Sunday, July 5, 2015

Advice for Using Your Alvin Parallel Straightedge

Parallel rules provide precision and convenience no matter what board or drafting table is being used. The Alvin brand of these straightedges has become the standard in most offices and studios. A few pieces of advice will help anyone to use and maintain an Alvin parallel straightedge.

Check the Alignment Periodically

The wires and knobs on a parallel rule do a very good job of holding the straightedge in place. The knobs and wires can still become loose over time with repeated use. This can cause very minor misalignments with the straightedge. These can become problematic when using the entire length of the parallel rule since the differences between the ends of a line will be noticeable. The solution is to check the alignment periodically with a second ruler to ensure the straightedge is still parallel to the board edges.

Keep a Gap under the Straightedge

Something to keep in mind is that the height of the parallel straightedge can be adjusted. Small differences in the weight of the paper being used can make a real difference. If the parallel rule is touching or rubbing against the paper even a little, then the chance of ink bleeding underneath becomes much greater. Take the time to check that there is a gap between the parallel rule and the paper every time a new sheet with a different weight is used. This will prevent bleeding.

Always Move From Top to Bottom of the Paper

Another issue to consider is that undried ink or grains from pencils are going to be resting on the surface of the paper after using the parallel rule. If the straightedge is dragged up over the freshly drawn lines, then the ink or pencil will be smeared across the paper in an undesirable way. The solution here is simple. Always work from the top to the bottom of the paper so that the Alvin parallel straightedge never crosses back over a newly drawn line.

Replace Damaged or Worn Parts

A final piece of advice is to pay attention to the individual parts that make up the parallel straightedge. Watch for parts that are coming loose, breaking or wearing down noticeably. Parts kits are available. Replace any worn or damaged parts right way to get the best performance from the parallel rule.


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