What tolerances needed for woodworking?

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Why don't they give tolerances on wooodworking projects and plans like they do for metalworking? Are there some tolerances that are so "standard" that everyone but me automatically knows them?
Pete Stanaitis
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1/6 of and inch is about as small as it gets in woodworking due to wood movement
Len "
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wrote:

I disagree Leonard. I constantly keep things down to 1/32 or 1/64. Angularly, I certainly maintain 0-degrees on angular measurements.. at least I try.
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I think you meant 1/16th, no?
Even that is quite a lot for many projects. For some even 1/32 is too much.

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I usually work in thousandths of an inch and try to keep most work within five thousandths for cabinet making work. Most everything I use is equipped with Digital Readouts attached to my Planer and other tools.
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Frank Arthur wrote:

What kind of cabinet needs 1/200 tolerance? Heck, I wave a piece of sandpaper at wood and it loses more than that :)
--

dadiOH
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dadiOH wrote:

If you have edging on plywood that is 1/200" proud of the plywood, you can easily feel it with your fingers. But you can also easily sand or plane it flush.
The key with woodworking is not so much that individual pieces be dimensioned that precisely, but that *matching* pieces be dimensioned precisely. And this can be done post assembly, or by trial and error.
Chris
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Frank Arthur wrote:

You thickness plane to .005"?
Cool! <G>
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B A R R Y wrote:

Wonder how much different it is two hours later, what more the next morning???
--
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dpb wrote:

If you start out with multiple boards of the same moisture content, then they're all pretty close to the same thickness the next morning, regardless of the actual dimensions. That's usually all that matters.
An accurate digital readout on the planer is really nice if you need to go back and make a new board to replace one that you've wrecked. Measure the other boards, find another board with the same moisture content, and plane the new one to the thickness of the others.
Chris
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"Chris Friesen" wrote:

I prefer to use a hand held, digital caliper.
Measure the board you ant to duplicate, then run new board thru planer in 1/16 increments, measuring as you go.
Final passes are 1/64.
You end up dead on for at least an hour<G>
Lew
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Wow.. I admire your precision... This also reminds me why I'm a turner...
Ok, that one's round, what's the next project? lol
mac
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I certainly don't agree with that. There's been many projects I've built where 1/16" is simply too great a length to properly assemble my project. When necessary, (not always such as my recent picnic table), I've calibrated and cut my parts on the tablesaw to 1/64" of an inch.
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Most important, IMHO, is learning to tolerate neighbors borrowing tools.. lol
Other than that, "If it fits and looks ok" works well for me..
mac
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mac davis wrote:

My ex left her 'just for women' toolkit. When neighbors ask to borrow tools, I just hand them the nicely organized pastel case full of poorly made tools. They seldom ask twice.
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Damn... why didn't I think of that! My wife has one of those that someone gave her, and since she uses real tools, she's never opened the pretty pink case..
mac
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spaco wrote:

Tolerances in wood depend on wood type, grain, moisture content, and even how the particular part is used...
I'm still kidded by people in one of the CNC forums for my 1-hour, 2-hour, and same-day joint designs because if the joint wasn't assembled within a particular timeframe, it could probably /never/ be assembled.
My brag was that I didn't need the glue to hold the parts together, but to lubricate the assembly. :-)
(And I did build my own CNC joinery machine to improve the accuracy of the cutting - photos at the link below.)
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spaco wrote:

Hand tools (planes, chisels, scrapers) allow you to remove a thousandth of an inch. This isn't usually important in overall dimensioning, but can be useful for fitting joints.
Often people will assemble items and then plane/sand/scrape them afterwards to ensure that everything that should be flush actually is.
Of course wood also moves, so some parts of joints are less critical because you know that in a few weeks or months they won't be flush anymore anyways.
Chris
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Woodworkers don't generally work with tolerances like that, and would be surprised at what sort of tolerances they are actually achieving - they just don't get there the same way. If it's critical then it's much more likely going to be done by cutting it long and sneaking up on it or test cuts in scrap than with careful setup of the machines. Probably because the materials are a lot cheaper and easier to machine.
I make every cut as accurately as I can, but I don't cut all the parts ahead of time and then expect it all to just fit together. It doesn't really matter how accurately the space the drawer fits into matches what the plan says if you haven't made the drawer yet and you mark it from the actual opening.
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Just my Opinion, and nothing more!
Tolerances are something from interchangeable parts, production lines, and factory production. If your wood part drawing is for / from a manufacturing or assembly line plant, you can be sure there should be tolerances and QC inspections notations.
If you are a hobbyist then most of your work is going to be one of a kind type of project making. You apply your own tolerances to be with in the limits of YOUR measurement equipment and skill level.
There are two separate tolerances you need to be aware of: As a hobby woodworker, the most common measurement device is most likely the yo-yo measurement tape. Please don't get this group started on the errors induced by the printing of the marks on metal backing on your measuring tape. I still think the best is a story stick for a project, where all measurements needed are recorded (marked) on a single stick at one time, by one person.
The second error is in your transferring the mark(s) from the ruler (or story stick) to the work piece. This should be very small, about one half of the smallest marking on the ruler used. For example a ruler with 1/16" markings, tolerances should be +/- 1/32", like wise a steel machinist ruler with 1/64 engraved markings, we at the wreck will expect you to be +/- 1/128"
As another posted, way before interchangeable parts and the Auto Industry, one would make the cuts a small amount fat, and then use hand tools to sneak up on it from both sides fitting together.
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