Author Topic: squares and calipers  (Read 8359 times)

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Offline Dan Uhlir

  • Posts: 138
squares and calipers
« on: February 24, 2007, 11:55 PM »
Does anyone have a recommendation for a good quality square maybe 5" to 7'' also looking for a caliper. Thanks DanP.S. Saw a domino demo at a woodworking show yesterday very exciting.

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Offline Jim Dailey

  • Posts: 278
Re: squares and calipers
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2007, 12:15 AM »
Hi Dan,

I really my Starrett's, but their spendy. 

For an inexpensive square, Harbor Freight sells a set of 3 or 4 machinist square made in India.  The ones I picked up years back, 3 of 4 where right on.   

Square is square regardless of how much or how little you pay for it...

Life is just a series of projects...

Offline Jim Dailey

  • Posts: 278
Re: squares and calipers
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2007, 12:19 AM »

I forgot about the caliper...  I have several; digital is nice to flip from 1000ths to metric, but my favorite is a fractional caliper from Lee Valley.  If I remember around $30 for the Lee Valley.

Life is just a series of projects...

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2644
Re: squares and calipers
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2007, 02:12 AM »
Hey Dan,

A 45/45/90 drafting triangle will work fine -- just pick one up at a stationary or drafting store.  Or, make your own from MDF using the 5-cut squaring method described -- er, uh, somewhere on this forum.

I have an old Starret that I used to use when I removed metal back in the late 70's -- love it and still looks and works like new.  A friend just gave me an inexpensive digital one that will also display in metric -- good enough, and something scaled in metric is rather handy.


Offline Dave Rudy

  • Posts: 771
  • Coloroda Front Range, in the lee of Pikes Peak
Re: squares and calipers
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2007, 10:04 AM »
Penn Tool co has Miyumoto (phon sp???) digital gauges that are within .001 read metric and imperial.  Incra makes 90 and 45 squares guaranteed to .001 IIRC.  I have larger Enco squares.  They make smaller ones, all guaranteed to within tolerances.

None of these are the cheapest but they are reliable and accurate.  For these tools, the difference in price is on the order of magnitude of $30-40.  Makes sense to me.


Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1843
Re: squares and calipers
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2007, 11:18 AM »
We have used dial/digital calipers for many years in machining. There are some very good, but pricey, units available. I say pricey because, as woodworkers, we may not want to spend for 6' calipers almost as much as we do for Festools. One particular model that we like is the Mitutoyo IP67 Coolant Proof Abslute series. There are several versions including solar powered, a feature that may be nice but is rendered less important by the fact these are auto-on and auto-off calipers. Pick them up and slide the mechanism and they are on. Set them down and they will go to sleep in a few moments. I have been using a set in my woodworking for three years on the same battery. Who knows how long it will last. We have about 10 pair at work with absolutely no battery failures or any other failure. This is in daily use, shop floor, coolants, cast iron dust, you name it. The coolant proof feature also makes them pretty much impervious to all outside contaminants, like sawdust or even dust from MDF. This is important in digital models because contaminants can render them useless. A rack and pinion (mechanical) caliper can be cleaned out but that is a PITA I don't miss. MSRP: starting about $160, but I am sure you can beat that pretty easily. They are a very useful tool for woodworking, IMO.

One use that is hardly ever mentioned is for inch/metric conversions. Just set the size in whichever system you have the dimension, push the inch/mm button, and you have the conversion. It is a bit like driving in Canada, seeing a Km distance to your destination, and using your speedometer to do the conversion. I have worked in both systems so long that I can think in either and quickly translate even large numbers, like the lengths of guiderails. It is almost like being fluent in two languages. If this sounds like bragging it is not meant to be. It has only taken 38 years.

I am sure Starret, Fowler, B&S and others make equivalent units that may be or are just as nice but these are the ones we have settled on as being best for us. They do not make a fractional model but why one would ever want that is beyond me anyway. 
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3648
Re: squares and calipers
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2007, 01:46 PM »
I've been getting a lot of use from an old Starrett vernier bevel protractor on an asymmetrical truncated pyramid base for a cast zinc cigar store Indian. The bevel protractor really helped a lot but it is a pain to read the thing as the increments are so small. Before reccomending this tool I checked the WWW and discovered that there are dial indicator versions and magnified versions. Here is a link to a woodworker's page who has tried a few versions.