Best bang for buck for squares and straightedges?

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Good tip. I'll see if I can find one when their site's back up.

Found one for $88 so far... http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Straightedges/Straight_Edges.html
This one I knew about before even asking. And stewmac's not known for their generous pricing, either. I was actually hoping to do better. SWMBO understands tools you use on wood. She doesn't understand tools you use on tools.

Would 24" be good enough for setting up most shop tools, especially a jointer with a 46" bed?
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Mark

Absolutely right but you can get one that's dead on for the cost of a 2' X 4' MDF panel from (insert name of local MDF provider here). Look up an old article in Fine Woodworking on making a test bar from MDF and drywall screws. If memory serves me it was written by 'Chinery Guru John White. It involves taking three pieces of MDF and with screws along one edge and by checking the one against the next a reliable (and adjustable) test bar can be made.
This just in from a Google search of rec.wood, the Fine Woodworking article mentioned above is Issue #142, June 2000.
mslatter wrote:

SWMBO has a point on this one though I say that with some reservation. You would be smart to hunt up a good combo square and take the advice above for the straight edge.

Again, make your own and make it the size you need.
Now, having said all of that, you'll still need a straight edge for routing/circular saw work but this can also be built from available sheet stock (MDF) as I would never use a store bought (Starrett) for this kind of work.
UA100
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Unisaw A100 wrote:

How many screws did they use on the 4' length? I understand the concept and plan to make a set.
-- Mark
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Mark Jerde wrote:

Three.
UA100
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Unisaw A100 wrote:

Hummm... that doesn't seem like enough to level my jointer. It seems like there needs to be two on each side of the cutter head.
-- Mark
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wrote:

Keeter- could you talk about this a bit more? I'm having a hard time picturing it. are the reference points the screw heads or are the screws being used to warp the mdf into/out of line so that the opposite edge is straight?     Bridger (who can be hopelessly dense at times)
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Bridger wrote:

The MDF is solely there as the carrier (fixture) for holding the screws. The screws are acting as the contact points for the straight edge. In other words, you could use just about anything suitable that would hold a screw because the beauty of this is, you can re-calibrate it as often as needed.
Let me get the article and see if I can relate what John White has done without re-writing the entire text.
Here we go. I'll hit on the high spots.
Three pieces of MDF 3/4" X 5" X the length of what you are wanting to test.
Into one edge of each piece screw in three fine thread 1 3/4" drywall screws, one at each end and one at the center (center David). I should point out that the spacing needs to be semi-exact (same) from piece to piece otherwise it don't want to work right. I should also note that the spacing of the screws has to be per the surface being tested, i.e., say your leveling your jointer and the infeed table is 22" long, the screws need to be 21"ish on center.
Leave the screws with a 1/4" projection. File down the heads of the screws to remove any burrs.
Mark the MDF pieces: A - Test Bar (the final product/what you are making here) B - Calibration Bar C - Calibration Bar
Place A against B and adjust only the center screw on B until all six screws touch.
Place A against C and adjust the center screw on C until all six screws touch.
Place B against C and adjust the center screws of "both" equally until all six screws touch.
Place B against A and adjust the center screw on A only until it touches.
Rinse and repeat the earlier steps until all pieces touch at all six screws on any given combination of parts A, B and C and no additional fiddling needs to be done.
Myself? I need chalk when something like this is being es'plained textorally so I'd advise (advice in rec.wood speak) that you visit the Swenson site and see how he 'splains it with actual straight edges as the principle is the same.
http://www.tdl.com/~swensen/machines/straight_edge/straight_edge.html
The difference here is with the MDF any hack wooddorker can have a test bar using snot, a pointy stick, some shards of glass and dental floss. Things would go way better if the wreckreite had a Laguna Boutique Band Saw and a whole bunch of other shiny tools at their disposal (along with some steel wool and Boeshield to keep the shiny parts shiny).
Your Mileage May Vary.
Oh! Someone had mentioned there only being three points and trying to level a table where four points would be desirable? What White does is, raise the tables to where they clear the cutters (rotate cutters?) and leveling the table at the throat of the jointer. Then you place the test bar across the tables with two screws on the infeed table and one screw on the far end of the outfeed table. Then using feeler gages (gauges David) measure the amount of rise or fall in that table. Shim to makes things right and make final adjustments when done.
UA100
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Most small engineer's squares are OK.
For a combination square, look for a cast iron head, not a diecast mazak one. Even if they're both made square initially, the mazak one will have trouble with warping or wear leading to inaccuracy where the rule is clamped into the stock.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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I'd say for close work, your work should be within .001" or .002"/foot. For rough work you can do a hell of a lot worse. Some novel set up tools at the links below: http://www.patwarner.com/setup_square.html and http://www.patwarner.com/rat.html ********************************************************

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For straightedges, make your own.
http://www.tdl.com/~swensen/machines/straight_edge/straight_edge.html
See my post here on how I did it:
http://groups.google.ca/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=v6nu1011u8ftslbb2ist7vli4ncbo8v0bp%404ax.com
Luigi Note the new email address. Please adjust your krillfiles (tmAD) accordingly Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address
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Luigi Zanasi wrote:

Takes me back to my days of working with red lead and persian blue.
I may try it as an experiment some day, ror now I'll be happy with my steel rule.
--
Mark

N.E. Ohio
  Click to see the full signature.
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And here I always thought it was Prussian Blue :).

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