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Marking Tools Used to Mark Dimensions and Angles in Theatre

marking tools used in a theater

Precision is crucial when it comes to building sets, props, and costumes in theatre, and marking tools are essential in achieving accurate measurements and angles. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common marking tools used in a high school and college theatre, along with safety tips to help prevent accidents.

Pencils

Pencils are the most basic marking tool used in theatre construction. They are versatile and easy to use on a variety of surfaces. However, it is important to use pencils with a hard lead to prevent smudging and ensure clear, visible markings. OSHA standard 1910.242(a) states that “hand and portable powered tools shall be used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions,” which includes using pencils for their intended purpose and following the manufacturer’s instructions for use.

Chalk Lines

Chalk lines are used to mark straight lines over long distances. They consist of a length of string coated in powdered chalk, which is pulled taut and snapped against the surface to leave a straight line of chalk. Chalk lines can be a hazard if not used properly, as the chalk can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat if inhaled. ANSI standard B11.23-2015 specifies safety requirements for the use of hand tools, including chalk lines. This standard recommends that users wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses and dust masks, when using chalk lines.

Marking Gauges

Marking gauges are used to mark a line parallel to the edge of a workpiece. They consist of a beam with a sliding marker that can be locked in place at a desired distance from the edge of the workpiece. When using a marking gauge, it is important to ensure that the gauge is held securely against the workpiece, and that the marker is locked in place before making any cuts. NFPA 51B-2019 Standard for Fire Prevention During Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work recommends that workers use marking gauges constructed of non-sparking materials when working in areas where flammable materials are present. This seems fairly easy to comply with however if you do happen to find sparking materials please inform the author so he can perform a hands-on test in a non-laboratory environment, probably in a driveway surrounded by lots of flammable materials.

Compasses

Compasses are used to mark circles and arcs. They consist of two arms joined at a pivot point, with one arm holding a pencil or pen. When using a compass, it is important to ensure that the pivot point is secure, and that the arms do not slip or move during use. ANSI standard B11.23-2015 recommends that workers inspect their marking tools before use to ensure that they are in good condition and working properly. If you didn’t use a compass in elementry school this blog might not be the best fit. Take a math class and come back in a few weeks.

Scribe / Scratch Awl

A scribe, also known as a scratch awl, is a pointed tool used to make small marks or indentations on a surface. It is often used to mark wood, metal, or plastic surfaces before making cuts or drilling holes. When using a scribe, ensure that it is held securely and that the surface being marked is stable and flat to avoid slipping or damaging the surface. I couldn’t find a standard or code for this so I’ll simply state it like this: Use in accordance with manufacturer instructions. I don’t recommend stabbing yourself in the eye with it.

Safety Tips

It is important to follow safety guidelines when using marking tools in a theatre setting. OSHA standard 1910.242 requires that hand and portable powered tools be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, ANSI standard B11.23-2015 specifies safety requirements for the use of hand tools.

Here are some general safety tips for using marking tools in a theatre:

  1. Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses and dust masks, when using marking tools.
  2. Use marking tools for their intended purpose and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
  3. Inspect marking tools before use to ensure that they are in good
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