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  1. #1
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    Louisville, KY, u.s..
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    Straight Edge Multi-tasker....

    Hey all, I'm in the market for a better than "good enough" straight edge. I saw this at HD, although it is a "level" normally used for general construction, it states that it is accurate to 0.0005 per inch. I'm looking at the "e70.72" So, is it Bullsh*t or a good muti-tasker.

    http://www.empirelevel.com/levels/box_levels/

  2. #2
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    Bradford, Vermont, MerryCanna.
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    RE: Straight Edge Multi-tasker....

    They say the VIALS (the part holding the liquid & the air bubble) are accurate to within 0.0005"... not the straightness of the edges. The only claim I find about the edges is that they're "milled".

    What kind of accuracy are you looking for? For woodworking, nearly any decent alumin(i)um extrusion is good enough - or nearly any long piece of UNMACHINED cold-rolled steel. It can be touched up with a file if it's gotten dinged, but it must NEVER be machined or it'll go all spaghetti.

    If you need actual machine-shop accuracy, as to within a thousandth of an inch or less, Grizzly and Enco both sell fine-ground stress-relieved straightedges. I've got a 12" knife-edge straightedge for metals work.

    For woodwork... I very often use an ordinary 48" alumin(i)um level, cheaper than the Empires, straight out of the local hardware store. If I need something thinner than that, like for saw guides, I've got a couple of pretty flat extrusions I use.

    Heck, a well-jointed piece of straight-grained, quartersawn hardwood (maple's nice) will do a very good job for a very long time. The straight edge can be renewed time & again, too, by jointing it again.

    -- Tim --

    Things are bad...
    Last night my fantasy girlfriend
    Dumped me
    For an imaginary guy...

    :)


  3. #3

    RE: Straight Edge Multi-tasker....

    Uhhhh,

    Yeah there sure are a big bunch of real fancy words in there. 6061 "aircraft" aluminum. Whoooo Hoooooo!!!

    Yep 6061 is great stuff, its common everyday aluminum, 7075 is better.

    Sure it will do you fine - and it sure is pretty.

    Accurate to within .0005 per inch "IMPLIES" that it is accurate to within a half a thousanth per inch for the length of the level. FORGET it - it's not. Accurate as a characteristic is not even a definition. What the heck does that even mean? Flat? Straight? Accurate does not define anything at all. If it was accurate it would cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars or so. It would not be made of aluminum either. So yeah, the ad is a bunch of "BS". So what!

    I would buy it if I needed a "good enough" level. Just don't think it's a special high precision level. Starrett makes those - and trust me, they are extremely accurate and extremely expensive, and NOT aluminum.

    BTW - I have a nice 1/2 thick 72" long homemade plywood straight edge. Works great - cost about nothing, made from scrap wood.


  4. #4
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    RE: Straight Edge Multi-tasker....

    Only an old machine head could possibly think any sort of aluminum was pretty. :)

    If you want a multi tasker straight edge, there are a couple of different products out there that play extra duty as straight edges, panel clamps (light duty) and as machine guides. Since they have their own built in clamps they're much easier to use for guiding handheld tools than the old fashioned straight edge and C-clamps. I'd never trust a level for a straight edge of any accuracy.

  5. #5
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    RE: Straight Edge Multi-tasker....

    I was thinking that was awfull big claim to make for a 50.00 level. But hey it's worth an ask right?

    I'm actually looking for help in the aid of leveling extenion table for the TS, and setting up other shop tables and tools.

  6. #6
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    RE: Straight Edge Multi-tasker....

    For that purpose, plain ol' cold-rolled steel bar works VERY well. It can take a beating, too. It may dent a little, but it files back to flat very easily.

    -- Tim --

    Things are bad...
    Last night my fantasy girlfriend
    Dumped me
    For an imaginary guy...

    :)


  7. #7

    RE: Straight Edge Multi-tasker....

    The factory cut edge of a piece of plywood is actually OK for a job like that.

    The level is $50? Do you really need a 72 inch level? After you get the level will you use it for other things?

    For $50 - you can get 2 sheets of chinese plywood, level your table and build a cabinet for the shop. That is unless you really "need" the level.



  8. #8
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    RE: Straight Edge Multi-tasker....

    Tim,

    where do you find a piece of cold rolled steel?

    Leo,

    Nah, I really don't need a 72 inch level, but I am in the remodel business, so any tool I buy is a write off, so I sometimes justify things that I don't really need, but may find a use for one day.

    I do have several pieces of factory edge pieces of 1/2 MDF about 48 inch long, will this be flat enough?

  9. #9
    Member
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    Dec 1969
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    RE: Straight Edge Multi-tasker....

    While MDF's edges & corners aren't "guaranteed" (which is why they're always 49"x97"), I have yet to see a sheet of it that wasn't as straight as any good plywood. You can easily test it - lay any two pieces side-by-side and look for light between them. Next, replace one of the two with a third piece & look for light. Last, replace the unswapped one with the one you swapped out first - like first check: A & B. Second: A & C. Third: B & C.

    That way you're comparing three against each other, and any error will always show up in that kind of comparison. That's how they make near-infinitely flat surfaces in the machine shop, by lapping three surfaces against each other.

    Cold-rolled steel can be bought in a whole slew of different sizes from a steel supplier - usually found in the Yellow Pages under "Steel". I've got two within a one-hour drive. I like the .5"x1.5" size for things like straightedges. They're heavy, but dang they're good. :)

    Cost ya maybe twenty bucks.

    -- Tim --

    Things are bad...
    Last night my fantasy girlfriend
    Dumped me
    For an imaginary guy...

    :)


  10. #10

    RE: Straight Edge Multi-tasker....

    Yes it is flat enough ***on edge***. The proper term is "straight". Flat is a completely different characteristic. Test the edge like Tim has explained with the MDF.

    Hold the plywood on its edge on the TS surface.



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