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ruler, a try-square or a template
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"as opposed to, say, a ruler, a try-square or a template."

Rulers make straight lines gauges make lines parallel to and edge, which can be straight or curved. For instance there are gauges that cut channels for guitar or violin perflings. The are fences on routers. etc... A ruler can make a line anywhere, but it generally less accurate, due to movement, size of line, difficulty of aligning the ruler, offset of marking device, and so on. So where you can use a gauge it is better.

Try squares when used in layout at usually for making right angles, rather than parallel lines. They have similar problems to rulers, and depend on the material one is marking for their accuracy. This is also true of gauges, so which to use would depend on the accuracy you think your six sides square object has, for instance, as a starting point. There are whole layout systems based on the square alone, timber framing as an example. There are a bunch of different systems for doing layout that have different applications, normally in cabinetmaking we use the generally worst which is to take measurements from the workpiece. But given that is the method, gauges are pretty much the most accurate starting point where practical.

Templates are normally not that accurate, but they do a good job of transferring complex intentions. I use them for leather products which are very curvy, things like holsters, and gloves, or patterns for stuff like stuffed animals. Guitars are probably my main woodworking use. Often they are just a starting point, unless one is using some approach like pattern routing. You might use a template to set out a shell carving, then the final form might actually come from the shape of your carving tools.

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