Thickness Caliper

While I have seen thickness calipers advertised in a few guitar-supplies catalogs, their relatively high prices have prohibited me from buying one. So, I built my own, just yesterday! It took me about eight hours to make (I'm kind of slow at these things) and actually came out rather nicely (I'm pleasantly surprised at myself!).

I had seen a few drawings of homemade thickness calipers in various publications (Fine Woodworking magazine, the Guild of American Luthiers Lutherie Tools , and an article on Charles Fox's jigs in the G.A.L magazine, American Lutherie ). The MIMF Forum had a plan for one drawn up by one of its members. So, having luckily found a used dial gauge (it measures in increments of .001") at my local flea market, I set about constructing my own!

For the arms, I used MDF board, and for the base and brackets, maple. I glued and attached the brackets to the arms with wood screws. I drilled two holes into the top bracket --- one to accept a bolt to hold the dial gauge secure at its rear protrusion (I don't know what else to call that bracket with a hole in it on the back of the gauge) and one to accept the bottom pin (it's the thing that moves up and down). In the bottom maple bracket, I have inserted a set screw and a brass cap nut.

To use it, I just rotate the front face of the gauge to set the indicator to zero, raise the pin by lifting it from the top, place the wood I'm measuring on the brass end cap, and lower the pin.

 Back to Tools of the Trade Page