LumberJocks

Exactly when did a millimetre get so jolly big?

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by KnickKnack posted 10-04-2011 08:50 PM 6083 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I found myself a few hours ago, whilst measuring whether or not I had created a perfect square, looking at my ruler and deciding that the diagonal was about (yes, about!) 16.7 mm.
What kind of craziness is this?
The ruler is a cheapo school jobbie I paid a euro for, and is only marked with millimetres.

When I started out in this woodworking game a few years ago I had an old tape measure and a soft pencil.
There was a lot of “play” in the tape measure – depending on how tight you pulled (or pushed it), you had about 5mm to work with/against.
The pencil could, if I worked at it, give me a point that would make a line about 2 mil wide.
I rarely worked on it.
Ah the good ol’ days – that was enough.

Then I got a ruler, and suddenly everything changed – 1 mm out was 1 mm out – the big black line told me so – no more excuses. My diagonals were off by a whole one of those seemingly never ending cavernous gaps between the black lines, which were, I swear, laughing at me as, glasses on bench (without my glasses I’m blind as a bat, except for close ups at which I can probably count the hairs on the legs of a dude ant (I presume girl ants don’t have hairy legs)), the gap got wider and wider.
Now the pencil lines I was drawing on were a joke – a big fat, uneven, black joke.
Which side of that fat line was I supposed to fail to cut along?

So I got a propelling pencil (I think I’ve seen those referred to as mechanical pencils here). Now my lines are, the package tells me, 0.5mm thick – my ruler tells me they’re a lot thinner than that, but is that important?
In those good ol’ days when I jigsawed I was aiming to cut along the line.
Easy – the blade was actually less fat than the line.
Now – crisis – my pencil line is thinner than my blade – am I aiming to cut along the middle? Or an edge? Which edge?

I try to see all this as a “good” thing – I’m starting to pay more attention to detail, and to accuracy, but it also gives me actual evidence of my inadequacies – this is less of a good thing – some of me yearns for the days when “close enough” really was close enough.

Where will it all end?
I have one of those super-duper microchipped battery operated caliper gauges on my shopping list.
Do I really want to be told that the diagonals differ by one hundredth of a millimetre?

I very much fear that my seriously obsessive sagittarian rat tendencies are going to have a field day!

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."



7 comments so far

View MrDan's profile

MrDan

200 posts in 2755 days


#1 posted 10-04-2011 08:54 PM

May I advise you to never buy a micrometer then…It will really depress you. :)

View jumbojack's profile

jumbojack

1667 posts in 2091 days


#2 posted 10-05-2011 12:02 AM

KK I nearly peed myself reading your post. That prompted me to look at your projects and find you do know which side of the line to miss cut. Very nice stuff. Thanks for the chuckle. I am eager to see your next creation.
Written or crafted.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 2582 days


#3 posted 10-05-2011 12:24 AM

then I wood say never consider an electric micrometer with a 1/mil. meassurement … LOL
but you can still cut close enoff everytime you want to relaxe with the saw
make two lines ½inch distance and cut right between them ….then you are always on the correct
on the line and then sneak in with a smoothing plane …LOL

Dennis

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

7708 posts in 2310 days


#4 posted 10-05-2011 02:08 AM

Humerous, but painfully so. Thats why there is a story stick? LOL Even when I measure twice and sneak up on it, there is varying thickness in the saw cut? Cut on the waste side! cut ont the waste side. Ops, How the heck did I do that? Time out. Oh yeah minnesota weather expansion and contraction. Son of a….... How did I measure that and mark that..even when I wrote it down. Oh yeah where did I lay that sheet of paper? where is my ruler?

I’m going to do something else or take a nap.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Steven Davis's profile

Steven Davis

118 posts in 2382 days


#5 posted 10-05-2011 06:13 PM

The key is not whether something is 1mm, but whether everything fits together well.

I think we spend a bit too much time on measuring units and not on planing our work so that everything comes together properly.

The wobble in our table saw will take out some accuracy.

The flaws in our tools will as well.

The key is relative lengths and fit.

For most of our work here, that is!

-- Steven Davis - see me at http://www.free2secure.com/

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

1062 posts in 3034 days


#6 posted 01-23-2012 09:31 PM

Update:

I was there, in a shop, a rather nice feeling electronic caliper gauge in my hand. About 26 euros. Seemed a lot, but then a lot of things seem a lot, and I guess it isn’t. Not beyond the bounds of what I had in my pocket. Felt kinda like “the biz”, as you might say.
I looked for the “made in” mark. But found none. That didn’t help. There was something it might have said that would have helped. But it didn’t say that.
I ummed.
I ahhed.
I read the manual, what little of it there was.
I ummed some more.
I ahhed a little more.
Then I looked on the front of the box and it said something like “accurate to 0.01mm”.
And then it struck me…

Did I want to be measuring to that accuracy?
I have obsessive tendencies anyway, and that wasn’t going to help.
I knew how I’d be with it – it measured to 0.01mm so I was going to have to get everything accurate to within 0.01mm. I wouldn’t need to, but i knew I would have to.

So I put it back.
I don’t rule out revisiting the whole situation.
But, for now, “equality” rules.

I think Steven Davis, above, put it rather well…

The key is not whether something is 1mm, but whether everything fits together well.
I think we spend a bit too much time on measuring units and not on planing our work so that everything comes together properly.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

7708 posts in 2310 days


#7 posted 01-24-2012 07:08 PM

Charles Neil said “If it looks like it fits, then it does.” Another quote? “Some people build workshops, other people work in them. ” Trying hard to be the latter, LOL

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com