I've been looking for a good straight edge for a while now.
I want it to serve two purposes:
1.) Straight edge for a cutting guide.
2.) Straight edge to determine if hand planed stuff is flat.
Finding a tool to solve item 2 has been the most trouble.
I'm currently working on workbench slabs. I've hand planed the
tops and am about to square the edges using a circular saw and
cutting guide as discussed in another post.
To check the slab for flatness a large straight edge would be ideal
but not required. I can check the top in overlapping sections. I've
been using a 48" steel ruler held on edge to check for flatness. The
downside to this is that I have to hold the ruler and this makes it
difficult to have a strong light source behind the ruler and me far
enough away to detect any light. The top is pretty flat so I am
looking for minor imperfections at this point.
A straight edge 1" x 48" x .25" would be nice. The quarter inch edge
would allow me to stand the edge on the top and step back to check
for light coming between the edge and top. A level with a flat edge
doesn't suit this purpose because the smallest dimension is too wide to
check for minor imperfections. Need something thinner. Goldilocks?
Starret of course makes straight edges that would work great for this
purpose but I don't want to spend that kind of money. All I need to do
is see light shinning through small peaks and valleys. I do not need to
see the individual photons so Starret is too expensive but would be a
nice gift to recieve.
Metal stock from the big box stores is incredibly crooked so that is
not an alternative either. Clamp n guides are nice but the clamp part
would have to be removed to stand them on end (except on the edge
of the work)
I've been using Lee Valley winding sticks but they are too short.
Today I went to get a cutting guide to square off the slabs on my
workbench. I was going to use the factory edge of a piece of plywood.
Lowes is having an amazing sidewalk sale so the place is a zoo.
I drive a Saturn so I need the sheet of plywood cut. Looked like a
long wait on that so I went to see if I could find a 96" ruler or something.
Long story finally ended. Swanson had a 100" cutting guide that can stand
on end. It is two 50" pieces optionally joined in the center. Great tool for 20
bucks that solves both my problems.
Wow. Lots of words to talk about straight lines.