Checking a Workpiece or Assembly for Twist

One of the most difficult things to deal with is a workpiece or assembly that’s twisted. It affects everything else you do to a project. But you don’t have to battle twist. During glue up, a pair of shop-made winding sticks can easily be used to check for twist in anything from a small panel to an 8′-long table. This way, you can “tweak” the clamps a bit to take out the twist.

Winding Sticks
Do the Twist. With a pair of shop-made winding sticks, any twist becomes obvious when you sight across the tops of the sticks.

Winding sticks are just a pair of strips that are milled flat and parallel. To provide contrast when sighting across the sticks, one strip can be inlaid with a contrasting wood, like the maple inlay you see in the photo below.

Winding Sticks

If the top edges of the two winding sticks are parallel, then the workpiece is flat. Just be sure to check the assembly at a couple different points on the workpiece or assembly. Note: Beveling the edges of the winding sticks will make them easier to use as straightedges for drawing layout lines.

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