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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know some of this has been dancing about before. Some say, "It's close enough for the women I go out with...."

In residential carpentry (homes), 1/4" tolerance is allowed. In finish, cabinets and furniture carpentry, 1/32" or 1/16- as it is referred. That is in "work." What you create. You create it with tools.

I started this thread for us to share what we use to align, true, square, setup those tools and jigs. How can work be close if the tools you are creating it with be off?

Tools- set machined blocks.
- I have brass bars in 1/8", 1/4", 5/16", 3/8" and 1/2". These I can use to set distance from cutter to fence -or- common tool heights.
- I have steel machined blocks 3/4" and 1" with a right angle and 2 45 degree angles. I use these for tool setup and checking square of blades and fences.
- I have 36" pieces, each of 5/8" x 5/8" and 3/4" x 3/4" square stock to put into miter slots, to align and square fences.

I have squares, levels and straight edges. I have dial indicators, calipers, micrometers.

Some may say that such accuracy is not needed for woodworking... To a point. I feel that the closer you can get with your tooling, the more sluff room you have in your work. Example- If your tooling is out 1/8" in x distance, how do you ever expect to be within 1/16"?

For most people doing small projects, a miter in 5 degree stops is acceptable to them. They wouldn't notice how being off a small amount means a whole lot more at 8 feet out. Now then at 0.1 degree increments, I agree, that is a pain and somewhat frustrating. Yes, it is all a matter of perspective, but if you take the time to bring it in close, it makes it all easier in the long run.

What do you use to set or square your tools? For instance, a miter gauge?
 

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Tools I use

Someone made a comment in an old thread...

<<Placeholder while I clean that up>>
Well, the table saw almost has to have a dial gauge. I use the one offered by Woodpecker but any similar design will do.

http://www.woodpeck.com/sawgauge.html

But, for almost everything else, I use a digital angle gauge almost exclusively. They are small, accurate, and can be set up so measurements are relative to one another. Great for table saw angles in relation to the table top, mortis and tenon vise setup, drill press, planers, shapers, band saws, router tables, sanding tables, grinders, and my oldest tool, the radial arm saw.
 

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Accuracy As a Skill

Only slightly off topic. Have I previously mentioned a local trail builder's skill with a chainsaw? This boardwalk has something like 150+ handrail frames, set into the log bases (180' of logs flattened out with a chainsaw...freehand).
The channels are all notched out with his chainsaw. You'd be hard pressed to fit a piece of bond paper into those cuts.
 

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I don't fiddle-around with things like that, but rather every once-in-a-while I just make some cuts and do a flip-check. Again, I have 2- Hitachi C10FL table saws and they have both always been dead-on 90 degrees for over 5 years. Making things be beautiful like fine furniture is not my thing, but my work is dimensionally dead-on accurate always before it goes to my clients - after all, just about everything I prototype has moving parts! Fouling parts or joints that don't work or hinges that disappoint are not something that I will ever present to a client. Sure, gauges and things like that have their place; but this "flip-check" method has worked for hundreds of years: 45 + 45 = 90.
Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
 

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All of what you have and some extra...
Drafting squares to set or verify tooling square...
I aim for that 0.1 degree and a 1/64" of an inch or less...

after you do this long long it gets to be a routine train of though...
others don't refer to me as analitic for nothing...
 

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I have the usual run of squares, scales, parallels, calipers, surface plates, and mikes, mostly Starrett and Mitutoyo.
But more importantly I study, exploit, and practice metrology. I can and measure & layout to .001" and prove it. So with that G-2 I could make stuff like this, which is made to the nearest .001".
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have the usual run of squares, scales, parallels, calipers, surface plates, and mikes, mostly Starrett and Mitutoyo.
But more importantly I study, exploit, and practice metrology. I can and measure & layout to .001" and prove it. So with that G-2 I could make stuff like this, which is made to the nearest .001".
Pat-

LOL. Since "metrology" was not a word I knew, you inspired me to look up it's meaning.

Metrology is defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) as "the science of measurement, embracing both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology.

As it is applied to woodworking- Applied or industrial metrology concerns the application of measurement science to manufacturing and other processes and their use in society, ensuring the suitability of measurement instruments, their calibration and quality control of measurements.
 

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Squares, straight edges ect.
For an indicating tool to use on woodworking machines, this has perhaps been around for a hundred years. I see nothing that can touch it for so many uses.

It will align table saws and fences, set up a jointer, and many points on more complicated machines like planers.
This is a Starret #57 surface gage, and #196 indicator.
In this photo, the base of the gage has push down pins that are being used in the miter slot of this table saw.


I am looking for the best possible performance out of my machines, resulting in less hand work, and in general better over all consistant quality.

Don
 

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I live in the 20th century. Every now and then I break out the dial gauge or a digital angle finder but for the most part I use a tri square, carpenter square or simple 45 degree drafting angle. My miter gauge is an Incra and is dead on. The stops in my Unisaw are dead on as are the stops in my miter saw. The3 only tool that gives me trouble is the bandsaw. Not because it is inaccurate but because it is such a pain to set the guides up. Once I have the saw set I can resaw very thin wood. The problem is that once I saw the wood I have to change the blade and start over again with the set up.
 

