We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Story Stick?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
AboutMechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At AboutMechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A story stick is a very simple tool that is used to design complex cabinetry objects. It is a board or rod used to check measurements repeated in a building or woodworking project. The length of the story stick is marked with graduated increments relating to the project at hand, and these marks are made with a pencil to allow the story stick to be used over and over. Though its exact origins are unknown, it was used by stonemasons for centuries and is often believed to have been invented by Egyptians. Its name has been altered over time, so it is also often referred to as a story pole or story rod.

Although no cabinetmaker would approach a project without a measuring tape, story sticks are invaluable in supplying necessary information on the location, size, and functions of cabinetry. Unlike many other construction or remodeling projects, successful cabinet building depends more on how the angles related to each other than the measurements themselves. These angular relationships are better represented by markings on story sticks than by jotting down numbers obtained by using a measuring tape, especially numbers that are often repeated.

To build a story stick is simple. Any light wood can be used, but light colored hardwood varieties of plywood such as birch and maple are preferred because markings can be easily seen and easily erased so the story stick can be reused for other projects. For practical purposes, sturdiness and easy handling, the wood should be 1 1/2 inch (3.81 cm) to 2 inches (5.08 cm) wide.

Story sticks are invaluable when there are a lot of repetitive cuts to make or identical items to construct. This often applies to drawers and cabinets that have the same dimensions or identical lay outs in a room. The sticks can also be used to mark out the location of any doors, windows, or other obstacles, including pre-existing plumbing or wiring in the room.

Each marking recorded on the stick is used to accurately calculate the cuts and the raw materials needed for the project. When the project is done, the marks on the stick are erased, and the stick is ready to be reused. The story stick calculations can also be recorded elsewhere for future reference.

A common, practical companion to the traditional — and horizontal — story stick is the vertical story stick. It is used to record measurements for countertops, windowsills, outlet and switch plates, and other items for the next step of the project. Artisans regularly develop a variety of story sticks to match their specific needs and often include sticks for recording the interior widths and depths of drawers and doors, cabinet depths, and any other measurement that is expected to be repeatedly used in current and future projects.

AboutMechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

AboutMechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

AboutMechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.