|Forum topic by curliejones||posted 04-04-2015 06:16 PM||1156 views||0 times favorited||9 replies|
04-04-2015 06:16 PM
I love nice tools! I’m not alone, considering the company I keep here on LJs. But one or more of you simply state that, the less I spend on Tool A, the more I can spend on other necessary tools B and C etc. Some or many of us have a budget, whether written as a fixed amount or imaginary, in that we can’t see spending $50 for a good tool if a $15 tool will do the job.
I have a building fairly completed and I want to again begin my woodworking journey, but with aforethought to a higher degree of precision and pleasure. I am thinking through lots of details as I set up shop and buy some hand tools toward “hybrid” woodworking.
Over the last couple of days I’ve reviewed some basic principles of measuring and layout and here are some Q & As along with some of the thoughts that prompted them.
Thought: I often see folks referring to using the “factory edge” of plywood as though the factory could be trusted to the end of time. Hmmmmm?
Remember, I love nice tools but for those of you with some limit of funds, I’ll offer an idea or two. We all need a straight edge that we know is straight and a square that we know is accurate for 90 degrees. I tried the following this morning after buying a pair of brass stair gauges. I took an aluminum straight edge that lives in the shop, a yardstick 36” long, that cost less than $2. I carefully butted it to the edge of a nice piece of 1/2” cabinet plywood and drew a line with a 0.5mm lead pencil. I then flipped the yardstick and traced that same edge from the other side. Any variance in my line should represent twice the flaw or error from a straight line.
I’m happy – I have a true straight edge for my first point of reference. I then took two quick clamps and carefully clamped the straight edge onto the 2 ft x 4 ft plywood panel. Next I retrieved my aluminum framing square from it’s throne and attached my latest investment in precision, a $4 pair of brass stair gauges. Rather than buy an attachable “fence” for my framing square, I wanted to see if the stair gauges could work to a similar end. I tried two different methods for checking the 90-degree-ness (hey new word!) and used the stair gauges to provide a stop by attaching both gauges to the short leg of the framing square.
I indexed the two brass gauges to the plywood edge, drew a fine line, flipped the square and drew again. Pretty close! Hmmm. This time I indexed the stair gauges to the aluminum straight edge and drew a fine line. When I flipped the square, the lines were in perfect alignment.
What did I learn? If you have a straight edge, don’t worry that it did not cost a fortune; just check and be sure it is straight. Use that straight edge to prove whether or not your framing square is good enough for layout of panels. Lastly, regardless of how straight the edge of factory plywood, the slightest bump or divot can throw you off 1/32” over the 24” of travel. It’s better to reference from the smooth aluminum straight edge (the one you know is straight). Leave the stair gauges on the framing square once you have achieved nirvana! I fully expected to have to shim one or the other for this experiment, but that was not necessary.
Now I can go on to wishing for some other shiny useful object since my old stuff works just fine.
-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"