Philly (in XigHf.192$0s.99@trndny04) said:
| What are the essential layout and measuring tools for the
| woodworking shop? Which ones are the most needed and which ones are
| the nice to have?
Depends on what's being made. Since you didn't specify "minimalist" or
"low-budget", I'll suggest as essential:
Combination square with protractor head
Nice to have:
Drywall square (mine is square and straight)
Compass and dividers
Digital depth gauge
DeSoto, Iowa USA
I would add a dial caliper with fractions clearly marked ( saw one at
Lowes in the $20.00 range), great for planing and checking thickness.
Maybe then a 3' straight edge. The perfect size for most cabinet work
when you are building bases. OH!! and a folding ruler! The extension
slider will measure inside-to-inside and keep your measurement if you
just want to trace it direct.Nice for adding shelves to cases.
Tom in KY, addicted and over-run with the tool habit.
Morris Dovey (in hihHf.77$ firstname.lastname@example.org) said:
| Philly (in XigHf.192$0s.99@trndny04) said:
|| What are the essential layout and measuring tools for the
|| woodworking shop? Which ones are the most needed and which ones are
|| the nice to have?
| Depends on what's being made. Since you didn't specify "minimalist"
| or "low-budget", I'll suggest as essential:
| Combination square with protractor head
| Trammel points
| Long straightedge
| Nice to have:
| Sharp pencil
| Tape rule
| Framing square
| Drywall square (mine is square and straight)
| Compass and dividers
| 1-2-3 Block
| Digital depth gauge
| Digital calipers
| Saddle square
Another entry in the "nice to have" catagory: A "SmartLevel" with both
24" and 48" bodies. I like this measuring tool because it's been far
better than a bubble-type level for repeatability with poor eyesight
and it provides direct angular readings in addition to vertical and
horizontal. It has some "gee-whiz" features like "beep" at horizontal
and vertical, "hold" current reading, and a display that automatically
flips when the level is used upside down. The digital display shows
angles to a tenth of a degree. I also have a short magnetic frame that
makes some machine setups a snap - and I've bought the 48" padded
carrying case to protect it when I take it out of the shop. At almost
$90 it isn't cheap; but I think it's been worth every penny.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Nice list Morris. In addition to Morris's list I would include:
Chalk - I use chalk all the time. I put chalk marks on would to be joined.
When all the chalk is gone the face is flat. I also use it in place of a
pencil when I can. It is a lot easier to get rid of than pencil marks.
Drafting Pencil - I use it in place of a marking knife in many situations.
6" Rule - I always have my favorite 6" rule with me in the shop. I find it
easier to position than a 12".
Center Finding Ruler
Good Lighting - I am getting older and need good light to accurately measure
1/4" Graph paper - I keep a pad on the bench. I find it easier to figure
out design details by doing a quick drawing.
Only One Tape Measure - I used to keep a bunch of tapes around so there was
always one close but I found out the hard way that they each had their own
measurement system. Now I keep only one tape and make sure that all
machines are referenced to it.
Depends on the wood. Maple, beech, or cherry, yes. Red oak, hell no. Did that
exactly once. Wound up spending an hour and a half with a dental explorer,
picking chalk out of the pores, before applying finish; even the 1.5HP dust
collector wouldn't get it all.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
I never thought of the open pore problem. Did you try a wet sponge? Almost
100% of the hardwood that I use is cherry & maple so I never had a problem.
I can honestly say that I learned something today.
On Sat, 11 Feb 2006 07:24:39 +0000, Philly opined:
+ Combination square of good manufacture. Empire or Johnson
top-of-the-line is the lowest you want to go. Skip the protractor head and
center finder. Oooh, listen: you can hear the distant chanting
of the villagers: "Star-rett, Star-rett..."