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"The problem is that once I saw the wood I have to change the blade and start over again with the set up."

Art, I am having the same pinch point.
I think the only solution is to find a second band saw.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I live in the 20th century. Every now and then I break out the dial gauge or a digital angle finder but for the most part I use a tri square, carpenter square or simple 45 degree drafting angle. My miter gauge is an Incra and is dead on. The stops in my Unisaw are dead on as are the stops in my miter saw. The3 only tool that gives me trouble is the bandsaw. Not because it is inaccurate but because it is such a pain to set the guides up. Once I have the saw set I can resaw very thin wood. The problem is that once I saw the wood I have to change the blade and start over again with the set up.
Yes. Although I have a lot of measuring tools and devices... from day to day I check things out with a 1 cut or 5 cut method. If good, then work. If not, then reset.

Otis and I talked about this yesterday... I have a few extra factors than most people thrown in that affect my zeroes. My equipment gets transported from jobsite to jobsite... or moved around from the driveway to garage, around in the garage, etc. If I had tools that stayed static in a shop or garage and didn't get constantly moved around, thrown in the back of a truck, slammed to the front of the bed when someone pulls out in front of me... I guess I would be a whole lot less conscious of rechecking and resetting my tools' alignments.
 

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Much of what I do I use a Mark II eyeball and a good ruler. Usually does the job. Possibly a framing square, if appropriate. On occassion a HF digital calipher. That's it.
 

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"The problem is that once I saw the wood I have to change the blade and start over again with the set up."

Art, I am having the same pinch point.
I think the only solution is to find a second band saw.

Don
Since most of my work is done on a table saw I have two of them just so that I don't have to move anything once I get a set up accurate. I have thought about a second bandsaw dedicated to a 1/4/" blade. To make matters worse I have a Carter stabilizer for when I use the 1/4" blade which means not only removing the blade but the guides as well.
 

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Year old post, but still applicable -

I helped out at a cabinet shop in Bremerton, Washington, about twenty-five years ago. It had been running for twenty years, before I got there. The owner was complaining about how poorly his cabinet saw was cutting, right after he'd put a new blade on.

I asked about the last time he'd set the table to the blade, then the fence to the miter slots. He'd done it only a week before, using a tape measure. I went home and got a tool I designed, brought it back and it showed his blade and table were off from each other by about 1/16". We fixed that, then checked the fence and found it off by a hair more. We fixed that and he ran a piece of 2x oak through and was amazed at how good it was cutting, now that he, essentially, had taken 3/16" off the blade width.

The same could be done with a try square, with the blade raised all the way and marking one tooth to work from.

Once set up, you'd be hard pressed to get a .002 feeler gauge between the actual cut and the fence reading.

For my band saw, I use a Wixie, first zeroing it on the blade, then on the table and looking for a ninety degree off reading.
 

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Rockler sells high quality thick squares that are great for most adjustments. If you want to go high tech there are many solutions but the one I like best is from Betterley Tool. The UnaGauge will help you set up any machine.
 

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Pat-

LOL. Since "metrology" was not a word I knew, you inspired me to look up it's meaning.

Metrology is defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) as "the science of measurement, embracing both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology.

As it is applied to woodworking- Applied or industrial metrology concerns the application of measurement science to manufacturing and other processes and their use in society, ensuring the suitability of measurement instruments, their calibration and quality control of measurements.
Yes.

Jerry
 

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The Wixly gauges have been mentioned in this thread several times. I have two of them, the angled one and the magnetic one for lack of the right description. The information that I read about them is that they are accurate to within a few tenths of a degree. For short measurement's, say like squaring a TS blade, that's probably alright, but in my humble opinion, that deems them to be less than an accurate measuring instrument. I have always wondered about this point but had asked about it until now. I am asking due to where I am at the low end of my learning curve.

After acquiring both the Incra and a copy of the Osborne miter gauges I had to recalibrate them even though I had been led to believe from the manufacturer of the tools that they were pretty much properly calibrated from the factory, not so, at least not to my satisfaction anyway. Well I am not nearly as sophocated as are many of the members that have posted to this thread, but I have a simple "'Guarenteed Accurate" square with a six inch blade on it. I used it to square the fences on both of the Miter Guages and the results did meet what I expected. At that time my goal was to make fairly large picture frames in which all four corners were tight and gap free which I accomplished.

I do used the dial indicator that I got for Woodpecker to align the blade and the fence with, I have some draftsman's templates, dial calipers and so far am getting along fairly well, but my level of expertise is not nearly up the level as is that of so many of you other members, on the other hand it s sure has come a long ways in the four years since I bought my first tools.

I'd like to know the opinion of the Wixly gauges though from some of you guys out there that know more about this subject than I do.

Jerry
 

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I have to admit the Wixy are likely not ideal for getting close to half a gnats butt. I have the same concerns with my Bosch and Stabilia. However, they all seem to get the job done for the common tasks.

For my Stabila, I switch between grade and angle and it gives you a much better inkling of how much that 1% really is. As they say, get out there a few miles and you might hit Arizona, instead of Main.

For setting up, say, my table saw table to the blade, I think mechanical is probably still the best way to go. You can't afford compromises in accuracy on some things.
 
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