Lath Corrections

How does everyone make corrections their lath markings when out in the field? Currently we're using a pocket knife to scrape off mistakes/out of date information. I'm thinking that their should be an easier way.

We try to reuse lath where we can. Typically it's just for a change in offset, and I'm looking for an easier way then using a pocket knife.


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  • Thanks for all your replies! I'm going to continue bringing my knife out with me in to the field, as I have it with me all the time. Most handy tool you can have with you nearly everywhere at anytime.

    I really like the Idea of the pocket planer or a file type tool. The Dremel also sounds like a great idea, except for that it's electronic and you can have issues with dead batteries or if it gets wet, ruining a $100 tool.

    We try to reuse lath where we can if it's an easy fix. Normally it's for changes is offset for curb staking where it's going to be at the same station but different offset/elevation.

    • I don't consider myself dressed  unless I have my pocket knife in my pocket but in over 40 years of surveying, I have never used it to change a stake or lath as they apparently call it in other locations. I recall a VA nurse's comment when I emptied my pockets prior to being weighed (I had two pocket knives that day). She said rather sarcastically, "I guess you never know when you might need one", like it was an assault rifle or something. I replied, "it's a tool, not a weapon". Different customs in different places, whatever works is always good.  

      • I've had similar responses to me having a pocket knife. Once by the police. My response was similar to yours, "it's a tool". I have found it a bit humorous at times, people that have given me crap about having a knife on me have been some of the same people glad that I've had it. Which in turn, I was able to give them crap for not having one.

  • A very sharp knife or very coarse sanding block.  On construction I remove and keep the old one and replace it with a new one, I don't like the idea of altering a lathe because I can see that being a problem, someone messes up and tries to cover it up by altering your lathe and they can show that you altered lathe before, I see that it would be difficult to prove you didn't alter it.  I sand the used ones down and use them for like property corner marking or control point marking.

    • When I worked for the US Forest Service we used plastic stakes & grease pencils for cut stakes on logging roads. Easy to wipe clean & change. Problem was that they melted when they decided to control burn the area. I remember when the engineer for a local surveyor where I once worked decided he could make a party chief out of a military dude just out of the army whom he met at a bar. Bad idea, I was just a rodman then but I could tell this guy wasn't party chief material. I remember the engineer telling him, "this ain't ribbon, it's called flagging & that ain't a board' it's a stake." The owner had a talk with him & I was told he quit. I don't think the engineer's job was on real firm ground either!

  • I use a drywall hammer, half hammer half hatchet. Not much different than the pocket knife.
  • Pocket knife or a file....
  • Just use white electric tape
    • A sharp knife to fix a small area. Replace lath if its going to be time consuming. I once got sent home for the day as an apprentice for not bringing a knife. Part of the uniform. Now I'm lucky if field crew can stay off facebook.

  • Pocket planer
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