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Direct scribing is the most versatile and widely used fitting methods of almost all of the flooring products. It is a method used on stair treads, wall base sheet materials, wall panels and counter top materials. This method transcends throughout the flooring industry from ceramic, hardwood and resilient materials.

The direct scribing method can be used to scribe one, two or three walls with accuracy. To begin you need to determine the approximate locations for the seams and layout the material, accordingly.

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Photo 1: Layout of the material to determine the placement of the seam. Position the material flat along the long wall, with the ends flashed up the wall about 1-1/2-inches.

Tools used for direct scribing include a bar scribe, steel square and a pair of dividers either straight or bent. (Both shown) Usually, the bar scribe is used on scribes more than three inches and the dividers are used for scribes less than three inches.

Photo 2: Establish positioning marks on the seam side of the material. The initial scribe is done on the long wall first. The object is to have the scribe line moved onto the material, the material cut, and the material moved into position.

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Photo 3: Establish a position mark on the scribe side of the seam, directly across from the position mark on the seam side of the material. This will keep the material square and will make the positioning simpler.

Photo 4: Set the bar scribe to the distance that you need the material to move. In this instance the bar scribe is set to over lap the existing piece of material ½” to allow for later seam cutting.

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Photo 5: For the long wall scribe, hold the bar scribe at a right angle to the wall to the material and pull toward you, while keeping a light downward pressure on the scribe needle. Avoid using too much pressure on the scribes. To maintain accuracy, it is necessary to hold the bar scribe at a right angle to the material, because any angling of the bar scribe will cause the scribe line to be too tight.

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Photo 6: When you come to an irregular surface (door casing) scribe the plain that is the same as the wall with the bar scribe. The intersecting lines will be marked in next procedure.

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Photo 7: For the intersecting lines use a steel square to establish the parallel lines. These too must be at a right angle to the material.

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Photo 8: Move the material out so that it is flat on the floor. This will make the cutting of the material easier. When cutting the scribe line, be sure to impart a slight under cut to the material. Under cutting the material will allow the material to fit better to the wall.

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Photo 9: Once cutting out is completed, move the material into position. The position marks will aid with the final positioning of the material.

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Photo 10: Once the material is in position you must re-establish the position marks so you can work from the seam side of the material. This will ensure the material stays in position while scribing the ends of the material. In this case it will be necessary to create three marks. The center mark will allow you to determine the amount of movement of the material left to right, and the two out side marks will keep the material straight with the wall.

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Photo 11: Set the dividers to the distance the material is moved. Be sure to double check to be sure the material is set at all three positioning marks.

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Photo 12: With the material in position and the dividers set, you can begin to scribe the end wall. Like the bar scribe, it is necessary to keep the dividers at a right angle to the wall. When the scribing process is completed move the material out away from the wall, so you can easily cut it out. Again under cut the material for a better fit.

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Photo 13: Once completed cutting the material out, you are ready to move the material back to the positioning marks. If a third wall is to be fit, work off from the positing marks as previously done.

The use of a direct scribing process keeps the margin of error at a minimum. It also helps keep the walls and casings from being marred like they would from a free-handing fit.