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Thread: Questions on straight edge

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI

    Questions on straight edge

    I need some help/guidance on purchasing a straight edge. I want to use it primarily for setting up my jointer, planer, and table saw. I've looked at a number of offerings and know that I should be buying the most accurate I can afford. What I'm not sure of is the length.

    I think the 24" models might be sufficient for the table saw and planer, but I'm worried about the jointer. It seems to me that the longer the better for this application. I have a 6" Delta with a 48" bed length. In my mind I'm thinking that something like the 50" Veritas aluminum is my best bet - and it's more affordable that the steel 48" Veritas and WAY less expensive than the 48" Pinnacle at Woodcraft ($189 )

    I cast my concerns before the more learned and experienced among you. What say you?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Hi Rennie ,
    Getting ready for the new year?
    About the straight edge, wish I could help you but I never heard of any of those things you mention.
    Fortunately for me, I get my straightedges off the jointer, last one was last week at 16' long.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Rennie, I have the 24" steel one from Woodcraft, it is darn good, and the price was too!

    You are correct, the 24" one is good for most anything, even the Jointer, I used mine to check the set up I have, and it did the job. Of course, a longer one would not hurt, but I don't know how much I'd use it

    Maybe others have something they can relate.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    lutefisk capitol, USA
    i use a 4' starret rule. picked it out of a pawn shop cheap. $25. have you looked at the drywall squares that come in two pieces? the one i have is straight to the starret, the starret checked to a granite table.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Brentwood, TN
    I use a 4' Johnson aluminum ruler. I do this because wood doesn't care about being .001" out of coplaner. All of the true professionals I've spoken with say that the notion of machinist like tolerances in wood are wishful thinking.
    Member; Society of American Period Furniture Makers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    I use 4 and 6 foot levels. When you get them, match edges to each other, then flip one and do it again. No daylight? You got a good one. And a tool that stands on edge by itself and serves other useful purposes as well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central CA
    I have a couple of steel and one aluminum straightedges. My three footer is this one.

    Accurate to .0002 (2 ten thousandths) per foot. Used for checking the flatness of cylinder heads and engine blocks. IMO, not bad for around a hundred bucks.
    Thanks, Mark.

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    Shaz, Chris and Carrol, I applaud you!! I was figuring on being the odd man out here but you totally surprised me!

    OK my 2 cents. Nothing against high quality straight edges. I wouldn't mind having one, but they are a waste of money in woodworking. They are way more accurate than you need to set up a woodworking machine.

    I set mine up with a 4 foot carpenters level. I then run wood across it and see how it looks. If there is a problem then I go back and recheck and adjust. When the wood comes off right. I stop. I am of the Right is not good enough crowd. I don't need perfection. It just wood.

    I know my jointer table is not perfect. I shimmed it till got close. There is slight twist in the table I think. But the wood coming off looks great. So why stress out over it? You can't see anything wrong in my furniture.

    I am not a machinist but I have done enough design work and worked with enough machinists to know that you can't ACCURATELY and REPEATABLY measure to the tolerances most people in the forums claim/think they measure too. And so what if you table is .005" off? Your never going to see it in your woodworking. People just don't grasp how small a dimension that is. When I was designing we typically had tolerances of +/- .010 (.020 total) on none critical measurements. Woodworking is no where near that precise!

    Now, I must say that when it come to setting blade heights in my jointer or planer I am a stickler. I keep the heights at around .002 of each other using a dial indicator. But that is the only place I see the need for such.
    Last edited by Jeff Horton; 12-31-2007 at 04:52 PM.
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  9. #9
    One of the simplest and seemingly most accurate straight edges I have ever used and consistently use is some 2"X 1/4" flat steel bar stock available from most any welding shop. Years ago, I bought 3 pieces, 1 - 100", 1 - 50" and 1 - 26", the one I use the most often is the 50".

    They are simple, heavy duty and are dead on accurate. With a couple of 6" spring clamps, you have a great ripping guide, or can check for cup or bow on a surface too.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    I have the 38 inch Veritas aluminum straight edge and have used it with success on my table saw and my jointer.

    But, the sides of my 48 inch Task level appear to be just as straight so, if I had it to do over again, I would not purchase the Veritas staright edge.
    Cheers, Frank

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