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Thread: Working Towards 1/64s Accuracy

  1. #1
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    Working Towards 1/64s Accuracy

    [NOTE: This thread is a duplicate to one posted on SCM. I'd like to get the input from members of this forum as well. Thanks!]

    At age (nearly) 60, I look back over my lifetime and see myself as having been (and now being) two woodworkers. Thirty years ago, I accepted cutting tolerances of a 1/16 or even an 1/8 of an inch, with almost no true understanding of wood movement. Among my projects then were building two kitchens and a few standalone pieces of furniture. Today, with having had a thirty year absence from woodworking, and with an entirely new cast of tools and machinery, I have set as a goal to work towards an accuracy of 1/64 of an inch. While wood's movement itself is often greater than that tolerance, I figured I would at least shoot for that kind of accuracy even if I end up with something less fine.

    Two inexpensive tools that are helping me achieve that goal are calipers (at $26.00, it gives me metric, imperial decimal, and most useful . . . fractional readings) and Lee Valley's Wood Movement Reference Guide, a wheel that helps one determine a specie's wood movement under changing temperature and humidity environments (available for $6.50 at LV).

    The caliper has found a place in my apron pockets along side of the 4" starrett square. The Wood Movement Guide Wheel reminds me of the need to pay particular attention when picking through the wood pile at my local hardwoods dealer to select grain patterns most likely to expand and contract in a manner suitable to the intended design. The wood design guide wheel includes a 9-page instructional pamphlet that told me more about the nature of wood movement than any other resource.

    Hey, I may never achieve my goal of 64ths, but you gotta have a target in mind, right?
    Jeff Wright
    Treasure Island FL

  2. #2
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    Those are real good thoughts Jeff. I do not have the fractional calipers but would sure save me from looking at my chart ever time that I use them. Thanks for the wood design guide wheel information. I will get one of those for sure.

    Are you going the the Tampa Woodworking Show Saturday? I do not know if you noticed the thread or not but several of us are meeting outside the front door at 1:00 to go to lunch, at least I think that is the plan. Would love to have you come along!

    Allen
    Last edited by Allen Bookout; 03-20-2007 at 01:02 AM.

  3. #3
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    The trick is to decide when you need accuracy and when you don't. For example, 1/64th difference in the width of two stretchers on a table wouldn't matter a bit, no one would ever notice. On the other hand 1/64th gap in your table top glue up would be very noticeable. Another example would be rail and stiles on a door need to be exactly the same thickness, 1/64th would stick out like a sore thumb, the average person can feel a .001 difference. On the other hand if the the overall length of two doors was off by say 1/16" and no one would notice.

    I fight the accuracy battle with myself often, it's the machinist training in me that thinks everything needs to be within .001. I constantly have to remind myself whats important and what's just being anal on my part. Being anal for the sake of being anal can cost you a LOT of time and no one will ever know, DAMHIK.

    Good practices go a long way to maintaining ones sanity. Mill all your lumber at the same time. It's much easier to thickness everything identical at one time than try and go back and mill another piece to match an existing piece. Cut all your identical parts at the same time. Make all your rip cuts at once then use stop blocks to duplicate lengths. Some other useful tips; use only ONE ruler. Rulers, especially cheap ones, are notoriously inaccurate. Use story sticks, fit is much more important than having that one piece exactly 12" (or whatever). Get a marking knife and learn how to use it.

    Mike

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Bookout View Post
    . . . Are you going the the Tampa Woodworking Show Saturday? I do not know if you noticed the thread or not but several of us are meeting outside the front door at 1:00 to go to lunch, at least I think that is the plan. Would love to have you come along! Allen
    Allen, thanks for including me. But I will be attending on Friday. I have family visiting from up north for the week, and that one day is the only day that will work. Keep me on the list for the next time!
    Jeff Wright
    Treasure Island FL

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by M Toupin View Post
    . . . Use story sticks, fit is much more important than having that one piece exactly 12" (or whatever). Mike
    Just received a couple sets of Bar Gauge Heads that will accomplish similar benefits of a story stick. See:

    http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.a...,43553&p=32585

    I will be renovating my kitchen later this year and plan to make a lot use of story sticks then.
    Jeff Wright
    Treasure Island FL

  6. #6
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    jeff, one of the layout tools i find indispencable is a good set of trammell points, i`ve found the starrett #59-f to be a very complete set for my needs..tod
    Attachment 6188
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

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