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Most table saw fences don’t come with a digital readout accurate to 0.001″. You can buy products that add this feature, but they can be expensive and they’ll only work on the tool on which you mount it. With Mag-Dro’s magnetic caliper base, you can take a 6″ caliper, a tool you probably already have in your shop, and turn it into a positioning tool.

According to Mag-Dro, the base works on almost any unpainted steel work surface, although I’m not sure why they say it has to be unpainted — if the magnet is strong enough a little paint shouldn’t bother it. It looks like you can quickly mount and unmount your caliper in the base by turning a friction knob.

Mag-Dro provides a tips and tricks PDF on their website that shows you how to use the caliper base and caliper to do things like align a table saw blade and fence, measure run-out, cut boards to an exact width, adjust a planer, and more. You can pick up Mag-Dro’s magnetic caliper base for $10 before shipping.

Magnetic Caliper Base [Mag-Dro]
Magnetic caliper Base [Rockler]
Magnetic Caliper Base [Hartville Tool]

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11 Responses to Turn A Caliper Into A Position Readout

  1. Jason says:

    Great idea. Too bad my table saw top is aluminum.

  2. jonnyp says:

    I doubt any table saw cuts within .01 , let alone .001. Take the 10 bucks and buy a collapsible scale. We are talking wood not Inconel or Rene

  3. Dave G. says:

    A well tuned table saw can make some incredibly accurate cuts. I used to think of it as a rough cut tool until I started working in my Father-in-law’s shop. We have trimmed material for fits so fine you could not visibly perceive material being removed, but it made the difference between not fitting, and a snug fit. I think hundredths of an inch were definitely in order.

  4. Rick says:


    You would be incorrect. Plenty of folks have tuned their tablesaws to within 0.001in accuracy. It isn’t uncommon. Cabinet and many Contractor or Hybrid saws are more than solid enough to maintain that kind of accuracy.

    However, one can still question the actual value of such accuracy.

  5. Gary says:

    Accuracy is critical, but .001 on for a cut? You could sweat on the board cause it to swell .001″.

  6. David E. says:

    I agree that a TS is probably not able to hold a tolerance to .001″. I also get aggravated at the guys who say their plane can take a shaving of .001″. I was a machinist before and know what it takes to hold a tolerance of .001″ and these tools don’t have it. I personally have taken very fine shaving with a scraper and those shavings were still no where near being .001″. I challenge anyone to please prove me wrong. I would love to see a plane take .001″ shaving or a TS for that matter (and simply making two cuts doesn’t count, lol)

    Oh and this tool is neat, but sucks for those of us with granite tops, 🙂

  7. ambush says:

    Not to mention just because a caliper has a resolution of .001″ that doesn’t mean it has an accuracy of .001″.

  8. dreamcatcher says:

    When I worked as a cabinetmaker, we used to measure to the 1/64″ (AKA the “small thirty second”), that’s 0.0156″ and probably as accurate as you are going to get with a tablesaw cutting wood. In order to measure and cut accurately to 1/64″ the saw must be accurate to within 1/128″ or 0.0078″. Yes wood can shrink and swell with the weather but so does every other material in the world. It doesn’t mean you work sloppy. You should always work as accurate as you feasibly can. When I assemble a cabinet or trim a house, everything looks as if it’s grown together. I assembled a “full scribe” log cabin once that was constructed with the tolerance of a cigarette rolling paper… and that was made using hand held chainsaws!

    I think this product looks great and I intend to have one. Unfortunately for the inventor, it also looks easy to make. Note that it comes with a magnetic base for iron top saws and a miter slot base for alum/granite. I think I will make both.

    BTW: Digital Fractional Calipers are the BEST!!!!!!!
    Here’s mine, can’t go wrong for $17 (http://www.reidsupply.com/Detail.aspx?itm=YPI-10)


  9. Wheels17 says:

    I’m right on board with Dreamcatcher!! A HF caliper on each end of a miter slot bar… That will cut a lot of time out of messing with my crummy contractor’s saw fence. The HF ones will be accurate to the 1/64″ he’s talking about 😉

  10. Gary says:

    @ David E

    I wonder if the folks measuring their shavings are just cranking down on the calipers. Wood is going to compress.

    I can read through my smooth plane shavings, but it is a bit silly.

    What matters is the surface left behind, not what you remove.

  11. aaron says:

    what also matters is how *much* you can take off and still leave a smooth surface.

    That said, i do like being able to shave off ~0.001″ to leave a smooth surface, because it means that I don’t have to consider that last planing into thickness calculations.

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