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Need Longer Thickness Caliper

2447 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Stick486
I love these calipers from Lee Valley but I sometimes need them to be longer. Anyone have a good idea how to make something like them longer? I make flutes and I bore the long hole for the flute sound chamber.Occasionally one will drift a little and if I know this I can allow more wood to be left there when finish turning it...just maybe not turning the flute as thin. Anyhow any ideas would be appreciated . I have the longer set.

Thickness Calipers - Lee Valley Tools
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The only thing that hits my mind is, cut the curve in 2 in the center of the curve, and the straight piece opposite. Then weld a piece in the gap of each, however long you want. I've seen other types of tool extended similarly, except the needed flat sections. Might have to overlap each end of the gap, and the insert piece. Silver solder might do the job. If you would be doing the joining, unless you are skilled in doing things like that, I'd get some scrap pieces and make several practice joints. Actually I'm thinking riveting could work, but might get tricky. I'm thinking I might consult with a pro welder before I started on this. He/she would likely know IF it could be done, and if so, the best way to do it.

That's all I've got just now.
Yup, maybe extend them like they do on some locking pliers... (I'd hate to cut those nice calipers though)


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Mike I think I would make something similar just for turning flutes. You don't really need the larger loop on the one side so the caliper could be made with a straight arm and sized to fit into the flute and a slightly offset arm to clear the outside for measurements.

If made well this might be something you could market to other flute makers.


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Here is another Idea

Tools and Jigs
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I know that when they turn barrels in rifles they rotate both the bit and the barrel itself. This prevents the kind of drift you're describing. Not sure exactly how you'd manage that, or the length of drill you'd need. But if you centered the bit properly it would likely be easier to turn in the end. Do you have a picture of your drilling rig to share? What size is the sound chamber? What type of bit?

Just out of curiosity, are you adding the hardware to make your flute? If so, can you order those parts? I assume the openings are cut at very precise lengths.

I'd also love to see some of your finished flutes. That is some mighty exacting woodworking. What material do you use for them? Your post really has me fascinated.
Hi Tom,
I use a gundril (a lot of flutemakers are using them) We have the flute blank rotating in the wood lathe and a boring box which guides the gundril. It is all fed by hand.Compressed air and a shop vac clears the chips as we hand feed the gundril.It is a great set up and occasionally you will get one that has drifted...not many but once in a while.I am constantly tinkering with this.I have used it for yrs now and love it....A lot of makers use a router and route half of 2 blanks and then glue them together...A lot make them that way but then you have a glue joint. My flutes aren like the silver flute played in bands but are rimblown flutes that were played many yrs ago.These are a modern version of ancient flutes.. This is my simple website.
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Mike, those are some really nice flutes. I didn't know people made flutes like you make. I bet you could even charm snakes with your flutes. :grin:
I am from the "keep it simple" school.... I would use coat hanger wire and bend yourself a simple caliper. You can tension it up with a rubber band.

We have deep reach bore gauges and tubing wall calipers at work.... But the price is not something anyone wants to pay. You could weld (maybe even epoxy) 3/16" round stock to a pair of cheap digital calipers and accomplish the same thing
why not an odd leg spring or friction joint thickness caliper...
buy or make your own,,

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Doug I like to keep it simple too....I can work something out like that. I just need to eyeball whether or not the gundril has stayed true.(95% of the time they do and if I catch it I can adj ust or leave it thicker when I turn it on my lathe. Sometimes I turn some thin walled flutes and it makes a difference then,...

Stick those calipers would work if I could find them long enough. The ones I shared the link to from Lee Valley say 16 1/2"...I dont think they have that much of measurement length in them... Ive been making do with what I have for a while I can continue until I get that itch to make something....I like the drawing Mike did too.... Than
ks everybody for the input/suggestions!!
time to build your own...
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