Quality measuring tools - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-24-2020, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Quality measuring tools

So I just got serious about woodworking a few years ago but have always been handy with building things around the house.
Typical Lowes or HD tools like tape measure, combination square...etc
I now realize how important it is to have better quality measuring tools.
I contemplated getting a Woodpecker square but settled on the iGaging combination set.
I got it a few days ago and out of the box I checked it with a 3" Starrett machining square that I happened to find at a flea market.
Once I tested it for accuracy, I checked all my other tools that I was using for so long and you can guess how that turned out.
Now i know why i would get frustrated with making cuts that didnt fit right.
Whats nice is I have convinced my wife that having these tools are very important to building better things.
I was able to square up an Empire square that had to be out of square by 1/16" up to its 8" length.
I also picked up an Incra 4" T Rule that is a lot cheaper than the Woodpecker. I have used it a few times now and besides being a little flimsy it will work.
I also ordered (on the cheaper end of Woodpecker items) the 12" Edge rule and the 24" woodworking rule.

So for those who are getting into woodworking it does pay to have some quality in your measuring devices.
Would love to have a Starrett square but I can't justify the price unless I was making a living at what I was doing.
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post #2 of 17 Old 03-24-2020, 12:19 PM
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I think that you must have had bad luck/was unfortunate with your early tool buy. I have had no significant problem with measuring tools that I have purchased at an ordinary retail outlet. I have checked squares before leaving store and taken best one.


I know that it gives a person a good feeling to purchase expensive tools. However, I do not think it is necessary.



George
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-24-2020, 05:04 PM
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A square Starrett square is no more square than a lesser priced square that is square whether you are a hobbyist or a pro.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #4 of 17 Old 03-24-2020, 05:06 PM
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I don't have any "quality" measuring tools.
My squares are square as far as I can determine. My tape measure matches my ruler which matches the scale on my table saw.
I would truly love to have some really nice measuring tools but do just fine without. Besides, it's just not in the budget.
I can buy a lot of wood for what some of those tool cost.
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post #5 of 17 Old 03-24-2020, 11:05 PM
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I own a small 3 sided drafting ruler, that's the fanciest thing I've ever used. I will state that I do very much prefer stanley tape measures to any other brand, at least the one I own has thinner lines on it. I never did see a point in paying a few hundred dollars for rulers and squares, unless you're doing machining. Then that makes perfect sense.



-T
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-24-2020, 11:51 PM
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Consistent measuring and marking is important. I've got an Empire combination square that's served me well for quite some time. Congratulations on your new tools!
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post #7 of 17 Old 03-25-2020, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSXRFanIM View Post
So I just got serious about woodworking a few years ago but have always been handy with building things around the house.
Typical Lowes or HD tools like tape measure, combination square...etc
I now realize how important it is to have better quality measuring tools.
I contemplated getting a Woodpecker square but settled on the iGaging combination set.
I got it a few days ago and out of the box I checked it with a 3" Starrett machining square that I happened to find at a flea market.
Once I tested it for accuracy, I checked all my other tools that I was using for so long and you can guess how that turned out.
Now i know why i would get frustrated with making cuts that didnt fit right.
Whats nice is I have convinced my wife that having these tools are very important to building better things.
I was able to square up an Empire square that had to be out of square by 1/16" up to its 8" length.
I also picked up an Incra 4" T Rule that is a lot cheaper than the Woodpecker. I have used it a few times now and besides being a little flimsy it will work.
I also ordered (on the cheaper end of Woodpecker items) the 12" Edge rule and the 24" woodworking rule.

So for those who are getting into woodworking it does pay to have some quality in your measuring devices.
Would love to have a Starrett square but I can't justify the price unless I was making a living at what I was doing.

I don't understand that part. If you use the same tape measure all the way through the process, the accuracy of the numbers is really irrelevant. If I measure 10" and cut 10"...it don't matter if it's 4" in reality...it's 10 on my tape and it will fit.
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post #8 of 17 Old 03-25-2020, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jproffer View Post
I don't understand that part. If you use the same tape measure all the way through the process, the accuracy of the numbers is really irrelevant. If I measure 10" and cut 10"...it don't matter if it's 4" in reality...it's 10 on my tape and it will fit.
That works in an individual shop, in production it is often necessary to make a part to exact standards so it will fit other components made elsewhere.

