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Woodpeckers Precision Triangles
Being square is a good thing, in woodworking anyway
Text & photos by Tom Hintz
Posted – 1-4-2007
Remember when anything having to do with being square was a bad thing? Then, woodworking happened to us and being square became a goal. Woodpeckers Precision Triangles make attaining “squaredom” in layout and assembly as close to a no-brainer as it gets.
There is just something about CNC (computer numerically controlled) machining that makes a tool look precise. When it comes to Woodpeckers Precision Triangles, that is no illusion. These tools are dead on accurate, rugged and designed to make using them easy. Even the form-fitting MDF storage plaques - also CNC machined – are first rate and protect the integrity of this investment.
Woodpeckers Precision Triangles are machined from solid aircraft quality aluminum plate and then anodized to insure their durability. They look cool also, but that wasn’t the point. Even the numeric scales are created using a high tech computer controlled laser that insures ultra precision. The scales are then filled with high-contrast color to make them easy to read from all positions.
Aside from the high end machining, the fact that the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles have three full sides makes them vastly more stable than even the best framing squares. Woodpeckers also makes full use of that third side (see Scales and Bevels below) to extend usefulness. Beveled holes inboard of each corner can be used to secure the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles to shop-made jigs or fixtures for repetitive tasks that benefit from this level of accuracy.
Scales and Bevels
All three sides of the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles have laser-engraved scales in 1/16” resolution. What makes these scales easier to use is the beveled edge they are engraved on. The bevel brings the scale markings down to the surface, which makes precise marking and layout far easier because parallax is eliminated.
Both 90-degree sides of the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles have scales starting at the corner where they meet. The long side has a centering scale with zero in the middle. This has interesting possibilities, not the least of which is accurately measuring and replicating an existing angle or plotting a new one.
In the Shop
I have used other Woodpeckers measuring and layout tools with the beveled scales so it came as no surprise how well the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles work. Measuring and drawing layout lines is fast, simple and very accurate. Part of those qualities come from the open design that makes holding these tools in place very easy regardless of the position.
Checking a joint or box for square is of course easy but the key is that you know the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles are correct. This level of confidence just isn’t possible with common framing squares because of their propensity to arrive with some level of inaccuracy built in and to develop an even larger error should they be subjected to any form of abuse, including dropping or banging them accidentally. The closed triangular design of the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles means they will remain dead on accurate through anything this side of a catastrophic incident.
The gist of all this is that the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles work exactly as they are supposed to and will continue to do so forever. I like being able to pick up a tool and know it is accurate. There are enough compromises in woodworking without accepting built-in deficiencies in measuring and layout tools. With the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles, compromise is not a factor.
If “close enough” is not part of your woodworking vocabulary (or if you want to rid yourself of that complacency) the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles will help take your woodworking to the next level. While you won’t find them in the bargain bin at your local big box store, their prices (as of 12-29-2006) are surprisingly reasonable for a buy-it-once tool that will remain dead-on accurate forever. The 6” version (#bvltr6) sells for $39.95, the 12” (#bvltr12) $69.95 and the 18” (#bvltr18) model (not shown in this review) costs $129.95.
If you are setting up your shop or just need to step up your layout and construction accuracy, the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles are a must see tool. If accuracy and high-end quality are important to you, the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles may be the only tools on that list.
See the Woodpeckers Precision Triangles on their web site –Click Here.
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