oversized ruler, you’ll always know exactly where they stand! Suitable for a wide range of décor styles, this easy-to-create project will add visual interest to any room in your home. Even better, it’s sure to become a conversation piece and treasured family heirloom for many generations to come.

What You'll Need

  • lumber (6' long x 8" wide x 1" thick)
  • black paint

Here's How

  • Joint and plane the workpiece to 3/4" thick, but leave length for now.
  • Joint one edge, then rip the workpiece to 71/2" wide.
  • Rough sand the face with 80 grit sandpaper.
  • Mark inch and foot lines on the board, keeping in mind that you'll not need the first 6" or so, as the board will sit above your baseboard. (photo 1)
  • Make a right angle jig from 1/2" thick material and notch it 3/16" deep with a 1/4" diameter router bit. 
(photo 2)
  • Add temporary stop so the bit routs a 3" long groove in workpiece.
  • Align jig with each foot marking. Clamp it in place and rout the groove. Repeat for each foot marking. (photo 3)
  • Adjust temporary stop so bit only routs a 11/2" long groove in workpiece.
  • Align jig with first 3" increment, clamp in place, rout groove, repeat for all other 3" increments.
  • Adjust stop block so bit routs a 3/4" long groove in workpiece.
  • Align jig with remaining 1" increments, and rout grooves.
  • Smooth sand the rout grooves. (photo 4)
  • Rout two keyhole slots in back of height board. (photo 5)
  • Finish sand face and edges, and break all sharp corners.
  • Apply stencil numbers with black paint and stencil brush. (photo 6)
  • Apply a desired finish to the board.

Mark the Graduations

Every inch needs to be marked. The groove at every third inch will be slightly longer, and the groove at every foot will be longer still.

Simple Jig
Once the right-angle jig is made, rout a groove into the base of the jig using the same router bit that will be used to rout all the grooves in the board. This groove will allow you to align the jig to each graduation when routing the grooves.

Align, Clamp, and Rout

With the stop block in place, you can position the jig in place and rout the groove.

Ease the Edges

After you’ve sanded the face of the board, sand each edge so it’s not sharp.

Two Keyhole Slots
With a keyhole bit in your router and its edge guide attached, machine a pair of keyhole slots in the back of the board. Screw a pair of screws into the wall, at the correct distance from each other, and secure the board on the wall.

Add Numbers
Tape the stencil in position on the board and use a dry brush technique to add the numbers to the workpiece. Always practice on some scrap first.

Rob Brown designs and builds custom furniture and is editor of Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement magazine.

Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

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