Where is a straight edge supposed to be straight?

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Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 03-31-2014 11:00 PM 2317 views 0 times favorited 41 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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915 posts in 2063 days

03-31-2014 11:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: straight edge straightedge veritas lee valley

Hi all. I just got my 36” Veritas/Lee Valley straightedge today. After looking at the straight edge it looks like it’s bent slightly at one end. I checked it against the cast iron wings on my table saw. When I put the straightedge “wide side down” on the table it rocks noticeably.

But I think it’s straight on the thinner sides. I’m sure there’s proper terms that I don’t know.

Is a straightedge supposed to be flat on all four sides? Or just the thinner edges?


41 replies so far

View Oldtool's profile


2602 posts in 2160 days

#1 posted 03-31-2014 11:20 PM

I was confused by your description, so I looked up the Lee Valley Straight Edge, 38” Aluminum. If your tool is like the ones in this picture, I suggest you send it back. It should be straight without any bend, and set flat on your table saw.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Jerry's profile


2614 posts in 1618 days

#2 posted 03-31-2014 11:21 PM

Boy, I would definitely be calling Lee Valley about this. They are really nice people and will give you an honest answer. Personally, I don’t know how you could use a straightedge that is not flat. If you think about the fact that you have to hold it down on a surface to make a line or a mark, rocking would be unacceptable, at least to me, but I’m not the straightedge expert.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2063 days

#3 posted 03-31-2014 11:45 PM

This is the one I snagged:,240,45313,56676

To be more precise, the 36”.

I e-mailed the Veritas customer service address. I’m sure Lee Valley would exchange it for me if I asked. But I don’t want to be “that customer” who is nitpicky and expects unrealistic perfection.

If the thing isn’t meant to be perfectly flat on all 4 sides and is instead only meant to be flat on one or two sides then getting a replacement won’t make any difference. It’ll be the same thing.

I don’t think it was damaged during shipping. They packed things pretty well.

View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2044 days

#4 posted 04-01-2014 12:08 AM

I’ll guess that it’s likely meant to be straight on the narrow edges. If it is not straight on the narrows then I’d call them without hesitation.

I have 3 older Empire levels, a 2 ft. a 4 ft, and a 6 ft., aluminum with magnetic inlays on one side. Believe it or not, they’re pretty darn straight :o) Think if I were going to pay 80 sump’n $$ for a 3 ft long straight piece of steel or aluminum, I’d head to a machine shop and get a price on it.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2063 days

#5 posted 04-01-2014 01:26 AM

Thanks for the replies. I got the more expensive steel because I figured it would be highly resistant to bending. Thus the disappointment. Especially since the other Veritas stuff I’ve gotten has been darn near perfect.

On the other hand, it is a $100 tool and not a $1,000 tool. So I’d feel kind of bad about sending it back.

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2547 days

#6 posted 04-01-2014 01:33 AM

Don’t feel bad at all; send it back. Lee valley is great with customer service.
You paid good money for it. It should be flat on all 4 sides, but the critical edges should be to their spec.

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

View Fish22's profile


83 posts in 3083 days

#7 posted 04-01-2014 01:40 AM

Call Lee Valley, they will make it right. I order some bow clamps around Christmas and somehow the box was damaged and FedEx didn’t deliver and didn’t contact LV, I called Lee Valley to discuss, 15 minutes later got a call back saying we will deal with FedEx and are shipping new ones out.

-- Bryan, South River, NJ

View johnstoneb's profile


2872 posts in 2142 days

#8 posted 04-01-2014 01:44 AM

If you read the description it plainly states the the steel straight edges are machined to within .0015 on the two edges. The wide side as you call it is not considered an edge.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1269 posts in 1604 days

#9 posted 04-01-2014 01:52 AM

Call them, even those that is not considered an edge, it should not be out by much. If it is, it may not register correctly on your piece to be checked. Take a feeler gauge and find out how much it bows out, and where it is highest. Discuss this with them. It might be within tolerances, but it might not be.

-- Jeff NJ

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2063 days

#10 posted 04-01-2014 01:55 AM

I’ll put it on my table saw and break out the feeler gauges and the flashlight. The only problem is I don’t have a single, unbroken surface that is 36 inches long. But I can get it most of the way there with the table saw.

View mnguy's profile


193 posts in 3368 days

#11 posted 04-01-2014 01:56 AM

These are definitely NOT supposed to be flat on the wide faces; only the narrow faces are machined to be flat. The straight edge does not have enough beam strength to stay flat if it is projected off a table, for example, and will not be a reference surface/edge. If the narrow edges are flat against your table saw (assuming it is a flat reference), then this tool is machined properly and functioning as intended.

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2547 days

#12 posted 04-01-2014 02:36 AM

If there’s a noticeable bow in the flat faces of the straight edge, it’s still not up to spec IMHO.

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

View kdc68's profile


2649 posts in 2246 days

#13 posted 04-01-2014 02:49 AM

I see it as this cost $90.00 so it best be straight to the specs, no bends… them and ask for a new one or get your $$ back

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View Ray's profile


126 posts in 1973 days

#14 posted 04-01-2014 03:06 AM

I am sure that LV wants to hear from you. They do not want a dissatisfied customer or damaged tools floating around.

-- Creating less fire wood every day

View mantwi's profile


312 posts in 1866 days

#15 posted 04-01-2014 03:13 AM

You don’t want to be that guy, I’ll bet used car salesmen love you. Seriously for a C note you should expect serious quality especially for something as simple as a thin piece of steel. It’s not rude or picky to ask for what you paid for, a straight straight edge.

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