Good tip. I'll see if I can find one when their site's back up.
Found one for $88 so far...
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
Would 24" be good enough for setting up most shop tools, especially a
jointer with a 46" bed?
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,
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.
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
(who can be hopelessly dense at times)
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 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.
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
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:
For straightedges, make your own.
See my post here on how I did it:
Note the new email address.
Please adjust your krillfiles (tmAD) accordingly
Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address
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