Suggestions for a Straight Edge and Feeler Gages

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Forum topic by cajunworkshop posted 03-09-2016 01:04 AM 1895 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View cajunworkshop's profile


64 posts in 989 days

03-09-2016 01:04 AM

I purchased a Jet Jointer and Ned to get a straight edge and feeler Gages. I see a lot of suggestion on Steele but they are expensive. Can anyone suggest what would “meet the bill” on straight edges I can use to set up my jointer? Where to purchase one and feeler Gages. Thanks

-- Cajun Workshop Greenville, SC

14 replies so far

View rick1955's profile


264 posts in 1424 days

#1 posted 03-09-2016 01:35 AM
How long is your jointer? If it’s five feet a 3’ straightedge isn’tmuch good. I have a 6’. Feeler gauges are available at automotive stores.

-- Working smarter with less tools is a true crafts person...

View teejk02's profile


481 posts in 1119 days

#2 posted 03-09-2016 01:49 AM

Feeler gauges from any automotive store (or Walmart for that matter)...regardless of where I have bought them I have never seen a bad set yet…and yeah…they come in sets of several blade thicknesses all in a handy holder like your old jackknife. Straight edge…I have always used a 4’ level that I already own but I know is true (newer stuff is usually close enough) only need that to keep the infeed and outfeed tables in line (which you should not have to adjust on a new machine) and then again to set the knives when you change them. I don’t insist on “perfection”....001” doesn’t bother me. But is your machine new or used? If new you might not have to touch it…factory condition is usually pretty good.

View TheFridge's profile


9444 posts in 1480 days

#3 posted 03-09-2016 01:49 AM

Never had problems with an extruded aluminum and feeler gauges. Extruded aluminum is cheap and known to be pretty precise. If not banged around.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View cajunworkshop's profile


64 posts in 989 days

#4 posted 03-09-2016 02:38 AM

The jointer is new. Was a display model at woodcraft. The table is 56 inches. Just want to get a feel from the expierenced here on steel or something else works fine for a straight edge. I would like to save that money for example to buy another router bit.

-- Cajun Workshop Greenville, SC

View AZWoody's profile


1330 posts in 1218 days

#5 posted 03-09-2016 02:48 AM

Look for angled feeler gauges. I have a set from Sears and the angle makes them easier to use in some situations when doing setups. I liked them when doing horizontal checking, like when checking for co-planer tables on a jointer.

Regular straight ones I liked when checking my fence to the table saw blade.

View joey502's profile


535 posts in 1512 days

#6 posted 03-09-2016 02:53 AM

I have a woodpecker precision straight edge for tool setup. I think it is about $50 at woodcraft. Lee valley sells a precision straight edge that is very popular.

Feeler gauge sets are cheap. HF, they can also be cut up to ise a shims when needed.

View MrRon's profile


4758 posts in 3237 days

#7 posted 03-09-2016 04:42 PM

A precision straightedge is expensive. There isn’t much use for a straightedge in the shop other than alignment chores and layout. I would recommend using a good carpenters level, in your case a 60” long one. Feeler gauges can be bought from auto parts stores and will be precise within a thousandth of the stated size. Precision straightedges (I have a Starrett 72” one that cost several hundred dollars), should not be used as a saw guide or for any task that requires you to guide a tool along it’s edge.

View MrUnix's profile


6698 posts in 2193 days

#8 posted 03-09-2016 07:08 PM

If you have some scrap MDF and a few screws, you can make your own reference straightedge for cheap, and it will be just as accurate as one of those pricey things you get in the store.

You can find several examples of how to make one floating around the net. Sometimes known as a “master bar” or “test bar” depending on who is describing it. There is a pretty good description in the book “Care and Repair of Shop Machines: A Complete Guide to Setup, Troubleshooting, and Maintenance” by John White. Here is a link to the relevant section:

Fine Woodworking has an article about making one here (Article titled: “Jointer Tune-up – Table realignment and knife adjustments made easy using shopmade tools”). If you don’t have access to that, there is a condensed version that can be found here (at the shopsmith forum).


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View pintodeluxe's profile


5653 posts in 2807 days

#9 posted 03-09-2016 07:14 PM

I went through this process a while back, and like any good tool junkie assumed I would have to order a Veritas 36” specialty straightedge. I assumed that my 4’ builders level wouldn’t be accurate enough. Well, my jointer has a very long infeed table, so I tested the level against it. Then I tested the level against my cast iron tablesaw. Everything was within .002”, so I flipped the level over and confirmed that the other edge of the level was the same. It was.

This was just a typical aluminum level, and it worked great with simple automotive style feeler gauges. I can’t say that every builders level is perfectly flat, but if you have one I’d start by checking it.
Basically when I tune a jointer, I am not trying to change the flatness of the infeed table or outfeed table, I just want them to be coplanar within an acceptable margin.

I am getting glueup-ready joints that do not taper. That is the ultimate answer if your setup is correct.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3358 days

#10 posted 03-09-2016 07:30 PM

I have the Lee Valley 38” straight edge (,240,45313,50074). Does everything I need it to do.

View ScottKaye's profile


643 posts in 1947 days

#11 posted 03-09-2016 09:16 PM

of course, its out of stock atm.. I believe you can also get it on ebay or direct from taylor tool works. I have great luck with this and seems pretty straight to me. I used it to help set up my jointer and planer tables. I paid 29.99 for it on amazon.

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View rick1955's profile


264 posts in 1424 days

#12 posted 03-10-2016 04:13 AM

38” is too short for a 56” jointer. I spent years going to schools and commercial shop tuning and fixing machinery. The Crain straight edge I referenced to is a better value for the money. I have a 4’ and a 6’ straight edge. However a 5’ or 6’ level might have more uses. When had my 16” Oliver they allowed .010” tolerance. It was off by .015” and that was unacceptable. I had it ground and got it within .007” and that worked fine.

On a little jointer like that I would joint 2 boards first and put them edge to edge. You may not even need a straight edge. I think you are jumping the gun.

-- Working smarter with less tools is a true crafts person...

View BustedClock's profile


128 posts in 2516 days

#13 posted 08-01-2017 03:44 AM

This thread has been quiescent for a while. Nevertheless, I want to ask a question on which someone here might venture an opinion.

One of the things I’m getting from this thread is don’t sweat the small stuff. In most cases, it seems, one does not need a certified straight edge to set up equipment. The question I want to ask, however, is what about determining whether your wood surface is flat. I can see that .001” won’t make a difference on a dining table, but I’m interested in Japanese and Chinese joinery. It seems to me that .001” out of flat, or square, could really muck up some of those complicated joints.

-- Hey, I'm usually right twice a day! Except where they use 24 hour clocks.

View RDan's profile


64 posts in 2318 days

#14 posted 08-01-2017 04:11 AM

You may check out They had the fulton’s on sale recently for $50 for both. I missed it though. Dan

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