Precision nut

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 05-10-2014 09:30 PM 1274 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5270 posts in 3483 days

05-10-2014 09:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shaping

I might be considered by some to be a nut when it comes to precision. I work very closely to tolerances. I know; you will say,”wood moves due to environmental conditions like humidity and temperature”. I know and understand this, but my projects turn out fine when I’m working to within .005”. Not quite as precise as metalworking. Why do I work to close tolerances? Because I can, that’s why. Aside from also being a hobby machinist, I worked in the shipbuilding field. My job was to visit Navy ships, sometimes half way around the globe, make extremely careful measurements and sketches, take it back to the shipyard, prepare detailed drawings and hope that when the ship returned to port months later that the changes could be accomplished according to the drawings. They most often would work with little or no adjustment to the drawing. This is a case where any error in dimensioning could cost the yard a lot of additional expense. Being able to work with accurate dimensions has therefore been forged into my brain, so now that I am retired, my brain still thinks “precision”.

6 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3952 days

#1 posted 05-15-2014 05:13 AM

Does your shop have a pretty constant humidity level? Do you find that obtaining that level of precision changes how you wood work?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 2143 days

#2 posted 05-15-2014 08:08 AM

I pretty much retired from machine work in 06. On woodworking what comes to mind for needed close tolerance is long in length box joints, those have to be good or spend a lot of time repairing or scrapping them. Another is machine adjustment.
An example might be blade height on planers and jointers also.

I made the base for this dial indicator so as to set the blade height, the closer they are, set the better the machine performs.
My perspective from the machine shop, is much different then what I see in the common woodworking world. I simply do not take the chances, never standing in front of a saw blade or board for just one example.
Everyone else better buy a Sawstop, or you will saw your fingers off.
And that is one difference, as the metal machines can kill you instantly with one mistake. There one tends to think things out more before hitting the control on button.
Another angle is I tend to buy heavy woodworking machines

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5270 posts in 3483 days

#3 posted 05-15-2014 05:15 PM

On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, humidity in my shop can vary from 30% to 90% all year round. For metalworking, I work in a smaller humidity controlled shop within the larger woodworking shop. I’m battling rust all the time.

View Planeman40's profile


1330 posts in 3000 days

#4 posted 05-16-2014 05:08 AM

You sound like my shop friend who is a retired Lockheed engineer. He measures six times and agonizes over the tiniest details! Takes forever to accomplish something which drives me nuts sometimes. However I’ll have to say his work is absolutely perfect! He’s a precision machinist and whatever the builds looks like it came out of a tool and die shop. :)


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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2928 posts in 2264 days

#5 posted 05-16-2014 06:47 AM

I think there is a support group for people with your condition. (Just kidding; I admire precision work, but rarely attain that level of perfection myself).

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 2143 days

#6 posted 05-16-2014 12:56 PM

An important point in metal machining is to place the close tolerances only where its needed. Otherwise, a great amount of time is wasted. Some parts, nearly every feature needs to be close. Here, a sub arbor for the discontinued Delta 12”-14” table saw.Two left hand threads, one Acme, and the mount taper. A little advantage here, the lathe is a Monarch 10ee. The machine has unusual rapid threading features, and the weight and muscle to work pre-hard alloy steel.

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