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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2008, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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Default Straight Edge

A good straight edge is not cheap. I was looking at this one at Woodpeckers for 89.00. I think I can get a 10% discount.

I wonder:

1. How usefule is this tool. I always like to see how flat my table surface is and if I built a router table it would be nice to know how flat it is.

2. Are these things as accurate as they say?

3. Outside of not dropping it, does it remain accurate?

Anyone with experience with one?

Thanks

Steve Bolton
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2008, 10:51 AM
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Hi Steve:

Just a suggestion, if I may:

Use a light beam to measure flatness. A light beam is pretty accurate for straightness (very slight curvature due to earth's gravity.) One suggestion is to use one of those laser levels (such as B&D's.)

If one is into playing with optics, one could use interferometry to display the flatness of the table. However, this is obviously an extreme. Who needs to meaure the flatness of a router table to 1/4 wave?

A question: how accurate do you need the top to be?

I have been eyeing some straight-edges. Home Deport in Canada has a Johnson 48"/96" straight-edge for CDN$26.88, while Lowes in Canada has a Swanson 50"/100" straight-edge for CDN$27.98. I would think either of these do for checking the flatness of the table.

By the way, I have been eyeing these straight-edges for the same reason as one of yours: I am currently designing my own router table and will rely on the straight-edge to get the table top flat.

I recently purchased a Bosch 1617EVSPK router for this table. Nice kit, but a bit short on some things. Most notably, there are are no fence and no fence rods. Also, if one uses the countersunk screws to hold the baseplate on, the hole for the through-the-table height adjuster in the baseplate does not align with the adjuster. (This is a mute point for my design, as I intend to build a custom mount into the table -- thereby eliminating the supplied bases..)

Cassie

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2008, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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The two you mention are more in my price range. I wonder how accurate they are? I once bought a square from Home Depot and to my surprise I found it wasn't square at all.

I don't know how accurate my top would need to be. I just think it would be a nice addition to a shop.

Thanks

Steve Bolton
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2008, 11:40 AM
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Hi SB

The real question is

"how accurate do you need the top to be? "

http://www.grizzly.com/catalog/2008/Main/684
http://www.grizzly.com/catalog/2008/Main/365

Many shops have a QC dept. but we are talking about a home wood shop and we are just cutting wood... not making a rocket

Many go overboard when it comes to a flat router table top we all want it flat but most don't care about it as long as the pojects comes out OK...it can be a cast iron top,plywood,MDF,plastic insert plate ,etc. and they all work well...

Getting the top flat is only one part of the equation ( making equal; equalization) the stock needs to be true as well and most just slide the stock over the bit, flat or not and most of the time it's not true/flat..


But that's just my 2 cents


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2008, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Good advice. It is wood and I am not building a rocket.

Thanks

sb
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2008, 12:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S Bolton
A good straight edge is not cheap. I was looking at this one at Woodpeckers for 89.00. I think I can get a 10% discount.

I wonder:

1. How usefule is this tool. I always like to see how flat my table surface is and if I built a router table it would be nice to know how flat it is.

2. Are these things as accurate as they say?

3. Outside of not dropping it, does it remain accurate?

Anyone with experience with one?

Thanks

Steve Bolton
Some time ago I purchased a straight edge from LIGHT IMPRESSIONS-ROCHESTER NY. I used the straight edge for photographic framing and everything else in between.

It is 24" Long, cork backing and has a beveled edge on one side. It's heavy duty and remains accurate. I don't recall it being very expensive. Worth looking into.

FWIW
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2008, 01:25 PM
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If you have a good 3' to 4' level, this works just as well.

Ken

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2008, 01:50 PM
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Easy way to check a straight edge is lay it flat on a surface, draw a line with it. Flip it over and check the line against the edge. Not the most precise method, but it gives you a good idea of what you have. I use a 4' ruler as my straight edge.

When I used to calibrate granite surface plates we used a certified beam held up on each end with a certified gauge block. Then we used a .00005 dial indicator to measure under the beam its entire length. An 18"x18" plate with diamond dust was used to grind the plates flat. Certainly overkill for our needs for a flat surface.


A router table doesn't need to be perfectly flat. Close is good enough.

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