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Woodpeckers' 24", Precision Straight Edge
Finally! Perfection AND Price!
Text & Photos by Tom Hintz
A quality, and true, straightedge is invaluable in the woodworking shop. However, the price of straightedges with guaranteed accuracy has been prohibitive for many of us. Woodpeckers, Inc. applied their high-tech manufacturing expertise (made in America to boot) to create an innovative, super accurate tool at a woodworker-friendly price.
A 24"-long straightedge is nothing new. Woodpeckers applied their considerable design prowess to build in woodworker-friendly features that are useful and unique. If you own any Woodpeckers products, this kind of practical design is expected.
Beginning with a ¼"-thick slab of high-quality aluminum, Woodpeckers uses their big-buck CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machining centers to shape the SER24 to exacting dimensions. Woodpeckers is so confident in this machining that they guarantee the SER24 to be straight with an almost non-existent tolerance of +/- 0.001". A certificate included with each SER24 states that promise clearly.
An easy-to-read scale (1/32" resolution) is displayed on a machined, 30-degree angle that brings those numbers down to the surface of the wood being marked. Getting the scale markings close to the surface makes it much easier for you to make accurate marks by virtually eliminating the common errors induced by parallax. The other edge is machined flat for standing the SER24 on edge. Woodpeckers even added a contrasting pattern to the blank edge of the SER24 that makes "reading" the edge easier, even with my 50-something eyes.
In the Shop
A good straightedge is difficult to fully appreciate until it is available for use. Since getting the SER24 in my shop, I find myself reaching for it constantly. Being confident in its accuracy makes it easy to be equally confident in what it is showing me when placed on a surface that should be straight. Everything from checking or setting machine tables to finding the straightest portion of a board for a project is fast and easy with the SER24.
The 2 ½" width seems to be a good balance between mass and usability. The mass helps insure the SER24 stays straight but it is by no means difficult to handle or use. I also found the 24" length to be more than adequate for the vast majority of jobs in my shop.
The angled numerals are very easy to see and use. Being able to set a pencil so close to the marking has made many layout tasks faster and more accurate. The mass of the SER24 also seems to make it easier to hold steady when drawing long lines on pieces of wood than any other straightedge I have used.
A nice touch is the CNC machined MDF plaque/case that comes with the SER24. A pair of pre-drilled holes make it easy to mount the plaque/case on a wall, keeping the SER24 handy and protected.
If you do not have a good straightedge, or have doubts about the one in your shop, check out the SER24 from Woodpeckers, Inc. With a street price of only $44.95 (12-7-2005). The top-quality construction, backed by a bulletproof guarantee mean that unless you do something bad to it, the SER24 will serve your needs accurately for decades and beyond.
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