Winding sticks are very useful for gauging twist in a board,
but they’re difficult to read. My improved version of
these time-tested helpers makes the twist
I start with a pair of straight, flat
2-in.-wide sticks made from 3/4-in.-thick
light-colored wood. Then I stain both of
them dark—the darker, the better.
When the stain is dry, I cut shallow
rabbets in both faces at the top of
both sticks. This exposes a ribbon of
light-colored wood above the stained
surface on each face. To cut the rabbets,
set the blade’s height to 1/2 in.
and the rip fence 1/32 in. narrower
than the stick. Rip all four rabbets
from this setting.
Joint the top edge of one board to
remove the stain. Then rip this board
narrower by the width of the rabbet on
the other board. That’s all there is to it.
During use, the narrow stick goes in
front. Any twist in the board shows as a
dark-colored wedge between the top
of the rabbet on the near stick and the
bottom of the rabbet on the far stick.