Tool of the Week – Callipers

Once you start working on fine joinery, you realize very quickly that success and failure is measured in 1000th’s of an inch.  And how do you make such a measurement?  With a pair of callipers.  While accuracy to this degree may seem unnecessary in woodworking, if you are trying to join two pieces of hard wood (like maple) together and you are more than a 1000th’s off, it’s not going to work.  I found that callipers with a dial on it make it easier to read and it saves you trying to count the little scribed lines.  I bought mine at a surplus tool store, no need for one of the million dollar ones from Starret.

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Tool of the Week – Router Plane

What could you possibly need a router plane for?  That’s what I thought before this week.  You use this tool by setting the cutter height at the depth of the groove you are trying to flatten out, then you run it back and forth till it smoothes everything out.  Sounds simple? That’s cause this tool is incredibly simple.  I used it a ton this week on the mortise and tenon joints in my side table.  Fitting the tenons into the mortises needs precision down to the 1000th of an inch, and this little plane made my life much easier.  As far as planes go it’s pretty cheap at under $60 each.  Apparently the blade is tricky to sharpen, luckily that wasn’t for me to do…

Tool of the Week

This week’s tool is another simple one.  It’s a small pocket-sized square from Veritas (Lee Valley Tools).  My teacher has one of these in his apron pocket at all times as they are incredibly useful for checking the thickness of boards as you are preparing them, and for adjusting many of the machines.  After an entire day of me constantly asking to borrow his, I bought my own.  I keep it on me at all times as I am constantly using it, a must have tool in my books!