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Tool: Caliber M1 Buy now
Advised price: $ 150
Most of the tools we look at are ones that carpenters are directly familiar with (table saw) or an innovation over an otherwise common idea (the Festool Domino is a hybrid between a dowel jig and a biscuit joiner) . However, the M1 caliber doesn’t fit any specific archetype – it’s a digital measuring tool, for your miter saw, that measures the length of the plank on the right side of the blade. And while it may sound complex, in practice it is quite simple. Just slide the board edge up to the saw blade, reset the M1 gauge, then slide the piece to the desired length and cut. Still confused? This manufacturer video should help:
I found it took a little bit of confidence to trust this new gadget when cutting back for a project, especially with the current timber price, but I was consistently impressed. Reekon cites an accuracy of +/- 0.02 “, which is more than enough for the type of woodworking I tend to do (Tim Celeski types may want to look elsewhere). I also had some initial concerns about the usefulness of the M1 when I have a fully functional tape measure. However, I never realized how much time it adds to measure, mark, align to the blade and then do a final double check for every single cut of the board. a tool to measure the cut and place it correctly on the saw also eliminated the opportunities for errors when transferring measurements or reading the wrong line on the tape measure.
The disadvantages are few; it takes a while to get exactly connected to your saw, and it’s not the most intuitive process, especially without the help of the manual. It also came in an overly stylish, non-recyclable case that seems superfluous for something that will spend most of its time attached to the miter saw fence. There is a hidden compliment in that criticism though: if I hadn’t thought it worked well, I would have put it back in the box instead of giving it a permanent space in my shop. And at the end of the day, this is the highest praise I can give.
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