Finding Centers on Round & Square Material…

The finding centers method shown here can be applied on small and large material.

Almost any straight edge will work however the combination square makes life so much easier.



Dykem® layout fluid helps mark your centers when using a pencil or marker may not be practical.

The layout fluid cut down on the glare on shiny metal and can be easily marked using a scribe or even a sharp nail. Simply brush it on & it dries in just a short time. One warning is it has a very strong odor so consider wearing a mask or respirator.

Used on steel stock to mark out lines when using a pencil or pen is not practical.

Here I using a combination square with the center head attached. There are many other tools and methods to do this but this is what I have and use.

Center Finding Square

As you can see using a scribing tool and the marking fluid the clear sharp lines on the round material are ready for the next step.


Scribing Tool




Here I’m marking  center on  2″ x 2″  square material. I’m using a pencil here to do the marking. I’ll never use a marker because they can bleed into the wood causing unwanted permanent marks unless they are sanded down.

Marking Center line




Both center lines marked


Now that I have found the center on the square material I can drill the hole for the next step which is installing a bolts and nut so I can turn the wood on the lathe.

Pilot Hole


Bolt attached

On the round material I use a mechanical center punch which centers the metal drill bit while it is being drilled to bore out the center on the lathe.


Center Punch

Below are the photos of both the round and wood material mounted in my lathe chuck.


Center Bolt Attachment


Drill Bit Center


More tips and techniques are coming soon!


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