Review By Dean Bielanowski  M.Power Website - http://www.m-powertools.com

perfect butt profile scribing tool is designed to allow uneven and irregular profiles to be copied and traced onto a workpiece so that it can be butted flush when cut to shape
M.Power Perfect Butt Profile Scriber

Review

By Dean Bielanowski

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Reviewed April 2010

If you have ever done any kind of home renovation or trim work, and you are a bit of a perfectionist, chances are you cringe at the sight of gaps between two surfaces. Whether these present between trim and drywall or between cupboards and out of square walls for example, the fact remains that these gaps are unsightly and can be difficult to fill or hide. The best solution is to prevent the gaps from being created int he first place, and this is where a good profile scribing tool comes into play.

Today we are looking at the new "Perfect Butt" Profile Scriber from M.Power Tools. Unfortunately this tool does not give you a "perfect butt" in the anatomical sense, but it will give you one in the construction and material fitting arena!

M.Power Profile Scriber
Unlike other profile scribers which may be a large number of profile "fingers" held together in a bar-like apparatus that is pushed against a surface to scribe a profile, the M.Power scriber uses a different design that lends itself better to scribing over longer distances. It doesn't have the limitation of only scribing a distance as long as the tool is itself, but it's design will also not work in every case (what tool ever works perfectly for every situation anyway?).

Indeed, looking at the design, the M.Power profile scriber is very simple indeed. And they do say that the simplest things are often the best, right? Regardless, what you have here is a steel handle or shaft which holds a ball bearing and a marker and numerous wheels can be placed over the bearing to set a pre-determined offset from the scribing pencil. That's it, in the most simplest form. Now onto a bit more detail...

Ok, the main handle or shaft is steel constructed and holds a standard pencil within its body. The pencil is spring loaded so it can retract into the handle as it is pushed against a surface, allowing the offset disc to ride flat against a surface. The pencil comes ready to use out of the package and is nicely sharpened. The pencil can be removed at any time for resharpening or replacement by unscrewing the top black cap of the handle. Inside is a spring and the pencil itself.

At the bottom of the handle is a fixed bearing. This holds a rubber O-Ring in a groove that is designed to hold onto the various offset wheels the package supplies you with. These are offered with the following offsets (offset is from edge of wheel to center of pencil tip):

  • 1-1/8" (29mm)

  • 2" (50mm)

  • 2-3/4" (70mm)

  • 3-1/2" (90mm)

Depending on the offset required, or perhaps the intricacy of a curve or piece to be scribed, the best wheel for the job can be chosen. Generally speaking the larger wheels are better for longer scribing tasks or those with less arc or detail. The smaller wheels can better scribe tighter radius curves or corners (it can handle outer corners well but inner corners cannot be scribed square because iof the wheel shape). Unlike finger-type profile scribers, the M.Power Perfect Butt cannot get into tight inside areas or scribe inside square or sharp edges accurately. This does not mean it doesn't have a raft of uses however.

There is also a fifth "wheel", so to speak. M.Power call this the "Pro Cap" which is the black screw cap that holds everything in the shaft in place. Basically, by inserting the spring into the handle shaft first, then reversing the pencil and inserting it with tip facing top of shaft the Pro Cap is then added as usual and the pencil tip protrudes through the small hole in the end of the Pro Cap. This method provides a smaller offset of 11/16" from the edge of the Pro Cap to the tip of the pencil. For working in tighter curves or pieces with more detail, this is the best option to choose, however you don't get the benefit of the smooth rolling bearing in this case. It can scribe sharp outer corners with a bit of care, but you still have the limitation of not being able to scribe inside corners because of the round shape of the wheel/Pro Cap.

I have used the M.Power Profile scriber to flush fit cupboards to out of square vertical walls, to set tile cut marks for out of square walls in rooms and for scribing flooring in my ongoing home renovation. And I seem to find new uses for it all the time. It can be used to scribe kitchen benchtops to neatly fit existing walls, to fit shelves in less than square cabinets for a no-gap fit result, and can even help to scribe coping cuts on moldings. It can also aid int he creation of accurate templates for construction or building work as well.

The offset wheels are made from plastic (except for the smallest 1-1/8" wheel which is metal) so there is no real problem of marring or marking/scratching surfaces you run it against. The 1-1/8"metal wheel has very smooth edge faces to prevent any damage as well. The bearing runs ultra smooth which provides an excellent level of control as you run the wheel against an edge to scribe the profile. The knurled section of the handle provides extra grip too which, while not essential for this type of tool in my opinion, is a welcome addition.

There is not much more to this tool really. That about explains it all, but I will demonstrate a standard use for this tool as part of my built-in storage cupboard project where I had to scribe a face frame edge to meet flush with a less-than square vertical wall in the room in which it is being installed....


Here are the storage cupboards in position. They will be eventually "built-in" to the space. The scribing tool is used on the face frame component which is seen on the far right of the carcass assembly. I am using pine for the face frame, which will be painted with white enamel before final fixing and assembly. This shot does show the frame piece cut after scribing and no gap between carcass and wall is evident.

 
This is that right edge shown in more detail prior to scribing and cutting. You can see the gap between carcass (which is square) and the wall (which isn't square) widening as you look from top to bottom. The actual difference between top and bottom is as much as 1-1/4" over the eight-foot run.


Running the M.Power Profile Scriber with 2" wheel (with carcass offset a little extra to accommodate) along the wall creates an accurate and neat pencil line with which to make the cut later for a flush fit once carcass is manuevered back into place and face frame completed and fixed.

Conclusion
In a few words, yes this is a good product that works. It works because it is simple and effective in most scribing tasks and is extremely easy to use without hassle or frustration, and it is fast to use as well! It is priced at around US$25 which may seem a little expensive at first but you will quickly see the value in your investment as you create your first perfectly scribed piece that leaves little or no gap against the material you have scribes it from. Well worth it for that perfect fit each and every time in my opinion.

YouTube Video
Here's a video that shows in a little more detail the use and benefit of the M.Power Profile Scriber. You will note the wheels shown in this video are a little different in design to the ones provided in the reviewed product here, although the outcomes remain the same...


Available to Order through these Companies...
Click graphic to go to their direct product page for this item

USA


M.Power Perfect Butt Profile Scriber
Hartville Tools

International Dealers
Click here for a full list

For more information on the Perfect Butt Profile Scriber, check out the manufacturer's website at www.m-powertools.com

M.Power Profile Scriber Photos
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Perfect Butt retail packaging.


Main shaft handle with pencil inserted, bearing and
1-1/8" metal wheel shown.


2" (50mm) plastic wheel. Note also the O-Ring on the bearing to hold wheel in place.


The 3-1/2" (90mm) wheel ready to go.


Standard round pencil can be used. Note the spring which provides pressure on the pencil during use.


Using the handle and pencil in reverse. Note the pencil poking through the hole in the Pro Cap. This gives an offset of 11/16".


Instruction manual is included to get you going
in the right direction!

 

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