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Thread: Is it just me???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    37 5'16.25"N 7625'28.11"W

    Is it just me???

    Is it just me or has there been a plethora of threads in the various WW forums lately with unrealistic expectations from tools? I'm talking about the "my (you name it) is out .0001 of an inch" or "I bought a (you name it) and it's out of true .0001 of an inch". I'm not sure how feeler gages and dial indicators got into the WW field, but a lot of folks need to step back and have a serious reality check

    Folks, we're talking one TEN THOUSANDS of an inch! First off, I sincerely doubt most, if not all of the folks that are making these claims have the proper tools to measure .0001. Tools that can accurately measure to that tolerance are VERY expensive and take practice to use. Next, I sinsearly doubt most of these folks know the proper methods involved in measuring these tolerances. for goodness sake, at .0001 temperature can alter the size due to thermal expansion/contraction. Not to mention most, if not all of these folks have NO idea about machining tolerances which generally run in the +.003 -.003 range. Yes, there are exceptions, but that's a good middle of the road tolerance range for the average machine job.

    Let's put this into prospective, a average piece of printer paper is .003 to .004. I just read a post on another forum from a guy complaining the fence on his jointer was out .00015". Yes, we're talking 15 TEN THOUSANDS of an INCH! We're working wood, folks, it moves, swells and shrinks more than that in a day! If we have to set up WW machines to the sub .0001 levels, then how did the masters ever manage to make anything, much less the exquisite master pieces they did without the benefit of a dial indicator??? Or maybe we've lost sight of the craftsmanship aspect and we're expecting our machines to do it for us?

    Sorry this turned into a rant, but it just blows my little bitty mind.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Between Aledo and Fort Worth, TX
    I hear ya Mike. I often chuckle when I read those. I'm wondering how much they spent on the measuring tools to KNOW that the readings are that close? Or should I say, that far off? Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
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  3. #3
    Oh my, I'll need to check my tools. Now where did the yard stick get to?


  4. #4
    Agreed! People working with those tolerances should be working in metal, not wood.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Southeast Pa
    Actually it isn't that easy to work metal to tenths. I have a set of calibrated gage blocks available this week and my offshore digital calipers were off by a couple of thou at .062 and .1 and came back to about .001 low from .250 up to two inches. My offshore dial calipers were within .001 from 0-2 inches. I didn't bother to check my micrometers as I didn't want to know if they were off as I always consider them the final say so..

    by the way the digitals read down to =/- .ooo5 its just that they didn't read quite correct. But quite acceptable for what I paid and expected.

    Last edited by Garry Foster; 11-24-2007 at 09:41 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Mike, I suspect some of the posts you're seeing are the result of misplaced decimal points. I'll bet the 0.00015 was really 0.015. Still, that's MUCH finer tolerances than necessary, IMHO.

    Just another reason I like working on the lathe. All my turned pieces are accurate to within 0.00001. I don't know the dimensions of the finished piece, and have no exact dimensions to try to match, but if you measure them, they are right on the money.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  7. #7
    I couldn't agree more. This is wood. Get too close while your working it and the moisture from your exhales breath can cause a .0001 increase in size. Set it down on a warm sunny bit of workbench and it can move that much in minutes. There is a section of the community of woodworkers who are really tool collectors and tuners. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a tool collector and tuner but it is a bit annoying when the impression is given that everybody needs to finesse tools to that degree. I am sure that this acts as a discouragement to ordinary woodworkers starting out in real world woodworking.

    The fence on my TS is about a milimetre out against the scale but the scale is a scabby printed thing anyway. Any critical cut gets tested and measured using a cheap pair of digital calipers. I use the digital calipers because I can't afford to waste time and they give me a good enough result quicker and easier than anything else. 99.9% of the time I look at the whole millimetres and make sure that the first decimal place is on the right side of the rounding point (39.6mm=40mm - 40.3mm=40mm). For the woodworking that I do that is good enough - and good enough is not a pergorative term by any means.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Levine View Post
    Agreed! People working with those tolerances should be working in metal, not wood.
    Actually some of us do both. Metal all week and wood on the weekends. I work to tight tolerances just because I can and because it is a matter of habit as a machinist. As Vaughn said many of those decimals are misplaced in those posts though.

    Myself .001 is plenty far enough. Some machines are as far as .003 off (Radial Arm Saw) and some had better be closer than that, the jointer and planer being one of them. Those are multi pass machines in normal operation so with every pass you are multiplying the off-tolerances again and again.

    As a machinist I feel compelled to tell you that the eye can start seeing discrepancies in the .012 to .015 range without a straight edge or anything. If your jointer is .005 off, that means only 3 passes and you will begin to see the difference with out any type of aids. For feel you can start to feel discrepancies in the .0008-.001 range. Just something to keep in mind.

    When I was a machinist at Lie Nielsen we did machine hand planes to .0001 in places and we often had special CNC programs that kept the machine running when were at lunch. That was because with the spindle stopped, it would cool off enough to throw things off. .0001 is very fine
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Waterford, MI
    I sure dont bother trying to measure stuff that fine but I'm pretty sure you can feel it. That's the last little uneven ridge that you knock down with a handplane or ROS. Why bother measuring it if you're just going to kill it?
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    El Paso, TX

    I did see a fairly long thread . . .

    on one site arguing over the geometry and trig for figuring if the TS blade was, in fact, perp to the table. My biggest maxim is " aim for perfect and get half-_____" but I figure throwing my Dad's machinist's square on the thing gets me close enough.


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