Found my problem, or at least one of them

tvrgeek

Scott
User
I have about a dozen things that are supposed to be square. Half of them are not!
I trust my Post triangle and my 1-2-3 blocks. My old Bridge City dovetail gauge is square and the pair of aluminum red clamping angles seem to be good. Old Marples try-square is pretty close as well as the Chinese pattern square.

All three of my multi-squares are off. Ironic, the plastic one is the best. My igauge engineers square is close but not dead on. General digital protractor off a LOT. ( .4 degrees) Combo square I did not expect ( zinc head, not iron). I was able to hammer my framing square to be pretty close.

That explains why my shooting board and Lyon are not as perfect as I want and my TS is worse. No good to measure 5 corners when your gauge is off! Sigh, I guess that means I have to spend real money for a couple more tools, though Post triangles may be the best bet.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
how is a digital protractor off by nearly a 1/2 degree?

What are you using as your "standard"?
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Well, spec is +/- .3 degrees, so it is just out.
My standard is my old Post 12 inch drafting triangle. It correlates with the 123 blocks, aluminum corner blocks etc.

Ordered a new 30-60 triangle and a solid one piece steel 8 inch 90 engineers square which claims to be within .0003 total on the longest edge.

Discovered this making a new shooting board. So, making another one. :( I may make it shim-adjustable.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Don't trust cheap measuring tools, iGaging is some of the worst, General is too.
Old school machinist tools are the best. Brown & Sharp, Starrett, Mitutoyo, even the cheaper Enco is better than most "woodworkers squares".
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
Well, spec is +/- .3 degrees, so it is just out.
My standard is my old Post 12 inch drafting triangle. It correlates with the 123 blocks, aluminum corner blocks etc.

Ordered a new 30-60 triangle and a solid one piece steel 8 inch 90 engineers square which claims to be within .0003 total on the longest edge.

Discovered this making a new shooting board. So, making another one. :( I may make it shim-adjustable.
So if the spec is +/-.3 degrees, I would say your measurement proves it is "good" and maybe your .4 is measurement error...???

also, I am not understanding your metrology - if you zero your digital protractor, and then set it against your 12 inch drafting triangle, you are reading 90.4?

I would suggest that you set it 90 to the left side of your table saw blade, then take it to the right of your table saw blade and see if you need to move the blade of the protractor - if not, it is just metrology error...
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Yea, thinking about buying one of the traditional brand machinist gauges. Heck had to search quite a bit to find decent drafting triangles. Most were molded styrene. Enco is new to me. Il'l see how the solid "spec" one measures when I get it. If not great, Amazon return! Wonder what coupon for Zoro I have.

Kind of disappointed with iGaging. Funny, my only Starrett tool is a marking gauge and I hate it. I like my old Stanley wheel gauge better.

89.6 or .7. Yes, I zero it on a plate. My 1-2-3 blocks are decent and every angle reads the same on the General digital. Impossible to have four sides 89.6 degrees. They measure the same as my Post triangle, Bridge City gauge, and aluminum red corners. All read the same on the General. I have a Wixy cube and it reads the same on both sides of the blade. Or at least within the .1 degree it reads.
Also have two simple mechanical protractors and they are pretty far off. ( General too) Close enough for drill bits I guess.
All these will be in my disposal box cheap I will bring to the picnic. Everything I am not using I am getting rid of. Too many years of collecting inferior tools. They are in the way of my good stuff. I make enough errors on my own, I don't need my tools to lie to me.

Reminds me of a day in the BORG. I grabbed every Eclipse aluminum combo square and put them back to back using level as a table. No two were the same. Gaps in every which way as much as a 1/16.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Enco is no longer a separate company. MSC re-absorbed them a few years back. Miss those monthly flyers and deals. Thankfully they were around in my "tool buying days."
 

Oka

Board of Directors, Vice President
Casey
Staff member
Corporate Member
Enco used to be a decent tooling company, they partnered up with Jet in the 80's and 90's and opened stores on the west coast for a number of years.
FYI nothing in the digital world will provide greater than 1/1000 accuracy , unless it is stupid expensive, when they say they are good to 1/5,000-1/10,000 just sale pitch not true
Good mid range digital - look at Neiko or Shar, both pretty accurate and consistent.

When I saw the title I expected to see the answer as "Beer" ... :p
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Nope. I mastered that years ago! :D

I have a set of Shar calipers, after tossing several pairs of cheap ones.

I still get flyers from MCS. I usually get my taps and drills from them. MCS does have digital protractors spec'd at .05 degrees. The General 832 ( $22) is spec'd @ +/- .1, yet the identical looking Johnson is +/- .3 degree. Mine does not meet either. They have an "insize" spec @ .05 degree for $112 which might be handy.

The 8 inch Kinex square I ordered is spec'd @ .0003 on the longest leg. 45 degree squares seem to be much more expensive. Woodpeckers has a 6 inch out of aluminum and their DelVe looks kind of cool.
 

Dee2

Board of Directors, Secretary
Gene
Staff member
Corporate Member
I have lost confidence in my Woodpecker squares for anything but rough layout, but then I have a really old Starrett machinist's square.
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
Kind of makes you think about $120 Starrets and $90 Woodpeckers.