+ Plastic school protractor (local grocer's)
+ Good quality framer's square
+ Good quality pencils. You might consider B or 2B instead of the
You can cobble up center-finders, scratch awls (rub a 16d
nail on the sidewalk), marking knives, trammels, and the like as you need
them. Once you've made a device, you'll know what you want to look for in
a store-bought version. Then, and only then, go nuts with a Lee Valley
++ Mortise gauge
++ Long metal straightedge
++ Wing dividers with fine adjustment screw
++ HD compass and trammels
If you do your own designs, you might look at French curves and a better
protractor. Add a T-square and drafting board, or CAD software if you're
IMHO, the other guys are messing with your head. ;-)
The most important layout and measuring devices are your own eyes, brain,
and hands. Understand when and where you need the precision of a
carpenter's pencil, a mechanical pencil, a scratch awl, and a marking
knife. Have fun.
"Keep your ass behind you"
wreck20051219 at spambob.net
Struth. I said dial protractor, but I laid it up against angles
measured and cut using my simple protractor, and there was only 5
minutes or less divergence from the desired angle.
But it looks very nice.
My most used, so I'd call them my most essential:
- 6" Starrett combo square
- 16' tape measure (I like my Fast Cap "story pole" flat tape)
- Lee Valley Saddle square (just get one)
- Cheap, really basic, brass thickness calipers (no dial, Garrett
- Marking knife (Veritas striking is my favorite, XActo #1works -
great with no sharpening & is cheap)
- GOOD Bevel gage
- Pencils (#1, 2, & 3, + red green & blue)
- Crayons (jointed edge & direction marks)
- Chalk (rough part layout)
- 3' steel ruler
- Old Starrett dividers ($5 at a flea market)
- Lee Valley clip on pencil sharpener
- Plastic protractor & 30/60/90 & 45/45/90 triangles from Staples
- shop made flex bow for forming curves
- large framing square
Stuff I got along without for years, but wouldn't let go now,
including stuff for specific tasks:
- 3' Machinist's Reference Straight Edge (the one you keep in the box
unless checking machines)
- more GOOD bevel gages in various sizes (once they're set...)
- 12" Starrett combo (I actually bought this before the 6", the 6" is
more useful to me)
- 4" double square (you can never have too many preset measurements)
- Bevel Boss or Lee Valley angle finder / setter
- Veritas fractional / decimal dial caliper
- Veritas drawing bow
- Veritas measuring stick heads (for checking diagonals)
- 6, 12, & 24" steel rules
- 6' straight edge
- Assorted Stabila levels
- Starrett angle finder (used in finish / installation work only
- mechanic's feeler gages
- marking awl
- drilling awl
- center punch
- GOOD marking / cutting gages
- chalk line
- compass & beam compass heads
- plastic french curve
- profile gage
Stuff I've used maybe once, and need to put on eBay, real wastes of
money for me:
- aluminum saddle dovetail markers
- Cheap combo squares
- Home center bevel gages
- Starrett protractor head (Bevel Boss & gage MUCH better!)
- 45 deg saddle square
- Crappy marking & cutting gages
- Center finding rulers (it's easier for me to do the math than to go
get the other ruler <G>)
- feet/inch calculator ( a $3 solar jobbie is just as easy for me)
In addition to the above responses I would add:
A high-quality 6 in. steel rule (is probably the most-used tool in my entire
Very Nice to Have:
A pair of sliding sticks (I'm not sure of proper name for this) with a
that lets you move the sticks to mark a given length. Gives you an exact
indicator of a length without having to measure and record. Also lets you
length of all kinds to places that are difficult/impossible to measure with
or rule, e.g. inside of drawer spaces in a cabinet or inside diagonals of a
or cabinet. You buy the pair of clamps from a woodworking supplier (e.g.
Rockler) and cut the wood strips yourself. The clamps can be used for any
length of wood, so you can have multiple sets of sticks to easily mark
length ranges. .
If you're going to do traditional joinery get
a Tite-Mark marking gauge - with the
accessory pair of mortise and tenon
cutting wheels. Does what it's supposed
to do better and easier than anything
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