A place for me to display some of the varied projects that come out of my shop, as well as to "talk" about some of my experiences working with wood.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Galbert Caliper Review - Spoiler - saves hours!!!

Spindle Turning almost becomes a pleasure .... Almost!

You need to get yourself the "Turner's Tape Measure"

As mentioned in the previous post I have mega number of turnings for these Windsor chairs I am making and while I enjoy turning, the tedium of nearly a hundred turnings for a chair and bench set is not my favorite way to indulge this area of interest. I am so not into production turning that I have to play silly mind games to work my way through the task ... "I will turn two more legs before calling it a day" - get the picture?

The previous set of chairs were done the traditional way using multiple calipers set to several key dimensions and using them to guide the parting tool to the required depth - or at least close to it. The calipers would often vibrate a bit and loosen, modifying their set point and then the swearing begins.

So it was with high hopes that I bought the Galbert Caliper made by Peter Galbert (THE Chairmaker) for exactly this purpose. Lee Valley had recently picked this up so it eliminated the painful gouging (or skewing, if that's your bag) that goes on when we Canucks order stuff from the US. I will not spend a lot of time explaining its use as Peter has done a fine job of this with videos on the link above. If you do any amount of spindle turning, or turning to size for that matter; you must buy one of these. I'm serious, I estimate this saves me 5-8 minutes per spindle for me and that's after lots of practice; if you only turn spindles once in a while, it will save you gobs of time and reduce errors dramatically.

Once the caliper is calibrated (easy) it is very easy to turn to within 1/64" everytime, this aids me tremendously in trying to match my parts so they look close to identical. In a few seconds I can translate my dimensions from the story stick to the blank ready for shaping into beads, coves, curves or whatever. On harder material this is done with the lathe spinning, on softer stuff such as pine, you need to stop the lathe as the guide bar will mark the wood.

Do yourself a favour and make this investment, it will be the one of the best tool buys you will ever make.

Simple to use - just hold it behind the spinning workpiece, stop the parting tool when it hits the depth you are after

Simple design, well made, will definitely improve the quality of your spindle turning.
Peter Galbert calls it the "Turner's Tape measure" - a more appropriate description there is not! 

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