Craftsman Caliper, Dial, 0 - 6" Range with Machinists Tool Kit (38776) Reviews

Craftsman Caliper, Dial, 0 - 6" Range with Machinists Tool Kit (38776)

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Craftsman Caliper....not just for tool & die guys

May 13, 2003 (Updated May 14, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:case, accurate, good range for woodworkers


The Bottom Line: Excellent precision tool for this price range with a lifetime warranty.

When I began designing and making furniture and built-ins, there were tools I needed which (surprisingly) had nothing to do with amps, volts, or power. In fact, they were tools of the trade which often required more practice, more of a learning curve, than any power tool I may own. One such tool of the trade, a caliper.

Caliper (noun): an instrument consisting of a pair of movable, curved legs fastened together at one end, used to measure the thickness or diameter of something.

My children call it a "circle maker" - similar to a drawing compass.

Many adults think of such things in terms of tool and die or machinist work (note the name of the product includes the line "Machinists Tool Kit"). Don't let the name fool you - it's a great tool of the trade when exact and precise are a necessary evil.

This Caliper - a Craftsman
Courtesy of Craftsman, this particular set comes handsomely housed in a wooden, latched box - a nice thing to look for regardless of brand simply to maintain the integrity of your measurements. That said, for a far greater price, calipers can be found in boxes that seem more valuable than the instrument itself. This is not the case with the Craftsman version, though I certainly appreciate the storage that comes with the tool rather than configuring something on my own.

Caliper Range: 0-6 inches
Adjustments: made with a dial
Readings: imprinted (as opposed to electronic/digital)
Intricacies of measurement: 1/16, 1/32, 1/64

Use – Carpentry
Because my trade involves woodwork I can speak to the use of this instrument in woodworking pursuits. I have owned a caliper for a few years now, admittedly utilizing it sparingly during work in custom homes with lots of custom built-ins. The caliper would come out to make sure legs were as precisely equal as possible – 1/16 off and many interior designers will have a carpenter’s head on a silver platter. That said, rarely will I sweat a 1/64th difference in measurement – that fine of a difference is more of a machinist’s concern than a woodworker’s.

Upon purchase of a lathe, I found the caliper coming out more regularly to determine equal diameters on turned projects.

The Craftsman has maintained its integrity of measurements thus far. Again, after use that could be described somewhere between minimal and average. I certainly do not utilize this instrument on a daily basis – in fact there are some months where it may not come out at all.

Smart Buy?
For your money you will receive a caliper, wooden storage box, and micrometer (something I failed to mention and thank my fellow tool cohort for mentioning). The micrometer is used in a similar fashion to a caliper but is made for more fine measurements, used not only to measure small distance but angles as well. I admit to rarely using this particular portion of the kit, yet it's another worthwhile tool for very intricate work with a range of 0-1 inches.

Overall, the idea of purchasing a caliper for a woodworker is a nice idea. Granted, know your woodworker first and make sure that he engages in a craft that requires intricate precision.

This particular set (unit, carbide head, wood box) is a fairly good deal. Because it has maintained its accuracy and looks as good as it did the day it was purchased (thanks to the storage box), the price is a good buy in my book. Other calipers are available with extra additions and heads for readings. Digital versions are on the market, and cheaper versions are also available. For instruments of measure, however, I don’t always trust ‘cheaper’, though I don’t believe excessively expensive is any better than something in the $100 range. This instrument and box has fit the bill for this carpenter.

This is Craftsman. That means ‘satisfaction guaranteed or your money back’. Another nice feature.

Recommend this product? Yes

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