Squaring up wood - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Squaring up wood

What would be a good tolerance for a hobbyist vs a craftsman in respect to tolerances in measurements for squaring up wood. Using a caliper, after squaring up pieces for assembly, they are rarely ever 100% squared, so I was wondering what is acceptable. 1/16? 1/64?

Just return to get an idea of what most feel is acceptable to strive for.

Thanks
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post #2 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 03:19 PM
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The accuracy is going to be result of how well your wood working equipment is setup. Is your table saw blade square to the table, is the fence parallel to the blade. Is the jointer fence square to the table, is the out feet table setup dead on level with the blades and are all the blades set exactly the same. Is the thickness planer cylinder and blades perfectly parallel to the table. What is acceptable is a matter of what you are a comfortable with and what type of project are you working on. A hobbyist could have more accuracy than a craftsman if they so desire as the hobbyist is doing wood working in their spare time. Plus is 1/64th a angle measurement or the measurable gap at a certain distance from the vertex.

So at the end of the day setup your woodworking tools as accurately as possible and revisit them frequently to ensure that they stay in tolerance or re-adjust them to your level of tolerance.
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post #3 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 03:34 PM
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It would depend on what you were building, what it was made of and how it would be used. A puzzle box requires fine tolerances whereas a simple hinged box that holds drill bits or chisels only needs to be sturdy enough to retain the object inside.

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post #4 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 03:41 PM
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My combination squares claim to be accurate to .001" over their length (one is 6", one is 16"). I generally figure if things look close to that they're good enough.

I'd say over a bench length (call it six feet) I'd like to be within 1/16" for furniture. I don't use power tools (personal preference, and a complete lack of useable electricity in my workshop), so I don't stress about it. If you precut everything and then glue it together, you might want higher precision than I care to get.
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post #5 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 03:46 PM
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a calipers ?

Squaring all side of a piece of wood, each side square to it's immediate side, and sides opposites being parallel requires a jointer, a planer, and a table saw, at least that's the way I do it and I know of no other way.... just sayin'

You have to start with a straight, flat surface or side, not an edge. Once that's done, you joint the edges on either side using the previously created flat surface against the fence. Then it's on to the planer to make it a uniform thickness. Then you can rip it on the tablesaw, just remember which edge you registered against the fence.

Tolerances...? as close as you can possibly get to zero... 1/64th, 1/100 of an inch, just do your best. Rough carpentry tolerances are not close enough for woodworking. We strive for "no gaps" and sometimes we are good enough/lucky enough to get there. A calipers will only measure thickness, not all that useful for woodworking, but you will need them on occasion. JMO.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #6 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Squaring all side of a piece of wood, each side square to it's immediate side, and sides opposites being parallel requires a jointer, a planer, and a table saw, at least that's the way I do it and I know of no other way.... just sayin'
Or a couple of hand planes and some practice. For a small piece of wood, maybe just one plane. Four or five years ago I thought it was impossible: now I can usually manage it if I take my time.

The jointer/planer/table-saw trio would sure make it easier, though. Especially on large pieces.
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post #7 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 04:24 PM
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On a edge intended for a glue up I shoot for no worse than 1/64 1/100 is better.
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post #8 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 06:31 PM
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My table saw sled is accurate at 5/1000 over a 24 inch length, so that's why I shoot for when it comes to squareness. Honestly though, the only real limit you have to cutting something square is what you're referencing square from.

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post #9 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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I do have a jointer and I know it's set right, I spent several days making sure it was set with help from a friend. No snipe and the passes are always nice and flat when I'm using a squared edge against the fence.

I have several gauges to check my table saw blade parallel to the table as well as alignment.

My dewalt planer is the only piece of equipment I am unsure of as far as whether it is set up to the table properly. I did install a Byrd helical cutter and it cuts great.

I thought checking thickness with a caliper was the most accurate way to measure. I notice that sometimes my squared wood isn't exactly Accurate, which is confusing.

I start with a straight edge against the jointer, I flatten a face. Run theough the planar and then square the other edge using the table saw. I thought this was the best method.
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post #10 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 06:59 PM
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not exactly ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noek View Post
I do have a jointer and I know it's set right, I spent several days making sure it was set with help from a friend. No snipe and the passes are always nice and flat when I'm using a squared edge against the fence.


