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Recommended Measuring Tools (Esp. squares and 45 deg things)

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billw

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OK so I have 4 main things for measuring - a tape measure, 1000mm rule, 600mm rule and a 300mm rule. None of them agree with the others. Since I am quite forgetful I figured it's best to buy a set from the same manufacturer.

That aside, at the moment I have the following: -

Axminster Precision 4-piece combination square set
Veritas metric precision square
Rabone 24" wooden rule
Joseph Marples 6" try square
Joseph Marples dovetail 1:7 square (is it called a square?!)
Kinex 864/2 straight edge 1000mm

I've specifically ignored marking tools in this, I just want to concentrate on getting a correct set of measuring stuff first. Most definitely I need something that I can use as my de facto "this is what I refer all 45 degree angles to" tool.

I like the fact I can get Shinwa in 100/150/300/600/1000mm versions as well as the tape measure so they're my first choice for straight line measurements.
 

MikeK

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My recommendation for tape measures is look for Class I rating, such as the Hultafors product line. For folding rules, I recommend looking for Class II rating, such as the BMI 2-meter aluminum folding rule. I haven't seen a Class I rated folding rule.

The EC Class I rating guarantees an accuracy of 0.2mm for the first meter, plus 0.1mm for each additional meter. For example, a 3-meter Class I tape measure will be accurate to 0.4mm over the 3-meter range.

The EC Class II rating guarantees an accuracy of 0.5mm for the first meter, plus 0.2mm for each additional meter. The 2-meter BMI Class II folding rule is accurate to 0.7mm over the 2-meter range.

If the tape measure or rule is not marked, then it's anyone's guess as to the accuracy.
 

Sandyn

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I use the same tape measure for everything and I have checked all my metal rules, they all agree within 1mm over a meter, so that's enough accuracy for the sort of thing I do. For things longer than 1m. I just use the tape measure.
Measuring tools I find extremely useful are my digital angle finder, digital depth gauge and digital calipers.
I have been looking for a digital ruler, but so far haven't found one. It would be a hook rule with digital readout. I have difficulty resolving 0.5mm marking on a ruler (old age) that would be a very useful tool to have...for me. If anyone can point me in the right direction +/- a degree......
 

smackie

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I really like my Starrett 11MH 300mm combo square for 90 and 45 degree hard measurements. It’s bang on. I often pop the rule out as my reference measurer but not sure if the 600mm would work for you.
 

billw

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I really like my Starrett 11MH 300mm combo square for 90 and 45 degree hard measurements. It’s bang on. I often pop the rule out as my reference measurer but not sure if the 600mm would work for you.
Yeah for the money I would hope Starrett kit was bang on!
 

Cabinetman

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I think the point you should consider is just what an earth are you making that needs to be that accurate? If it’s a piece of standalone furniture it really wouldn’t matter 5 mm either way in any direction, if I was fitting a piece of wood into an alcove I wouldn’t try and measure it to start with, two pieces of thin lat overlapping each other and touching the sides with a pencil mark across and that’s the measurement.
Sometimes everything is measured from the first part that you make, Sorry it’s difficult to explain. Ian
 

smackie

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Yeah for the money I would hope Starrett kit was bang on!
Well you did ask. 😀 Seriously tho, I have a box of assorted combo squares and all of them have various minor issues. Only the two Starretts I have are quibble-free, which is amazing given how damn simple a combo square should be.

I have a Stanley combo with a 44.9 degree edge. I’m not even sure I know how they messed that up...
 

billw

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@Cabinetman the issue is that everything i make will be either small, or made from small components. A mm here or here will add up. I'm never going to be making built-in stuff or huge tables.

I agree with the measure things from the first part, but there has to be some consistency.
 

Cabinetman

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@Cabinetman the issue is that everything i make will be either small, or made from small components. A mm here or here will add up. I'm never going to be making built-in stuff or huge tables.

I agree with the measure things from the first part, but there has to be some consistency.
Hi Bill, I really do think you’re fussing about nothing, 1 mm over 600 – does it really matter? you’re not making parts for satellites, also if you keep using the same ruler it really won’t be a problem. Ian
 

pe2dave

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My recommendation for tape measures is look for Class I rating, such as the Hultafors product line.
I recently bought their 600mm rule and I'm really impressed, so I'd second this.
Only other 'curiosity' is the tape that Peter Millard uses (again same source).

The tape has an 'extension' for internal measurements (and 'normal' I guess) which
seems very useful.
 

HamsterJam

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I made my own 45/90/120degree angle from plywood (It’s sort of rectangular) It can made as big as you want/need to improve accuracy and calibrated using trigonometry. Mine measures 0.1degrees different to my Trend DAR which is good enough for me - assuming the DAR is right of course.
You do need an accurate rule to set it out though.
 

billw

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Hi Bill, I really do think you’re fussing about nothing, 1 mm over 600 – does it really matter? you’re not making parts for satellites, also if you keep using the same ruler it really won’t be a problem. Ian
Yes, true enough. I suppose the easy answer is just to throw two of them in the bin. :LOL:
 

Spectric

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I think the point you should consider is just what an earth are you making that needs to be that accurate? If it’s a piece of standalone furniture it really wouldn’t matter 5 mm either way in any direction,
Hi

I think that you can equate this to the Nyquist theorem for sampling in electronics, here you must sample at least ten times the frequency of the highest frequency component of the signal in order to get a true digital representation. In the case of woodwork to get an accurate result you need to use tools that are much more accurate than what you actually intend to achieve so once all the errors are taken into account you are left with the accuracy you intended, I hope that makes sense.
 

Ollie78

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I have a Veritas steel square, it is my favourite, so far....
It is just flat steel and has nice markings.
The Veritas agrees with my David Barron aluminium one ,the Axminster precision one, and my 150mm engineers square the Shinwa corner square with 45 degree thingy is also spot on.
I have several others that don't agree and are banished to the corner if the workshop.
I would say get one from a trusted manufacturer.
The frustration from working with a square that is even a bit out is infuriating.

I agree to some extent that chasing microns is a bit pointless in woodworking but a MM should still be a MM. And as mentioned compound errors can add up.

Also I recommend a steel bladed version, the aluminium ones are no good with a knife and get a bit battered generally.



Ollie
 

TheUnicorn

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I have a no brand speed square, less than a fiver, I know speed squares are not considered a precision tool, which is a fair assessment, especially for the bottom end of the market. That said, I use it all the time, quick 90s and 45s, accurate enough for most of my needs, cutting guide for circular saw, protractor, scribe guide, and a mass of roofing stuff I will never use. I only wish the measures were in metric (i know you can get them but they cost more and are harder to find). a worthwhile investment for a fiver
 

billw

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I managed to get a Starrett square that has a 45 degree facility for a fiver off Amazon. Made in China obviously. Sort of wondering how "Starrett" it is :unsure:
 

Jameshow

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I use the orange bahco combination square and it's pretty good!
Much better than my skills tbh..
Costs about £10 for a 12" one.
Best of all it's hard to loose!!

Cheers James
 
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