This is 5 Important Measuring Tools You Need as a Woodworker, your guide to the five measuring devices that will be very useful as you get started in woodworking. I’ll also tell you why you need them, and when to use them. Enjoy.
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Measuring Tools for Woodworking
Woodworking would be a lot more difficult if you didn’t have the ability to measure accurately. In fact, the majority of woodworking relies on measuring, and the majority of woodworking problems come from measuring incorrectly.
As a beginner, there are a lot of different offerings that you’re presented with any time you go to the woodworking store. There are however only a few basic measuring tools that you need to get started, and they can take you a long way.
This guide will show you everything that you need to know, and you can safely get started with these five different measuring tools. Over time you may add more, but these will get you a really good start.
See Also: Woodworking Tips Cards – Measure Twice
The Flat Ruler
The first measuring tool for woodworking that you’ll definitely want to get is a flat ruler. I also recommend that you get a few different lengths of ruler, because they can be useful in different situations.
For example, a good set of rulers would be a 36 inch long flat ruler, a 12 or 18 inch long ruler, and then a 6 inch. These are a great set, because you can measure several different things, but also have a ruler that’s comfortable in each situation.
It’s not a lot of fun trying to measure a wooden ring that fits on your finger with a 36 inch long ruler. Also, it’s not a lot of fun to try and measure a panel for a kitchen cabinet with a 6 inch ruler.
Having a small set, which can be found for only a few dollars each, is really good to have around the shop. Not only are they helpful for measuring, but you can also use them to draw straight lines, which is another important part of woodworking.
See Also: How to Calculate Board Feet the Easy Way
Retractable Measuring Tape
For the times when you have to measure something that’s significantly longer, or the times you need to have the convenience of a portable measuring device, the retractable tape measure can’t be beat.
These are available in several different lengths ranging from as little as a few feet up to as much as 30 or more. Most are made out of the same material that unrolls with a slight bend so that way the tape remains rigid for several feet.
I recommend that you get a high-quality tape measure if you’re going to be making a lot of cuts from boards that are longer than a few feet. It’s also nice to have something like this, because you can carry it around on your belt and it doesn’t take up a lot of space.
The Flat Square
A square is an L shaped piece of flat metal that typically measures 2 feet on the long side and 1 foot on the short side. These are not bought for their measuring ability but rather their ability to help you draw a perpendicular line.
Woodworking is largely about making straight cuts, and building things out of parts that are square to one another. This tool provides you a rigid piece of metal that holds a perfect 90° angle. This is super helpful, and you’ll find a lot of reasons to use it in your shop.
This type of square is great for aligning furniture legs to carcasses, as well as joining marks to form longer lines. Having a true 90° can help you arrange items as you glue them, and keep them square the entire time.
See Also: Woodworking Tips Cards – The Square
The combination square is a slightly different take on the square that is from the previous example. This measuring tool allows you to mark 90° lines as well as 45° lines. Reality though, it’s more useful because of the design.
With most combination squares, the stock is wider than the blade. This allows you to make a mark on a piece of wood, and then line the blade up with the mark and the stock riding against the edge of the piece.
This locks the combination square at 90° to the edge of the piece, which allows you to extend the small mark into a straight line. If you’re doing a lot of miter cuts, it’s useful to have the ability to draw a straight line like this.
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Combination squares are available a number of different sizes ranging from around 18 inches down to about 6 inches. Having one larger combination square and one smaller combination square is most convenient, but not completely necessary.
If you have one of the larger L-shaped squares, you can do a 6 inch combination square and be covered pretty well for nearly all instances where you have to draw 90° line. It’s a good starting place for any beginner.
See Also: 19 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Woodworking
I’ve saved my favorite measuring tool for last. The dial caliper is a very fine measuring tool that can help you deal with precise measurements of small objects. One of the biggest advantages is being able to measure screw shafts and threads.
Most dial calipers are graduated down a thousandth of an inch, and some are also fractional. If you’re looking for pure measurement, get one that goes down to the thousands, and then just learn how to convert some of your fractions.
One of the best uses for this tool is measuring for a drill hole. If you have to insert a dowel or pin into a hole, it’s useful to know the exact size. You can take that exact measurement and find a corresponding drill to make a hole.
The dial caliper is also useful for measuring the shaft on a wood screw. If you’re going to pilot a hole for that screw, the best way is to just remove the wood that the shaft would have to pass through. This allows the threads, and only the threads to grip the surrounding wood.
When you use a dial caliper, it grips the shaft right in between the threads, and provides you a measurement in thousandths of an inch. You then compare that to your drills, and find the perfect one to make the perfect pilot hole every single time.
See Also: 50 Awesome Reasons to be a Woodworker
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know about all of these different measuring tools for woodworking, it’s time to get out into the shop and take action. Take a look at what you already have, and then order a couple tools to fill in the gaps.
Once you have all five of these tools in your shop, you’ll be amazed at all of the opportunities that you have to use them. It’ll also make you a better woodwork because your measure more, and measure better.
You will make a lot less mistakes as a result of those measurements, and your projects will be built with a lot more accuracy. This will have a snowball effect, because when you make better projects, he feel better about them, and then you go make more.
If you have any questions about these five important measuring tools for woodworking, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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