I purchased a Starrett square (not a combo) and it was off by a lot.

Same thing with tape measures and rulers - who do you believe? I've got a bunch, and I've compared them to one another, amazing the variation. The most accurate was a cheap Komelon tape.
 

patlaw

Mike
Corporate Member
This information is helpful. We want to think that the shiny, expensive tool is perfect, but that's obviously not always true. The question is, how do you know when one is accurate?

I spent several hours learning how to "calibrate" my SawStop after which a pusher fell over on the blade while it was running, and the flying projectile took a piece out of my arm. It's growing back fairly nicely.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Hmmm. Not encouraging. My 6 inch engineers square is a Kinex, and it is pretty good, but not as good as I expected, so I ordered one that is one piece as a reference. I think my most accurate is a Japanese combo square and was not expensive. Made in China. Brand has a penguin on it. It matches my old Post triangle the best. It has been promoted to the top of my tray. I have a 6 inch IGaging combo and it is my second best. Provided my triangle is correct, my Wixey is only off by .1, the last digit. Good enough for setting the TS blade.

I would be really upset if a Starrett was off. Before I order that Woodpeckers, I need to verify the return policy. If off, it would go back.

We shall see. Seems like it will take a while before I am happy. I am happy with my new DMT plates. Got an extra course for initial back flattening and it helps a lot. Staying on diamond unit the micro bevel as it keeps the back flat with no rounded edge. Of course, too course until they break in.

Only use my tape for carpentry or really big roughing out. I have 6 through 36 inch steel rules. Guess I should compare them. A lot of tapes are off as the sliding eyelets wear and elongate. I ignore the hook and measure an inch over.

Not so much luck with the smaller tool rest I ordered for the Wolverine. It has a 3/4 ID beam, not a 3/4 OD beam, so it has to go back.

Got a new "wheel" marking gauge and I like it. Single bevel so it does not pull with the grain. Guess my old Stanley will go in the sale box. The Starrett 4-barb gauge I took over to the metal side of my shop. Terrible for wood but great for scribing bluing.

Bottom line is we need two levels of precision. One for marking on wood, but a finer one for setup. I have several tools good enough for the former, but not the later. So all of them I am not using, I'll sell. They do no good sitting in the drawer.

I should get a 12 inch combination square. My cheap Stanley is close, but zinc head so it won't stay that way and the graduations look like they were made with a road striping machine. Bummer on the Starrett. MSC has an SPI with a steel head for $80. Darn, never seem to order just one thing from them.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
"Guess my old Stanley will go in the sale box"
"...So all of them I am not using, I'll sell. "

Hank headed to the picnic for all Scott's "deals"!
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tvrgeek

Scott
User
Got my one-piece steel Kinex square today. It confirmed my previous testing. Drafting triangles are square. My 6 inch iGaung combo is darn good. 123-blocks good. Japanese try square good. All the rest are good enough to use, but not dead on ( no light). I am still going to get a new 12 inch combo, but all the rest I will offer. Keeping the new one in the cabinet as a reference. It came with a foam box. Getting used to the Japanese square as it is so different.

Oh, now I can try and re-tune my Lyon trimmer and shooting board.
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
Honestly! Square is relative and are you working with metal or wood? What are you building you need such minute accuracy? Wood moves all over especially after cutting ......
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Picture frames, cabinet frames, small boxes. As I commented, most of my tools were good enough for woodwork, but not for setup. If you are off by as much as the width of a pencil, it is too far. A couple thou over a foot matters. Saw bade to T-slot, blade to fence, Lyon tweak. When something does not fit, I want to know it was my mistake, not measurement. A thou or two can greatly effect cut quality and tearout on a saw. Error of a 12 inch speed square was enough to mess up a cabinet. I am trying to learn true cabinet making vs carpentry. The general rule is measurement needs to be at least ten times the accuracy of the part being measured. This goes for electronics, metalwork, or woodwork. For a picture frame, a couple minutes in angle is too far. Width of a pencil line is too far.

Yes, I do metal work too, though most of it is crude fab/body work where it is not as critical as woodwork. Welding covers up a lot of mistakes, though I can file to half a scribe line when I need to.
 

patlaw

Mike
Corporate Member
Got my one-piece steel Kinex square today.
Which one did you get, and where did you get it?

The general rule is measurement needs to be at least ten times the accuracy of the part being measured.
A lot of people overlook this rule (or they haven't thought about it.)

Yes, wood moves, but then I see a lot of discussions about people using dial indicators, using digital angle indicators, aligning sled fences with the five-cut method, toeing the table saw fence five thousandths of an inch at the far end, and the like. I've never made a perfect miter, and it's because I'm not doing something precisely enough.
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
Error of a 12 inch speed square was enough to mess up a cabinet. I am trying to learn true cabinet making vs carpentry. The general rule is measurement needs to be at least ten times the accuracy of the part being measured.
Well Im certain I have never used a speed square in my 30 years of cabinet making . A speed square is for rough framing and cross cutting a pencil line with a circular saw at best. Im not sure what your general rule pertains to either.
 

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