I start with a straight edge against the jointer, (fence?)

You don't need this.


I flatten a face.
This is the first step.

Next, do an edge joint with the flat face against the fence.


Run through the planer
This makes it a unform thickness.

and then square the other edge using the table saw.
This make both edges parallel.

I thought this was the best method.....
not exactly,

I changed the order and added some comments.

Using the caliper for checking the uniformity of the thickness is a great method. But what if the results are not consistent? It must be that your planer is acting up.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 10-05-2015 at 07:03 PM.
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post #11 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 07:21 PM
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My sled is/was .00189 in 19.5", In 09 used my 10" calibration disk and 2 plastic drafting squares from Staples. In 2014 I heard of W. Ng and his 5 cut method. I tried it and discovered the .00189. Assuming my caliper still reads correctly.

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post #12 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Woodsn-

So flatten a face on the jointer is the first step, even if I don't have a flat edge to use against the fence?

Or am I just totally messed up, hehe

Also, my final workpiece after doing all that is good but not perfect, so perhaps my planer?

Btw, really good edits and thanks for the info
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post #13 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 08:33 PM
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flatten the face first...

You need the greatest area to register against the fence, and that's a face or the widest portion of the board. Edges must be square to the face, so you register the flat face on the fence and square/joint the edge(s).

You may want to consider the jointer as a giant hand plane....? For a board with a curved face. plane in a bit from each end to reduce the curve and remove the unwanted material, just as you would with a hand plane. Sighting down each board for curves and cups and bow is always the first step to see where the most material should be removed and minimize the amount of waste.

Another application for jointing a face is when resawing. If you start with a flat face and make a resaw pass, one side will already be "good" and then you can run that side down on the planer bed and ... BINGO both sides are flat and a uniform thickness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noek View Post
Woodsn-

So flatten a face on the jointer is the first step, even if I don't have a flat edge to use against the fence?

Or am I just totally messed up, hehe

Also, my final workpiece after doing all that is good but not perfect, so perhaps my planer?

Btw, really good edits and thanks for the info

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #14 of 26 Old 10-05-2015, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Ok makes sense, I think my technique is ok I just have a feeling my planet may be off kilter a bit since planing down to my thickness seems to be where I get the variance in board thickness with the final result
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post #15 of 26 Old 10-06-2015, 06:40 AM
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I also do not understand using calipers for measuring squareness. Also do not understand measuring in inches.

Squareness involves having 4ea 90 degree corners. How do you measure this in inches?

George
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post #16 of 26 Old 10-06-2015, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
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I also do not understand using calipers for measuring squareness. Also do not understand measuring in inches. Squareness involves having 4ea 90 degree corners. How do you measure this in inches? George
What term do use? We already know even the most precise machinist work is not "square or 90 degrees". If you are trying to make a square and not just square edges you can measure the difference in the side length with calipers.

Last edited by hwebb99; 10-06-2015 at 08:53 AM.
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post #17 of 26 Old 10-06-2015, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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I use a machinist squares to check that the face is 90 degree to the edge, etc etc. then use a digital caliper to measure the thickness at the corners. Sometimes they are not exact, meaning that something is wrong when I'm planing, I assume.

One corner might be .579 while the opposite corner thickness is .586 so on and so forth. This is just an example.
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post #18 of 26 Old 10-06-2015, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hwebb99 View Post
What term do use? We already know even the most precise machinist work is not "square or 90 degrees". If you are trying to make a square and not just square edges you can measure the difference in the side length with calipers.
??

??? Can you say that is English? What does "measure the difference in the side length with calipers." , mean? And what does it have to do with being square?

George

My problem is that I am an engineer, and you need to speak in "engineering" to me.

'



'
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post #19 of 26 Old 10-06-2015, 11:38 PM
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If you have a square like a shape with 4 sides you can measure the thickness of one side and lets say it is .98 and you measure across the other side and it is .96. It is not that complicated.
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post #20 of 26 Old 10-06-2015, 11:48 PM
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exactly, however ....

A caliper can not determine if an angle is 90 degrees or "square". It can only measure thickness. A square is necessary to measure for "square".

Like I said, once you determine your thickness is not consistent, you have a whole 'nother issue. The planer is out of whack. Either the bed is jacked up or the pressure or feed rollers are not parallel to the bed. It's that simple.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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