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The General No. 142 6-inch dial caliper does direct reading of .01″ (outer scale) and 1/64″ (inner scale) on its dial (plus mm readings on the bar scale, but — without getting into that whole metric thing — I don’t find this “feature” very convenient). It can do inside, outside, depth, and step measurements. Its fiberglass-reinforced plastic body makes it a good choice for damp/wet environments. You can pick one up for around $24.

There are many alternatives (TM has covered calipers a few times: in and , for example) and some are less expensive (HF or the General 141), but I especially like this model for woodworking.

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6 Responses to General Dial Caliper

  1. Mine is probably 10 years old and has held up just fine. I’d love a really pretty set of calipers, but it’s hard to argue with the price and durability.

  2. fred says:

    We have a Starrett fractional dial caliper in the cabinet shop – which will probably set you back at least 3 times what this General costs. I’m not sure that its that much better to make it worth the difference for what we use it for (i.e. we do not need a machinist – grade instrument).
    In my home shop, I have a caliper made by Sentora that looks a lot like what’s sold at Highland Hardware – which I like a lot for woodworking chores.


  3. Kris says:

    I have and use the HH caliper above, as well as a digital one from Harbor Fright. They are both good for my use, which is a weekend-woodworker etc. The HH caliper has a very soild feel and seems well made. I think the General above would annoy me by having the decimal inches on the outside – as a woodworker I’m really only interested in fractions. The HH caliper is also metal opposed to the General’s plastic.

  4. Cameron Watt says:

    Always a dial caliper. After the 10th hour of a work shift, a vernier scale can make me go cross-eyed.

    Are they solvent resistant? I just melted a plastic vernier caliper measuring for a new gasket on an old bowl type fuel filter.

  5. Cameron Watt says:

    Oops! Always WANTED a dial caliper.

  6. Shopmonger says:

    Some are chemical resistant, however be careful some of even the best of these have plastic lenses on the dial, and they don’t like acetone or other harsh chemicals. I like Starret and Peacock, nut have to admit i have a plastic, not dial caliper that i use for my wood lathe, and they are handy.
    In fact i would like another set most days….

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