Well, if anyone's still following this thread, my 4-inch dial caliper from
Hardwick's arrived today (Seattle's not far away), and it's a good tool.
That little plastic one that I was mourning was a compact little piece of
work, and actually shirt-pocket-sized. This one is just a somewhat shorter
version of the usual sort of 6-inch capacity stainless steel fractional dial
caliper, so it's not as compact. It's about 7 1/2" long, and fits an apron
breast pocket pretty well but is a little too long for a shirt pocket.
Visually, it looks just like the 6" iGaging fractional dial caliper that
Rockler sells, but of course is a smaller length and is un-branded.
But it'll do, it'll do. The fractional dial is on the outer ring, where it
belongs, and the usual major divisions are marked, with 1/64" minor
So if you'd like to have something like that in your shop, or your pocket,
it's at http://www.ehardwicks.com , for $29.50, only a few bucks more than
the plastic 6" ones I see around the web.