Fair Woodworking

September 11, 2013

What are the best calipers for woodworking?

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Favorite tools,Marking and Measuring — fairwoodworking @ 6:11 pm

I’ve seen a number of magazine articles on this topic, and I bought my first calipers years ago based on those articles. I’ve bought a few more since then, and all in the quest for the perfect calipers for woodworking.


My first were these Vernier Calipers from Lee Valley. They came highly recommended for precise accuracy. I mean they have a fine adjustment mechanism and everything.


But it’s super hard to read!

I needed something that didn’t make my brain do back flips.

Like blindman’s calipers.


I think I am going blind….

No wait, the batteries are just dead.

Yet again.

But seriously! The questions was about calipers for woodworking.

Measuring your shavings is not woodworking. It’s hand tool geekery.

These kind of calipers really have no place in woodworking as far as I can see. The wood either fits, or it doesn’t.

Well, unless you are an engineer. All bets are off for you guys. So go ahead and slather your self up with all your numbers and decimal points, or whatever it is you are into. Measuring every shaving, stressing over the non sub thousand shavings your scrub plane keeps making.

You know I’m just kidding about the engineers right?

Ya, I know. It’s funny because it’s true. Ha, ha, ha!

Ok, focus there young laddie!

I’m sad to say that the best woodworking calipers are made in Taiwan.


Wood moves enough that measuring it in increments of thousands is just silly. This little guy will tell you as much as you should ever need to know. Plastic Calipers come in packs of 6. That’s pretty awesome as well, because you can leave them all over your shop. Then they are close at hand for when ever you need to know how thick a screw is, or how deep is that groove. I also really like how you can read it like a regular ruler, and doesn’t need batteries.

Who knows, one day you really will wonder how thick an orange carpenters pencil is…


Now what’s up with that metric stuff?



  1. Eek! 🙂


    Comment by Chris Wong — September 11, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

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