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If you work with metal frequently, you can probably tell what gauge material you’re working with just by sight and feel — for the rest of us, Starrett makes a precision US Standard Gauge for measuring the thickness of uncoated sheet, plate iron, and steel.

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All2ools.com is selling the Starrett 815 Toolmakers Hammer for only $51.51.  Ok, you may not need this tool around the shop too often, unless you do a lot of precision layout work.  But come on, it’s a hammer with a magnifying lens — how could you not want it?  And if you find yourself picking up a lens (to align your punch with layout lines, say) and then blindly groping around your bench for your hammer, this is the tool for you.

Starret 815 Toolmakers Hammer [all2ools.com]
Street Pricing [Google Products]


All2ools.com is selling the Starrett 298 key seat clamp set for the lowest price we’ve found, $34.34. This pair of small clamps attaches to your steel rule so you can scribe an accurate parallel line along a round workpiece, for cutting keyways and other layout tasks. Now the price is typical of Starrett, and you can often find used sets much cheaper on eBay, etc. But we’ve yet to find a better tool for the job.

Starrett 298 Key Seat Clamp [All2ools.com]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?] [What’s This?]

Taper Gage

When you need to measure the diameter of a hole or the width of a slot, reach for a taper gauge. Named for their tapered shape, taper gauges measure hole and slot sizes quickly and accurately. With the Starrett No. 267 taper gauge, you can measure hole and slot sizes from 1/16″ to 1-1/16″, to the nearest 1/64″.

Made from spring-tempered steel and measuring 1″ wide by 5-1/4″ long, the gauge features four different leafs for measuring progressively larger dimensions. Look to pay between $90 and $110.

Taper Gauge
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon(B0006J4DSK) [What’s This?] [What’s This?]

Toolmakers' Hammer with Magnifying Lens

Starrett combines two tools that you’d think were incompatible: a hammer and a magnifying glass. They say they integrate a magnifying lens into their No. 815 toolmakers’ hammer so you don’t have to look away from your work to find either tool.

Starrett hardens both the flat and ball-peen heads, and they chromium-plate the entire hammer for protection and an attractive finish.  A rubber mounting protects the lens from the impact of hammering.  The steel hammer weighs 133 grams, and Starrett will personalize it with a message, if you’re giving it as a gift.

Street pricing starts around $50.

Toolmakers’ Hammer [Starrett]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

Starrett Oops Arbor

Enlarging a hole can present a tricky problem, whether it’s an existing hole that needs enlarging, or somebody made an “oops” and used the wrong size hole saw. How do you center the hole saw at the same location and keep it from wandering? This question drove the engineers at Starrett to develop the Oops Arbor.

As long as the new hole is 3/16″ larger than the old hole, you can use the Oops Arbor to pilot the larger hole saw with a second hole saw the size of the original hole. The Oops Arbor’s 1/4″ shank replaces the normal pilot bit for most hole saw mandrels and accepts both 1/2″ and 5/8″ threaded cutters.

You can get the Oops Arbor for as little as $6.  What’s it worth to be the hero next time somebody makes an Oops?

Oops Arbor [Starret]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


It looks like L.S. Starrett, manufacturer of all sorts of cool measuring equipment, will be featured on John Ratzenberger’s Made in America — a favorite of TM’s TV Tonight contributor Nick Carter.  The press release says that Ratzenberger and crew spend a day with the workers at Starrett.  The episode airs January 9th.

Recent Starrett:


I’d bet we’ve seen at least a dozen variations on the ages-old standard utility knife design this year alone.  Safety seems to be a top concern in the delivery systems of today, which isn’t surprising considering how easy it is to cut the living crap out of yourself with these things.  (Just ask Chuck.  He recently, um, stylized a pair of jeans while cutting open some clamshell packaging with one.)  So, we’re seeing more and more auto-retracting blades like the Hidden Edge by Starrett (above). 

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What a great idea: blades that fit both standard and Bosch-type jig saws.  Why didn’t someone think of this sooner?  (Why didn’t we find one sooner?)

Starrett managed to concoct a blade end that has the shape, “bumps,” and hole to fit in both of the most common types of jig saws.  This is wonderful if you happen to have more than one jig saw in the shop — like we do — and they each require different blades.

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post-rockler1.jpgThe guys over at Rockler’s woodworking blog are recommending a couple of tools that’ll help you increase the speed and accuracy of your trim work: the Starrett ProSite Protractor and the Infiniter RS-1 Laser Cutting Guide.

From Rockler’s blog:

If only Don had a Starrett ProSite Protractor, he’d know that the corner he’s trying to miter is a hair under 89 degrees, not  “about 90.”  And if he had an Infiniter RS-1 Laser Cutting Guide, he’d have put the cut he was shooting for in exactly the right spot on the first try, and he’d be three or four pieces down the line.  “Nice job, Don,” his boss would have said. 

The protractor is pretty simple and straightforward; You physically place it in the angle, and you get two readings: one showing the measured angle and another that’s the correct angle at which you’ll need to set your miter saw to make the cut.  The laser is an attachment for your miter saw that converts it to a modern, laser-guided cutting tool.

We’d be interested to see how the Infiniter RS-1 compares to Irwin’s laser miter saw attachment.  The RS-1 is cheaper — Rockler sells it for $20 as opposed to a street price of around $40 for the Irwin.  We couldn’t find you a link to Infiniter’s product page as we couldn’t find Infiniter online.  We did find a site selling laser pointers under that name, so maybe they manufacture this on the side.  Anyway, when we get a chance, we’ll check it out and let you know.

Two Tools for Faster, More Accurate Trim Work [Rockler]
7″ ProSite Miter Saw Protractor [Starrett]