I’m pretty frugal. I had it drilled into me by my parents, who are also extremely frugal. Most of the time I’m grateful for it. Every now and then I’m just the tiniest bit ashamed. I’m not sure yet which category tonight’s escapade falls into. Maybe you can be the judge. ;)
I wanted to get some calipers to measure diameters of whatever I’m turning. I looked on craigslist, and the only thing they had was a Starrett 36 for $575! (Click here for proof.) Are you kidding me? I’m sure they’re superb calipers, but do you know how much beer $575 will buy?
So I looked at the only set at Home Depot. I think it was around $15. But it was only 6”, and I wanted something a little bit bigger. So then I went to Harbor Fright (shudder), and they had a better selection, but again, it was either a 6” or some gargantuan thing that would allow you to measure the diameter of a small moon. So I passed on everything there as well.
Then I came home, ate dinner, watched a DVR’d episode of House, and then tried to take a nap. And failed. Miserably. Because I couldn’t stop thinking about how to make my own set of calipers. After about half an hour of mental gymnastics, and after I’d decided that I could probably do it, I got up and headed out to the garage.
About an hour later this is what was born:
These consist of two pieces of scrap wood with a dovetail joint that allows them to slide back and forth, two nails, and a little wood glue to hold the nails in place. I didn’t care what the the actual diameter of whatever I’m measuring is, I just want to be able to have a reference for things like lids and such. So there are no markings. And I can’t close them beyond about a 1/4 inch. But I don’t need that either.
Eventually, I’ll add in a thumbscrew to hold the pieces in place after taking a “measurement”, but after the glue dries.
Here’s a few more shots of the ugliest set of calipers ever created. ;) As always, thanks for reading.
Calipers slid open about half way:
Side view of the dovetail joint:
And a shot of the two pieces apart, showing the male and female dovetails: