A Shop Necessity

My first dial calipers. Purchased in 1969

My first dial calipers. Purchased in 1969

The 0 – 6” caliper pictured above is, in my opinion, a tool that belongs in every shop. The one pictured above is the first one I ever owned. It was purchased in 1969 for the princely sum of $35 when I was a toolmakers apprentice earning $90 per week. This type of caliper is still available today. Also available are the modern digital versions and they are also available in a version that reads out in fractions of an inch. To me the fractional versions are a paradox. This measuring tool is capable of accurate measurements to 0.0005”. So why would you want to waste this accuracy reading out in fractions? I wrote an article clearly stating my opinion of fractions in furniture making so I won’t go into it again here, but for those who may be interested the article was posted on 2011/02/24 so you can look it up if you like.

I own several of these useful tools and there is always one on my bench or within easy reach. It is a very versatile tool. It can measure inside, outside, and inside and outside diameters as well as depths, using the depth bar that come out the back of the tool. In my shop it is used to measure tenons, the thickness of stock, the diameter of screws and drills, the actual width of a chisel to be used for a mortise, and many other things.

So if your tool chest doesn’t have one of these indispensable tools I suggest you purchase one soon. It is one of those tools that will make you wonder how you ever got along without it. And you can buy a good quality 0 – 6” caliper today for less than what I paid for the one pictured 44 years ago.

As always thank you for stopping by and please feel free to leave a comment.



Professional furniture maker and restorer. Dealer and collector of vintage and antique woodworking tools.
This entry was posted in Measuring & Layout and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A Shop Necessity

  1. Tom Thomas says:

    I like the idea of a case with lots of nice had work details made out of solid wood. But at the same time, I want to move on to other projects beyond setting up the shop. Planks or Plywood? I need to think on that one some more.

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