Joewhite just brought up a good thought...

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by DKV posted 03-29-2013 04:32 AM 2006 views 0 times favorited 45 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2530 days

03-29-2013 04:32 AM

and it got me to thinking. How many Jocks out there can adjust a sled or miter gauge to within .001” and why would you want to? When it comes to woodworking I do not think .001” (that’s better than 1/512”) would matter in any of the projects that I have seen on this site. In fact why would it matter in any wood project. In fact I would be really interested to know what type wood project even requires that kind of rocket science tolerances. Going to the moon or ISS…I understand. Building a chair or table or box…I don’t understand.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

45 replies so far

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


4859 posts in 2434 days

#1 posted 03-29-2013 04:37 AM

I have no idea, but enjoyed the question. Some guys sweep, clean, and in a recent post admit to dusting and waxing a shop. Why? Have no idea, if I catch anyone attempting to do so in my shop I will shoot, shoot again, reload then ask the questions…........ (laughing)

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View jumbojack's profile


1677 posts in 2650 days

#2 posted 03-29-2013 05:15 AM

Within .001 not in this hacks shop. The OP however was out .005. For most work that is OK, Im not going to do the math on what .005 over 24” equals, but I know it will show up in a miter like say a picture frame. Three of the miters will come together pretty well and look OK. It is that pesky fourth corner. Lots of glue, a little saw dust and heavy clamp might be able to cover .005, but not .006.

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

View Woodknack's profile


11786 posts in 2406 days

#3 posted 03-29-2013 06:12 AM

Miters are about the only time I get really anal about tolerances but even then there are plenty of tricks to make it work out right. My philosophy, which has served me well, is it’s more important to look right than be right (obviously this doesn’t work for everything but it works in woodworking and printing).

-- Rick M,

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2602 days

#4 posted 03-29-2013 11:11 AM

I try to get as square as possible because of cumulative error. If I cut pieces for a box, and the ends aren’t square, the box will wobble once assembled and require sanding/hand planing to level it out.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2995 days

#5 posted 03-29-2013 12:16 PM

If I can see a chink of daylight between square and cut, then it’s wrong. If I can’t see a chink of daylight between square and cut, then it’s right. Simple.
I have never done a project that has to withstand re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, so chinks have worked for me thus far.

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2032 days

#6 posted 03-29-2013 12:31 PM

”Close enough only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”

Who said that? I dunno, prolly some famous person. But it seems to apply here :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Miles King's profile

Miles King

28 posts in 2718 days

#7 posted 03-29-2013 12:32 PM

I agree with renners. For miter gauges or sleds to check for square I make a cut then flip one piece and press the two end pieces together. If there isn’t a gap then it is square enough for me. Is that within 0.001? I don’t know. All that I know is that’s the best that I can do and so far I haven’t had an accumulative error problem with miter or angle cuts that I couldn’t correct. Additionally I use the widest board I can, sheets good are best and for cross cut sleds I use the five cut method that helps to magnify any error.

-- Miles

View madts's profile


1862 posts in 2365 days

#8 posted 03-29-2013 01:24 PM

Good enough for government work. What is that tolerance? 1”?

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3770 days

#9 posted 03-29-2013 01:26 PM

File to fit; paint to hide.

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 1929 days

#10 posted 03-29-2013 02:16 PM

NiteWalker hit on what I try to reduce “acumlative error”.
I started out using hand tools only, but went with machines to speed up projects, and reduce the hand work because of past injury.
The better I can dial in the machines, the less handwork needed, better for me anyway.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2530 days

#11 posted 03-29-2013 06:40 PM

Human hair and miter joints…

“Flaxen hair is the finest, from 1/1500 to 1/500 of an inch in diameter … and black hair is the coarsest, from 1/450 to 1/140 of an inch.”

Are all your miter joints blond?

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3611 days

#12 posted 03-29-2013 06:51 PM

DKV you are correct I have been saying this for years too many adjustments to machinery fine tolerences not needed in my book you are correct. Alistair

I always work myself to the nearest half inch and that works fine with the aid of car body filler.LOL

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View MrRon's profile


4795 posts in 3269 days

#13 posted 03-29-2013 08:44 PM

There is a difference between “cutting” wood and “machining” wood. When working with hard woods like Maple, much closer tolerances are needed, like in dovetails. True, it is hard to hold to tolerances measured in thousands, but the closer you can get, the better will be the fit. Besides, there are some on this forum who were brought up in the metalworking disiplines (me included) and find it easy to maintain close tolerances.

You will also find that woodworking machines made for the manufacturing trades are very precise. When they mill a 2×4, every piece comes out a perfect 1.5×3.5. What it ends up after it leaves the mill depends on the environmental conditions. That puts the difference between home and commercial machines in perspective.

Cutting wood is like studying for a school exam. If you shoot for a C, you will end up with a D, but if you shoot for an A, then a B is perfectly acceptable. Close enough is never good enough in my book.

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 1929 days

#14 posted 03-29-2013 10:27 PM

Ha Ha! Machinist myself.
When they get old, they start working wood. One sure sign is, they usually only buy machines that weigh at least 1000lbs!
Since they have to constantly adjust metal working machines, it only natural to fine tune the wood machines.
Always looking for a better machined surface finish, and fit.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3184 days

#15 posted 03-29-2013 10:30 PM

Because I can.

-- jay,

showing 1 through 15 of 45 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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