Woodworking can be a lot of fun and chances are you’ve got the main bigger pieces of equipment needed already. You’ve already got your clamps, planes, woodworking machinery etc. Have you ever considered the more important tools that most overlook such as your marking and measuring tools.
These tools are the most important tools because if they are old, broken, or not as good as they need to be then you will start to have problems. You’ll find your joints aren’t fitting correctly, your square frames aren’t exactly square, and a host of other issues. Most people think that their everyday tape measurer is more than enough but it really isn’t designed to handle the type of fine measurements that are required for woodworking.
So we will cover the basics of tools that have a better ability to give you the fine tuning required for highly skilled woodworking. The first integral step in any woodworking project is getting the linear dimensions done correctly.
Some woodworking projects may require precise and intricate measurements. While trying to get a precise measurement from part 1 to part 2 should be simple, if it is not accurate than problems can arise later on in the woodworking process. Think about it, when was the last time you held a tape measure down on a board and tried to take measurements? Even with holding it steady and a partner the tape measure can slip ever so slightly or shift while trying to make proper marks. While measure twice and cut once always holds true a lot of times that is because the tape measure is known to shift. Nothing is worse than measuring and cutting just to find out that it was off and you need a new board to cut.
The tool you need has to be readable, accurate, and calibrated correctly. Most common are Incra Precision Marking Rules because they are able to lay flat and are very easy to read. The reason why this tool is loved so much is because it is extremely accurate for woodworking, and it helps prevent placing a mark in the wrong spot. The next step is to measure distance from an edge, as opposed to length. A T-Rule and Precision Bend Rule are the tools for the job in this regard.
Another step is to put a measuring square at the end of the board to check a cut. You believe that the ninety degree angle of a square is accurate, but how sure of that are you? Most squares will have a measurement in accordance with a standard that is used across all the tools. Knowing the standards will tell you that the tool is made with a tolerance range. If there is no standard on the tool chances are there is no way to be able to tell how accurate the tool is. A surprising number of tools on the marketplace are not made with accuracy but why does it matter? The small inaccuracies pile up over time and multiply. Two parts that get joined together made with an inaccurate tool now have twice the problems, built up over the course of the project these small inaccuracy can become one major problem.
The next angle above the square, which is typically ninety degrees is the 45 degree angle. You need to be able to check and mark this angle as it is the most common angle in woodworking. Using a crown try-miter square will help you accomplish this task easily enough. Use of a combination square gives you the ability to use blades and graduated scales which can come in handy. Amazingly enough this was taking from the machinist tool set mostly because it is a great all around tool for these types of jobs. This tends to be the most commonly used tool, if not the only go to tool whenever you are in a pinch.
This is obviously just a precursor to all of the tools for those pursuing woodworking and needing to measure correctly. The number of tools and amount of equipment you can get can seem daunting at times. The reality of it that with ac ore set of tools you will not have to worry about all the fancy equipment. As long as they are accurate and based on a standard you be happy knowing that the chances of errors showing up in your work are slim to none.