Reply by MrRon

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Posted on What are your go-to setup and measurement tools?

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4769 posts in 3242 days

#1 posted 09-01-2011 06:19 PM

Any setup or alignment will only be as good as the tools used. They are the standards everything else is referenced to or from, so they need to be as accurate and precise as possible. This is not the place to cut corners with low cost (low quality) tools. My first tool would be the 12” Starrett combination square, followed by a Starrett straightedge and finally a 6” digital caliper, like a B&S or Mitutoyo. A set of feeler gauges also comes in handy. A good dial indicator and magnetic base is good for setting jointer blades. With these basic tools, you can setup and align just about anything in your shop. Remember: Don’t waste your money on low grade (Chinese) tools. To test them for accuracy, you need to compare them to the known precision tools, so they should be your first and only purchase. I speak from a machinist’s viewpoint, but it also applies to woodworking machines. The accuracy may not be as necessary, but you need a precise baseline to start from. There was an old saying back in my school days. It said “always strive for an A and you may end up with a B”. If you just try for a passing grade, you may end up failing. This is how I view accuracy in my woodworking; try for .015”(1/64”) and you may end up with 1/32” accuracy. Try for 1/32” and it may be too short.

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