Many hobbyists get along better using a cut to fit method rather than a cut to dimension method, using story sticks, etc.
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-25-2020, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jproffer View Post
I don't understand that part. If you use the same tape measure all the way through the process, the accuracy of the numbers is really irrelevant. If I measure 10" and cut 10"...it don't matter if it's 4" in reality...it's 10 on my tape and it will fit.
Is working only if you always using same tool for all measurements. Maybe not good if using tape and ruler both.
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post #10 of 17 Old 03-25-2020, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
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A square Starrett square is no more square than a lesser priced square that is square whether you are a hobbyist or a pro.
No, but it is more guaranteed to be square. As a general rule, a Starrett square will always be square to a set tolerance, one of those lesser priced squares may not be. Sure, if both squares are perfectly square then theyre equal, but that Starrett will have NIST traceable certifications proving it. Course, doesnt matter much for woodworking, but precision metrology equipment has its place

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post #11 of 17 Old 03-25-2020, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
No, but it is more guaranteed to be square. As a general rule, a Starrett square will always be square to a set tolerance, one of those lesser priced squares may not be. Sure, if both squares are perfectly square then theyre equal, but that Starrett will have NIST traceable certifications proving it. Course, doesnt matter much for woodworking, but precision metrology equipment has its place
No argument with that, some of the high end tools in woodworking are more of an ego thing than a necessity in a lot of cases.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #12 of 17 Old 03-25-2020, 05:49 PM
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the classic "framing square" is the most valuable in the group.
why?
get a measuring tape in millimeters - because you can measure to 1/2 mm aka 1/50.8 of an inch
like super more better than 1/16 or 1/32


measure the short side
measure the long side


then do the

a squared + b squared = c squared math
check the hypotenuse
you can prove/verify the framing square is "square"


the longer sides provide for less error in the "angle"
use it to check other devices
do not drop it.
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post #13 of 17 Old 03-25-2020, 07:16 PM
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I have never seen, or owned two tape measures that are identical for measuring in a shop environment, they are like unicorns. We hear about them, but nobody has ever really seen one. In my shop, I do not use tape measures. I have some Starrett and machinest squares on hand for checking the fence on the jointer, squaring the table saw blade and stuff like that. When I use a measuring device it is usually one of my Lufkin stick rules. I was taught using story poles. They are never wrong, and always exact. For stuff like checking boxes for square I check the diagonals, I do not use a square. You can us a simple wood scrap and make a tic mark on it for checking diagonals. For checking stock thickness after planing I use my digital calipers.
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post #14 of 17 Old 03-25-2020, 09:28 PM
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I think all my measuring tools are older than I am, and Iím pretty old...the quality of those old tools is amazing,, and Iím not even sure what some of them are for...Like I just discovered that this really old tool I have is great for finding the center of something I want to turn.
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post #15 of 17 Old 04-13-2020, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jproffer View Post
I don't understand that part. If you use the same tape measure all the way through the process, the accuracy of the numbers is really irrelevant. If I measure 10" and cut 10"...it don't matter if it's 4" in reality...it's 10 on my tape and it will fit.
It was mostly not having a good square to check table saw blade to fence
And also realizing my Miter Saw was not 90 degrees to the fence and bed. Makes trim work come out a little off.
I'm not saying they were off by a lot but when you are doing trim and know you made the right measurement and then it doesnt fit correctly.
I started looking at the saw and how it was cutting.
its all a learning experience
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post #16 of 17 Old 04-13-2020, 06:04 PM
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I have wound up with several "Fat Max" measuring tapes. (Stanley) All were purchased within a few months. I have checked them against one another for about 60 inches. They are accurate to each other.

The reason that I bring this up is that measuring tape accuracy is irrelevant as long as the tape is used for the entire job or project.

Another point, in woodworking we do not need measuring tools that can be traced to NBS for accuracy. A square needs to be reasonably accurate. To test a square, take a piece of wood with a straight edge. A bench can be used. Put the square against the bench and draw a line. Flip the square so that the opposite of the blade is now down. Does the blade now line up with the line that was drawn? If it is reasonably close, you have a square / square.

When you start thinking about accuracy, realize that wood moves, PERIOD. We can not change that. As a general rule of thumb, wood that has reached moisture content equilibrium in your shop will move about 1/8 inch per foot across grain. Send it from your shop to Phoenix it will shrink. Send it from your shop to New Orleans it will expand. From Phoenix to New Orleans about 1/8 inch per foot.
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post #17 of 17 Old 04-14-2020, 10:20 AM
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We need at least 1 dead on accurate square in the shop. Also critical for machine set up. IMO every ww'er needs to own a 12" Starrett combination square. There are Starrett models in the $80 range.

There is no reason to think only commercial ww'ers can justify quality tool.

If you seriously plan on elevating your game, you need good quality tools. Not only how you get the job done, they are an investment in your skill development.

I can tell you from personal experience our progress as craftsmen is hindered by cheap, inaccurate tools.

Robert
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