What tool do you use to make parallel lines when cutting flagstone (or anything)?

I can't believe I'm having trouble with drawing parallel lines of un- square objects such as for cutting flagstone. What tool do you use?
Here's a sample problem I had today:

All I wanted to do was draw a line parallel to the edge of the stone which was further out than the width of the ruler.
None of the edges are square, so the square failed me.
Ace Hardware said they had no tool for drawing parallel lines. At Home Depot, I bought this "angle-ize" contraption - but it stinks like you can't believe (for a whole bunch of reasons).

So, may I ask ... what tool do YOU use to draw parallel lines (where none of the angels are square)?
PS: I ended up marking distance from the edge and drawing the lines connecting the dots ... but there MUST be a better way.
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On Sat, 4 Feb 2012 04:17:40 +0000 (UTC), Chuck Banshee

Measuring tape, pencil dots and a line drawn between dots using a straight edge is about as simple as it gets.
I've got an adjustable angle taker, basically a "square" with a wingnut lockdown at the corner. A simpler version of this, http://www.harborfreight.com/multi-square-1701.html
Only time I use it is to check when cutting duplicate angle cuts. Which is never. The straight edge is only about 6" long. But it is designed to lay flat on the work like a try square. That's the closest I've seen to what you're talking about. There's bigger stuff like this, http://tinyurl.com/78vpe6h
But just measuring pencil dots and connecting the dots with a straight edge line is what I'd do. Anything that's adjustable flexes, and can lose the adjustment. A straight edge is a thing of beauty.
--Vic
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On 2/3/2012 20:17, Chuck Banshee wrote:

Look at step by step directions
http://www.mathopenref.com/constparallel.html
http://www.mathopenref.com/constparallelrhombus.html
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Ran Garoo wrote:

Now that's using real math's (if you consider plane geometry real math). I like it.
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You can use a straight edge and a triangle like this:
http://flyhi.de/modellbau/modellbau_03.html
You can lay out parallel lines with a straight edge and a compass (make several sweeps at points along the baseline at the required width, draw a line tangent to the tops of all the arcs made by the compass). For stonecutting, I'd make a cardboard template to overlay the stone.
You can also build a pantograph - two strips of wood connected by two more smaller strips by bolts - the larger strips of wood can only move parallel to each other. They look something like this:
http://www.1920-30.com/toys/things-to-make/pantograph.html
-- Bobby G.
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On Sat, 4 Feb 2012 04:17:40 +0000 (UTC), Chuck Banshee

With so many flagstone walks not using parallel sides, and this being your first time, why not only make the outer edge of the walk straight, and use odd shapes everywhere else. It would look more traditional, more like you made it yourself, more real, not like you bought premade platic-flagstones. And take a whole lot of less time, plus no wastage, which is bound to happen even for a pro trying to make parallel lines.
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Oh, you're not making a sidewalk. (it doesn't say in this thread) Never mind.
wrote:

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On 02/04/2012 05:24 AM, micky wrote:

Maybe I'm missing something, but why not use a square on the straight edge, then drag a line with a pencil held at the 2" mark (or whatever?)
nate
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wrote:

Just Googling images for "flagstone" shows almost none with parallel lines. Like you say, the outside walk is parallel with the other side, but the inside cuts are not.
I did see one with just square tile, but it looked factory cut.

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wrote:

That is gonna be a lot of weed eating. :)
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Chuck Banshee wrote:

That's worked for me for 60 years.
If you anticipate a great need for an instrument to avoid having to mark two or more dots, you could make a parallelogram out of wood strips joined at the corners so that the rectangle can be deformed thereby bring two of the sides closer together.
You could also use a spacer...sort of like the ruler in your first photo.
--

dadiOH
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dadiOH wrote:

___________________
Another way...
That rusty square of yours? Go buy a shiny new one then drill a pencil sized hole near the end of the old one. If you want to make it fancy, screw a small block of wood to the end before you drill the hole...the thickness of the block will help keep the pencil vertical.
--

dadiOH
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I use a speed square and a just hold the pencil against it as I drag it- (Amazon.com product link shortened)
That gets me up to 8" or so. I can rip a sheet of sheetrock in half using a 25'tape and the same technique-- anything over about 2' & I get wobbly.
Jim
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On 2/3/2012 11:17 PM, Chuck Banshee wrote:

A plain old metal framing square will do ya, one of the 24" x 16" jobs should cover a flagstone. Trace two sides with indelible marker and then the third and finally the fourth side while measuring the desired length and width at the same time (framing squares are pre-marked in inches). Take to wet saw and cut along the lines.
You don't need to build a fancy contraption for something that was never intended to be perfectly square in the first place.
John
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Thanks for the reminder. I don't need the crutch, now-- but many years ago I drilled a hole in the groove at the 1" mark. Then I'd poke the scribe through the hole.
Jim
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On 2/3/2012 9:17 PM, Chuck Banshee wrote:

a stick with a hole drilled in it. put a pencil in the hole, one end of the stick on the side, and pull along.
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