I'm afraid I don't understand. You can measure the thickness of a piece of
wood with a tape or rule not just to within a 64th, but to .003"?
If someone asks you to to thickness some wood for them, will it be within
.003"? Or a 64th?
Let's just say for the sake of argument that 1/64" is the maximum tolerance
allowable on thickness planing or sanding. His frame pieces could have been as
small as .734". His panels could have been as large as .766". Both in
tolerance, but a difference of .032" rather than the .020" he was complaining
about. And we don't even know what thickness his frame pieces were - he said
they were 3/4". He never said he measured them to .750".
You're right, woodworking has changed quite a bit in the last 100 years. But
thickness planers were capable of just as much accuracy as they are today, even
without digital readouts. Measuring tools were capable of that accuracy as
There's another thing that hasn't changed in that 100 years, and that is wood.
It still moves with humidity changes, and that is one reason that woodworking
is not done to thousandths of an inch. But the real reason is that it just
plain doesn't need to be held to that accuracy. Working to tighter tolerances
than are demanded by the plans might make you feel good, but an employee who
does so is costing his company money.
I can't tell you what the standard tolerance is in the woodworking industry for
thickness planing or sanding, because I've never seen one. I'm not sure such a
thing exists. Individual customers can certainly request that their work be
done to any tolerance they want, and that's fine. But he never did any such
I mentioned that I do metalwork as well as wood, and that the metalwork is
occasionally to tolerances in ten thousandths. Only where it's really needed,
such as in bearing fits.
You'll agree that metal is generally supplied to tighter tolerances than wood
is, I'm sure. Just for the hell of it, what do you think the tolerance for a
1" thick cold rolled high carbon steel flat might be? Well, for one steel
manufacturer whose catalog I happen to have in front of me, it's plus or minus
.01". Not that much less than the 64th you think the wood thickness should be
Again, if he wants the frame and panel pieces to match, he should have run them
together. Or fiddled with them himself until they matched. Or he could have
specified ahead of time to the mill that the piece had to be exactly a certain
size. Within a certain tolerance. To tell the mill that he just wanted it
sanded to 3/4" wasn't enough.
But that is just my opinion, isn't it?
Learn the difference between bidirectional an unidirectional tolerence.
Apparently, you don't know. 770 would have been fine if he had specified
49/64 but he specifed 3/4. Any cabinet maker I have ever known would call a
measurement to the nearest 64th. In this case, the man asked for 3/4 and got
And we don't even know what thickness his frame pieces were - he said
It's not going to change that much in a short period of time. They cut it
and that is one reason that woodworking
Just becase slop work is acceptable to you, don't assume it is for everyone.
>Working to tighter tolerances
Again, irrelevent to the subject at hand.
So do I. 8 to ten hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week. Fifteen years so far.
Don't count on it unless specifed.
Just for the hell of it, what do you think the tolerance for a
Or he could have
If he wanted a very good fit, he should have specifeied but in any case, it
should have been closer than what it was.
So, you can measure the thickness of a piece of wood with a ruler to within
.003"? Please tell us exactly how you do that, so that we can all throw away
our calipers and micrometers. Certainly don't need them for woodwork.
All the cabinetmakers you know work to a 64th, but you consider that excessive
and work to a 128th. I guess you consider them a real bunch of slobs.
Bidirectional vs. unidirectional tolerence? I guess maybe you're referring to
bilateral vs. unilateral tolerance. And yes, I know exactly what it is. Are
you trying to say that blateral tolerance is unacceptable when planing wood, so
that the 3/4" piece should really be 3/4" minus 0 plus 1/64th? Or, to your
higher standards, 3/4" minus 0 plus 1/128th?
I'm glad to hear that working to tighter tolerances than are called for is
irrelevant. You say you're a machinist. Tell me, when you get an order for a
part that has to be turned to plus or minus .002", and you spend an extra hour
getting it to plus or minus .0002", how do you explain that extra time to your
employer? If you want to do it on your own, that's fine. But remember, we're
talking here about a commercial millwork operation.
"Don't count on it unless specifed." Your words. Sounds like what you're
saying here is that metalwork, unless a specific tolerance is agreed upon
beforehand, will be supplied to whatever tolerance the producer deems
appropriate. Which I absolutely agree with, because it is absolutely true.
Now, explain to me just how it is different for woodworking. Remember, the guy
gave them no tolerances beforehand.
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