Digital Calipers: Why You Need This Tool in Your Collection

A necessary tool for every DIYer.

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Every Woodworker’s Dream

This 6-in. digital caliper guarantees accuracy when you need to measure and fit joints, check board thicknesses while planing, or set cutting depths. Regular metal calipers with etched-on hash marks are inaccurate and hard to read. And dial calipers are spendy. This one, which has a large, easy-to-read display, is not only incredibly accurate (to 1/1,000th of an inch), but also cheap! Call up either fractions of inches or decimals or metric with the push of a button. The 6-in. caliper costs $30 at rockler.com; the 4-in. model, $25.

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Uses for Digital Calipers

Extremely accurate measurements

A ruler and your eyeball might be fine for some scenarios but not when it comes to making sure your materials are thickness of 5/32-in. Accurate measurements are beyond important in woodworking. I just had to start a project over because one of my finger joints was 1/32-in. too thin. That would have never happened if I took the time to use digital calipers.

Comparative measurements

The relative dimensions of parts can be important throughout DIY. Whether it is as simple as figuring out if a pipe can fit within another before purchasing the material or figuring out how much material you need to remove via planing, digital calipers will come into play in the most random instances.

Measure outside and inside dimensions

You may look at calipers and think you can only use them for exterior dimensions. But all these bells and whistles have been added to digital calipers that give the tool universal uses. Most have inside jaws that are great for finding circumference dimensions. Others have a depth gauge that extends from the end of the track. You may think you won’t have uses for some of these features but, trust us, you will come across a time when the really come in handy.

Next, check out 19 measuring hacks all DIYers should know.

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