Simple Scribe Scribing Tool Review

Simple Scribe set

I love simple tools. Even the name of this particular one, Simple Scribe, says it all. It’s a scribing tool that doesn’t try to be more than it needs to be. (You won’t find, for example, a wire strippers or bottle opener on it, though there is a handy bubble level.) The Simple Scribe lets you scribe a line along a piece of wood, smooth or irregular, and trace an offset from between 1/4″ and 1″ in 1/8″ increments (7 different scribing distances). If you’re attempting to cut or shape some wood trim to level it to a floor, or fit two vertical pieces of wood or paneling together (which are never quite perfectly flush), then you’ll quickly understand why this little plastic scribing tool might be your new best friend.

Simple Scribe markings
The distance markings are easy to read, and etched into the plastic body of the Simple Scribe scribing tool

The tool uses a standard round #2 pencil which threads into the plastic body of the scribing tool. There’s no wobble, and the pencil is unable to fall out. Since it’s held so tightly, sharpening needs to be done from without. You don’t want to remove the pencil once it’s inserted until you need to replace it. Because there are seven different offsets, scribing is just a simple matter of understanding the furthest distance of your wood piece’s variance and then setting the scribe to just above that setting.

Simple Scribe level


The Simple Scribe tool gets the seven different stepped distances from its unusual shape, with each side presenting a new length of flat surface that can sit snugly against the workpiece—but at a different distance measured to the centerline of the pencil. The tool is very lightweight, easy to stow in a tool bag or belt, and is even made in the USA. It was designed by self-employed carpenter Marty Crochet, who wanted a simpler, more consistent way to scribe lines when needed.

Simple Scribe in use
The Simple Scribe was perfect for scribing a line along some 1x material we were using to butt up against the irregular edge of a fireplace. As you can see here, tight or shallow areas will be a challenge for the Simple Scribe, but if you can at least get some purchase with the tool (and maintain the same angle as you scribe) you’ll be able to scribe even difficult lines.

If you’re doing one-off or serialized work—installing a bunch of baseboards in an old home, or doing the inside of a closet with paneling—you’re going to want to spend the meager $12.95 on the Simple Scribe scribing tool. This little plastic tool will save you way more than that in time. If you pick up two or more, the price drops to under $10.

Pick up the Simple Scribe online.

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