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How precise does your woodworking project need to be? Will a two-dollar tool get it square enough? Or does it need to be $145-square? Designed for use with woodworking machines, the A-Line-It measures perpendicularity with a gauge that’s accurate to .001″ — that’s within 1/100th of a degree on a one-foot-wide drill-press table! It also works with table saws, jointers, and planers.

I’ve heard that machinists are fastidious about precision, which I can understand when you’re working with metal. But when your medium is flexing, warping, swelling wood, do you really need precision in the thousandths of an inch? Are there watchmakers out there using walnut? Are pine pistons coming into style?

Millions of Boy Scouts require exact measurements as they build their Pinewood Derby cars each year, and moving parts in wooden toys can bind if things aren’t at least close — but precision to 1/100th of a degree on a one-foot-wide table seems quite an overkill.

Street pricing on the deluxe A-Line-It is $145, but you can get the basic kit for $70.


The picture above, posted on Flickr by adrimcm, is of a dog-powered rotisserie — a tool that obviously requires immense precision.

A-Line-It [In-Line Industries]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]


9 Responses to Precisely Perpendicular

  1. Shopmonger (aka Donny B) says:

    I made a jig that uses the a standard machists dial indicator….. Again I am a cheap ass and I also like to desing and build my own jigs…..

    But this is a gooD idea…. I know that the thousandth degree does not matter in wood working but why not be as accurate as you can….. plus any challenge is a fun challenge

  2. Dave says:

    That’s “perp E ndicular.”

  3. jamesB says:

    I did the same thing as DonnyB. Milled a slot in piece of hardwood that mates with a tight fitting miter slot piece. Now I know my fence is warped and my blade is cupped, but after adjusting the table the blade is parallel to the miter slot. I used a HF dial indicator, but you can use a screw and feeler gauges.

  4. J.R. Bluett says:

    Oops. I wish I could claim an attempt at a pun on the PIN of the .001″ gauge.

  5. fred says:

    While this is all great, and you should try to set up your table saws to insure parallelism between the miter slot , the rip fence and the blade – I’ve seen som really bad work produced on saws that have all this right – but no-one has check for trunion slop and blade runout. We find this to be less of a problem with our big (Shop Fox sliding table saw and Powermatrics) shop saws but those that go out to the jobsite – sometimes get out of whack.

  6. Coach James says:

    I have no doubt the run out on my drill press is more than 0.001 inches.

  7. J.R. Bluett says:

    I did have to double check the A-Line-It site, and maybe you’re talking about something else, but isn’t the “Arbor Flange and Saw Blade Runout” what you want aligned?

  8. fred says:

    RE J.R. Bluett Says:

    Sorry for my mixed mataphors in the earlier comment.
    Blade and arbor runout are one issue.

    But we’ve found some saws that have trunions that do not stay set and produce creeping mis-alignment

  9. Moo says:

    I think you should try your best to get things set up accurately… right now my saws etc are pretty ratty, but if I was getting ready to, say, start a kichen cabinet job or other major project where accuracy is the difference between amateur hour and a pro result… or even frustration vs. everything going together as-planned… then I’d probably be willing to spend $150 to get there. My .02

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