Re: Fractional Caliper


Jay Pique wrote:

I refuse to respond to this obvious troll.
Bob
the wreck added to ngs,
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Why is it a troll?
I have a GREAT set of fractional dial calipers that I bought from Lee Valley. I find fractional dial calipers much more useful for woodworking than a decimal version. My fractional set also reads in decimal for those times when decimal is more appropriate.
To the OP: I remember the review, but for the life of me can't remember the magazine. I subscribe to "FWW", "Wood" and "popular Woodworking", so that may narrow it down. I'm personally very happy with the these: <http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pF036&cat=1,43513,43546&ap=1>
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Well, this could in fact be a troll. Maybe he's the guy who wrote the review. Or maybe he works for the advertising department of the magazine that published it and wants to build readership. Or maybe he works for the company that makes the fractional calipers that got the highest rating. Who knows. Or maybe we're being a little hyper about this and he actually just wants to get a copy of the magazine and read it.
But anyway...
I just got the Woodcraft September catalog flier, and I really got a laugh out of what they had to say about their new fractional caliper:
"It didn't exist so we had it made for us! One turn of the dial equals an inch, a feature that no other dial caliper has."
Well, I've had two fractional calipers for quite a while, and both of them are one turn to an inch. I've been seeing them in woodworking tool catalogs for years, and I don't think I've ever seen one that wasn't set up that way.
In fact, there was such a review sometime in the last couple of years in, I believe, a magazine with the initials FWW, in which they gave the highest marks to the calipers that had the fractional measurements on the outside ring, with hundredths on the inner ring. They gave extra points to calipers that were marked in the major fractions such as 1/4, 1/2, etc., with intermediate marks in 64th's.
I have two fractional calipers of my own: a 4" plastic one, and a 6" stainless steel one. Both came from Highland Hardware (now Highland Woodworking). The 4" one lives in the pencil cup on the bench most of the time, and the rest of the time in an apron pocket. The only problem with it is that every time I use it I need to check that the dial is zeroed. And it's marked only in 64th's on the inner ring. The other one is completely satisfactory: Marked in 64ths and major fractions on the outer ring, hundredths on the inner ring. The Highland catalog now also shows a model from Starrett, at a rather high price.
Tom Dacon
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I had the same trouble with my 6" version from Lee Valley. I cured it by setting it to zero and putting a small dab of hot melt glue on the rim. It has not moved since, though I think I can break off the glue if it ever becomes necessary.
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You know, I thought about doing that too. But I decided to leave it alone, since I'm firmly in the habit of re-zeroing every time I use it. And it's always possible that someday I might want to use it to measure a difference. Maybe I'd be sanding down an oversized dowel to fit a hole. I'd measure the hole diameter and zero out the dial, then when i miked (calipered?) the dowel I'd be directly reading out the amount it was oversized.
But a tiny dab of silicone sealer would be easy to break or to cut with a razor blade.
Tom
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I have no experience with the Lee Valley calipers so couldn't say but, as for the Starrett, I wouldn't recommend any of their dial calipers. Contrary to popular belief, Starrett does not do all tools well. They are just like any other manufacturer. Some good, some bad.

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I'm extremely happy with my copy of the Lee Valley version.
Maybe they got a bad example?
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Could be. Never heard anything bad about Lee Valley.
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On 10/09/2006 10:13 AM, CW wrote:

Specific complaints about the LV were that the dial is only calibrated every 1/8" and that it was a bit too expensive. Since the price they mention looks like the Canadian one, I suspect they screwed up and that it's a bit better deal in US$, which is what I assume the others were. The Starrett thumb-wheel didn't grip easily, it was made in China, the dial markings were "coarse", and the beam was only marked in decimals, and it was way too expensive.
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I can bout guarantee that the Lee Valley calipers were made in China. As for the Starrett, this doesn't surprise me in the least.

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