Marking out

For other uses, see Marking out (disambiguation).

Marking out or layout is the process of transferring a design or pattern to a work piece, as the first step in the manufacturing process.[1] It is performed in many industries or hobbies although in the repetition industries the machine's initial setup is designed to remove the need to mark out every individual piece.


Marking out consists of transferring the dimensions from the plan to the work piece in preparation for the next step, machining or manufacture.

Typical tools include:[2]


As welding does not always require the use of fine tolerances, marking out is usually performed by using centre punches, hammers, tape measures and chalk.

The "chalk" is actually a small pre-cut block of talc (soapstone). These talc blocks can be sharpened to a stronger point than the softer blackboard chalk. The color of the chalk provides good contrast against the dark color of the hot rolled steel that is generally used.[3]


In carpentry and joinery practice a pencil is used for marking while in cabinetmaking a marking knife provides for greater accuracy. A storey pole is used to lay out repeated measurements such as the location of joints in timber framing, courses of siding such as wood shingles and clapboards, the heights of doorjambs and the courses of bricks in masonry.[4] Carpenters typically mark out framing members on-center, the measurements are to the centers of each member.


  1. Brett, Peter (2005). Carpentry & Joinery: Job Knowledge. Carpentry & Joinery. 1 (Illustrated, 3rd ed.). Nelson Thornes. ISBN 0748785019. Retrieved 2013-02-01.
  2. Caborn, Colin; Cave, John (2000). Design and Technology (Revised, Illustrated, 3rd ed.). Nelson Thornes. Ch. 12, Part 1. ISBN 0174482779. Retrieved 2013-02-01.
  3. Timings, Roger (2012). Fabrication and Welding Engineering. Routledge. Ch. 5.8. ISBN 1136403817. Retrieved 2013-02-01.
  4. Frane, James T.. Craftsman's illustrated dictionary of construction terms. Carlsbad, CA: Craftsman Book Co., 1994. 339.
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