If you use hand tools for joinery you need a marking knife. Use a knife to mark critical lines rather than a pencil and your work will be easier and more accurate. The knife line helps guide a saw or a chisel in the way they should go. I now have a fancy (expensive) marking knife, but this blue little kobalt utility knife was my only marking knife for some time. I still use it all the time. There is one feature that sepatates the nice blue knife from the garbage red knife – see this picture.
See the big knob at the business end? After you extend the blade you can tighten that knob and the blade stays in place (as it should). In the red version the blade has a tendency to loosen and come out, which is very aggravating. Not a problem with the Kobalt.
So, if you are interested in cutting a few joints by hand scrape up $8 and get one of these. The blades are disposable and you can break the ends off to expose a fresh surface several times per blade. Plus, the blades are really skinny and great for marking in really tight spaces, including dovetails.
Do you have any favorite “low cost” shop solutions to share? Leave a comment if you do.