Over Christmas I didn’t get as much woodworking done as I would have liked, but I did manage to produce five or six height charts as gifts for various people.

The height charts take the form of enlarged rulers where each of your typical inch increments represent a foot in actual height.

Other people have used larger pieces of wood for these rulers, typically 8″ x 1″ or wider. But during my trip to the timber merchant, I found that the straightest, cleanest pieces I could find (at a large size) were the 7″ x 1″ boards.

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Looking through the lumber / timber yard

This was my first trip to this particular timber yard and I can honestly say that I was very impressed with the selection to hand, the helpfulness of the staff and the quality of the lumber / timber. After sieving through the 7″ x 1″ boards and selecting the ones I thought to be the best suited to my needs, it was off home to let the boards acclimate for a while.

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The Lumber / Timber at home, ready for storing

So, trying to think ahead as much as possible and knowing that I wanted to give these to people for Christmas, I actually purchased the lumber / timber in early October. The idea was that I could sticker the and weigh it down,  letting it acclimate to household conditions. This way, once it was gifted, the amount of movement in the wood would be as small as possible. So just over 11 weeks was enough in my mind.

Then it came to cutting the boards to length. I cut my boards to be 6′ 1/4″ in length. The ruler will effectively be 6′ long and will be mounted 6″ from floor level. So when marking the board, you actually mark from 6″ up to 6’6″.

The next step is to give the board a quick sanding, This just ensures you have a nice surface to work with and can also be used to round the edges of the board.

For my markings I used the following measurements:

1 Foot Increment= 2 3/4″

6″ Increment = 1 3/4″

3″ Increment = 1 1/4″

1″ Increment = 3/4″

After marking the board with the measurement increments, I then decided to burn these markings at this stage, rather than mark out the numbers as well. This means that I can adjust the numbers after the measurement markings are in place to ensure that the ruler looks right.

From here, the I then marked out the numbers on the ruler and burned them onto the surface.

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At this stage you need to decide if you want to personalise your height chart or not. I’ve had a few requests for these height charts and I have to say it is pretty split as to whether people want them personalised or not. I decided for mine to have Olivia’s name on the ruler. If we have another child, I will make one specifically for them. But having made some for people who already have several children, they either want them left free of personalisation or perhaps the family name on there.


After finishing up the burning of measurements, numbers and letters I give the ruler a quick rub down with 0000 wire wool followed by three coats of Danish Oil, with another rub of wire wool between coats 2 and 3, just to give the ruler a nice smooth feel.

The danish oil turned out really well and really brought out the grain of the wood. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you will have seen me posting some in-project pictures of the rulers over the last couple of months.

For a more in depth look at my most recent ruler build, please see the build video below:

If anybody has any questions, please let me know. If you would like to be kept up to date with content as I produce it, feel free to follow/subscribe on the social media of your choice, or directly to the Shavings & Awl blog for email updates.

Thanks for visiting Shavings & Awl.


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