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Posted on How much precision do we need in woodworking?

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5711 posts in 3231 days

#1 posted 08-23-2012 03:21 PM

If we were working with highly refined alloyed metals with controlled expansion / contraction rates, and building components intended for high speed operation I could see tolerances in the thousandths or ten thousandths being the range we want to work in, but we aren’t, we are working with wood, a media that moves and flows on its own. While I don’t encourage anyone to be sloppy in their work, I don’t see the point in going to extremes for accuracy when there is no real benefit. If for example a piece of steel stock used as a straight edge is within .001” in an 8’ run, to consider that not straight for woodworking purposes is for all intents and purposes over concern with accuracy. I would however be concerned if there was variation at the .1” per 8’ level…

You say you have a 36” straight edge that is known good. You can check an 8 footer with your 3 footer. If 3 feet are good, then move down 2 feet so you are checking against a known good foot, and check, repeat until done…

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