Precision woodworking is an artform that requires a lot of math, and just like any other trade, you need the right tools to do the job well. Some of the most important tools when it comes to working with wood are those that help you measure accurately and efficiently. While you can often make do with just a tape measure and a few scraps of pre-measured wood, it’s handy to have a supply of measuring tools that will help you get the perfect cuts you need to make your pieces fit together seamlessly. Here are some great tools we recommend investing in for projects that require perfection when it comes to measuring.
A caliper is a very useful tool for measuring width, thickness, diameter, etc. It has 2 different sets of jaws. They work like a clamp, but one set is perfect for measuring the inside diameter of holes or width of spaces, and the other side is larger and gets precise measurements for the outside diameter of the piece or cut you’re working with. This digital version is only $11 and has 4.5 stars with nearly 2,000 customer ratings.
This small tool can save you a lot of time and hassle when you need to mark a center point or draw long straight lines. You can mark the center of narrow boards by simply putting your pencil in the center hole, placing the device on your board, and twisting the tool until the posts of the tool meet the board. Voila! You have the center point.
The scriber also helps you draw an inset line precisely, without having to measure out multiple markings along the length of your board. This is very handy when you need to install moldings. The tool has most of the measurement markings you would need, from one-sixteenth to half an inch with a marking at every one-sixteenth in between. For only $9, it will probably pay for itself in no time.
This handy device helps you set the height of router bits (or saw blades) accurately. It works on hand routers, router tables, and saw benches to help you line your bit or blade up at the exact height you want it to be. You can go for the $17 version that will get the job done, a $39 version that also measures angles if you need that feature, or you can just make your own.
There may be times when you need to measure the angle of your piece. A protractor hugs your wood and easily figures out its exactly angle. Digital protractors make this almost painfully simple. This $20 digital version has 4.5 stars and nearly 1,000 reviews.
As a final word, you can measure as precisely as is humanly possible and still find your pieces slightly off. Since a small error can make a huge difference when you put everything together, you should always do a test cut before doing anything to the final piece to make absolutely sure that the final cut on the wood is exactly what you need. Run samples and measure the outcome until it’s perfect. After all, when all is said and done, what happens to the final piece is all that really matters, not the math that went into the job.
What are your favorite measuring tools to use in the shop?