Toolsday: Calipers

Stop using a ruler to measure the thickness of objects or the depth of a hole, you lazy bum. Buy some calipers!


Ever try to measure the thickness of an irregular 3D object using a ruler? It can be pretty difficult. With a decent pair of calipers, though, it's a piece of cake.

Ever try to check a board to make sure it's the same thickness all the way across? That's pretty tedious with a ruler, but you can set a pair of calipers to a specific thickness and slide it along the edge fairly quickly.

Ever try to measure the depth of a 5/8" diameter hole you just drilled using a ruler that's an inch or more wide? It's impossible, but these calipers have a depth gauge pin at the back end that will measure that depth in a jiffy.

Ever need to measure one thing and see if it will fit in another thing? Use one side of the calipers to measure the outside of objects, and the other side to measure the inside of gaps. Handy dandy.

Unless you need great accuracy, you don't need dial calipers (the kind with the big display dial) or digital calipers (the kind with a digital readout). These simple calipers are all most people need.

Never push or pull on the jaws; always use the thumb wheel to adjust the gap.

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2010.08.17 at 9:30pm EDT