One way to avoid measuring twice but still getting it wrong is to avoid using a tape measure whenever possible. That’s why many cabinetmakers and woodworkers have long used story sticks instead of tapes and memory, for transferring repeated measurements to carcasses and other project parts. But, better than scratching notes on a wooden stick, Rockler’s new Story Stick Kit provides four pointed indicators with metal thumbscrews, plus a rectangular end stop. Just slide and tighten them onto a 1/2-in. dowel or square tubing, a Rockler T-track or a strip of 3/8- x 3/4-in. scrap of wood, to indicate the positions of face frame rails, shelf dadoes and other repeating project features. Since the indicators are fixed, there’s no risk that your layout marks can change.
With a long enough stick, you can even use the kit to mark window, door and outlet locations, etc., when measuring a room for built-in cabinetry. Or, use two indicators to check the diagonals of cases and drawers for square. Rockler’s Story Stick Kit (item 58376) comes without a dowel or T-track. It sells for $29.99.