The skirret is a measure—one that is to ensure the foundation of a building is straight by laying down the string as a marker. It is related, symbolically, to the 24-inch gauge and the plumb rule, but has a specific connotation to the Third Degree. The main subject of the Third Degree is one’s mortality and immortality. The skirret represents the foundation of the way of life we are to follow as laid down to us by our Creator—keeping it on the straight and narrow, so to speak, using our Masonic principles. We should allow the skirret, therefore, to remind us to start building our character on a proper foundation—namely, the many virtues of behavior found in the Masonic ceremonies, and in the Holy Word of the Almighty. And we should allow this tool to remind us why we should do so—the end of our life shall end someday, and we should prepare now for what comes next.
Utilized in Emulation Ritual, a skirret is an archaic form of chalk line. It is a wooden tool shaped like the letter "T", historically used to ensure the foundation of a building was straight by laying down string as a marker.
To use, the craftsman unwound the string from its spindle and utilized it to lay out the dimensions of the structure being built, acting on a center pin from which a line was drawn out to mark the ground. In certain instances, with the spindle as the center, the skirret could also have been used for drawing a circle.