Entry/Mid-Level Measuring / Marking Tool Recommendations

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Forum topic by TTH posted 05-31-2020 04:51 PM 400 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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32 posts in 767 days

05-31-2020 04:51 PM

Good Morning!

I’m still in the process of kitting out my workshop, so I’ve got many things to buy without the funds for all of it. As such, I don’t have the funds to splurge on Starrett / Woodpeckers gear quite yet.

Does anyone have recommendations for reasonably accurate try squares, digitial calipers, and a marking gauge that won’t break the bank?


-- Travis, DFW

6 replies so far

View Madmark2's profile


3444 posts in 2050 days

#1 posted 05-31-2020 04:55 PM

Incra rules and Grizzly for Wixey DROs

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View ddockstader's profile


226 posts in 4724 days

#2 posted 05-31-2020 05:33 PM

eBay has several listings for Products Engineering Corporation (PEC Tools) for “blem cosmetic second” measuring tools. PEC is the OEM for several tool companies and the PEC logo is ground off. But the reason they are cheap is because they have scratches or tool marks and don’t meet quality standards. But they still are accurate and guaranteed usable. So just search for “blem cosmetic second” on eBay.

View OldBull's profile


570 posts in 758 days

#3 posted 05-31-2020 06:15 PM

I have measured / tested using the method of putting the square up against a flat surface and drawing a line. I bought a set of squares from Grizzly that were square ( $25 ). Even found an old craftsman square in my familys garage and it was good. Some squares can be pinged back into alignment using a punch. Even my empire square from home depot that was sticking out of the box on arrival was square. Look up “how to true a square.” I filed the backside of a rafters square and now it is true. When you get a good engineers square, keep it locked up and use it as a reference to test your working squares. If you are squaring your saw even an innaccurate combination square will work as you are riding the square in the mitre slot and just letting it barely touch the carbide teeth on the blade.

View AMZ's profile


402 posts in 852 days

#4 posted 05-31-2020 06:23 PM

I’ve found far more woodworkers that were out than squares!

The few I have that were out were made true and only one (in 50 years of woodworking) had to be tossed. It is rewarding, when starting out, to build a few wooden try squares, of multiple lengths, and they’re the easiest to keep true.

View therealSteveN's profile


10011 posts in 2036 days

#5 posted 05-31-2020 07:55 PM

My personal favorite place to shop for layout tools is Harry J Epstein. If Harry don’t have it, you don’t need it. He is the number one dealer for PEC tools seconds, and they are just as good as Sterrett for accuracy, might just have a paint bleb, or something that didn’t pass getting sold for 5 times as much.

I also look a Taytools

Plus searching the tool by name will often get you a one of kinda guy, who may have just bought all the blem 6” Machinist squares or something, and has a super price.

For all the digi stuff, and close angle measuring I really like the IGaging line of tools, and I usually deal with Lewis Stepp from Router Boss. He gets a lot of items from them where he is the only seller, and some like the set up block set gives you many more sizes than most, and for less $$$$$ Plus Lew is a Gents Gent, and he’s local to me, so I want to keep him around.

That 15 piece set up block set is a winner. I simply DO NOT use a tape measure anymore on setting saw blade height, width of cut, ot anything, same with router set ups. Using a tape measure everyone has transpostion errors where your eye sees 3/8” but your mind says 5/8” or something, I’m not sure what happens, just that it does.

With the blocks make a pile that will be your distance, width, thickness, whatever. They nest absolutely flat, recheck your stack to make sure it’s what you want, and set your cutter to the distance they make to the fence. Done. Make your cuts with confidence, accuracy, and on the first try. The 1, 2, 3, block is almost worth the price. 1” tall x 2” wide x 3” long. Usually it and one of the smaller and you are done. 59 bux, and you are getting closer cuts than ever using a tape measure. Story sticks have their place, but you still need to look at 2 points at once to set tools by them. With the blocks you simply fill the distance to the cutter, off the fence. Easy peasy, and so much more accurate. Always repeatable, Winner winner.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Redoak49's profile


5589 posts in 3451 days

#6 posted 05-31-2020 08:27 PM

I just bought two iGaging.double squares and they are good. I checked them with my squares.

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