The Veritas layout block looks deceptively simple, but this “pocket sized” gauge packs 5 different measurements into a block less than 1 cubic inch.
The block is an L-shaped aluminum extrusion with built in measurements of 1/8″, 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″, and 1″, making it pretty handy for checking dimensions or setting up machines. Additionally, the longest side has a scale marked in 1/32″ increments.
The block also has a hole drilled into one side for attaching a lanyard or a keychain so you’ll always have it handy.
You can buy one layout block for $7.50, or three blocks for $17.50.
The Veritas Layout Block is made in Canada.
Take a closer look at the layout blocks. They have indented lines on the surface, which divide the gauge into 1/8″ blocks. This makes it easy to figure out which measurement you are looking at. For instance, one of the legs only has one “block” so it is 1/8″ thick. The opposing leg has 2 blocks, so it is 1/4″ thick.
The shortest leg is 4 blocks tall, or 4/8″, more commonly referred 1/2″. The longest leg is 6 blocks or 6/8″ (3/4″). Finally, you can tell by the scale printed that the longest side is 1″.
I’m a big fan of brass setup blocks and 123 blocks, as I find it much easier to gauge height and distance on a router table or table saw with a fixed reference than a rule or scale, which is why this little Veritas block with 5 measurements has me particularly excited. It is definitely going on my list for the next time Lee Valley has a free shipping deal.
One word ‘Metric’.
I find imperial to be easier to guestimate than metric. In a pinch, a guy can use his stride, feet, hands and fingers to come up with a quick measurement. How many times do you find yourself out in the yard thinking of a project and don’t have a tape measure with you? Imperial is also broken down into easy to see figures. There just isn’t a good measurement between a centimeter and a meter, and don’t say decimeter because nobody uses that. And when it comes down to fractions vs decimals, inches are commonly used with decimals too.
200mm, 300mm, 750mm (hand, feet, stride). Yes, you may have to perform 5th grade math. Fractions require 6th grade and involves more mistakes.
I use both. Things like tooling (router bits), common material dimensions and common building dimensions force me back to imperial. And I also don’t have spacial perception of things beyond 1000mm being a native imperial-ist (no pun intended). So woodworking is metric when I can, estimating how many linear feet of weed block I need to get Saturday is imperial.
I agree imperial measurements, are much easier to guesstimate, I live in England, it’s mostly metric in the carpentry trade, but I still prefer feet and inches .
I don’t see much accuracy in that Veritas layout block. All by eye instead of fitting something between or making top contact, so many better ways of setting blade, router bit heights.
1-2-3 blocks though are a must in any wood shop or metal shop. I’d like to add 2-4-6 blocks but they are crazy heavy for casual use.
Veritas setup blocks are best bang for buck and accuracy: http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=45089&cat=1,43513,51657
Also Kreg setup bars are my most used in the shop, so many ways to use them and get accurate repeatable methods: http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=45089&cat=1,43513,51657
It’s small and easy to grab, it’s inexpensive, and it’s likely as durable as all the Veritas tools I’ve used. Sometimes you want to stack a 1/32″ gauge on top of a 3/16″ gauge, because you need things *just right*. Other times, you need a quick 1/8″ incremental reference to get you in the ballpark of a fence or blade height adjustment. It’s a complementary tool, not a replacement for other methods when you need very high precision.
I had a set of Kreg setup bars, but found that I didn’t use them enough, so I sent them to Ben. That’s partly because I also bought a Woodpeckers set for product exposure and potential review and comparison. I like that Woodpeckers set a lot, but it can a hassle to dig it out and bring it where I need it.
I think that the Veritas layout block will work well with setup blocks. They might be great for beginners on a limited budget, and for more established woodworkers or makers, they can work alongside larger setup block kits, even literally, according to Lee Valley.
I read a great comment elsewhere, “if you are measuring then you’re doing it wrong.”
The more tool settings, repeatable cut lengths, etc. that can be done with known items the better the consistency and faster the work. Story sticks which can be scraps of wood with clamped-on intervals is the most basic of excellent repeatability instead of a tape measure or ruler every time. Setup blocks of known values are quick and useful beyond the casual user’s understanding. Reading a ruler gets you started, but using any form of stick or block takes you to the next level. Any type of jig reigns supreme over measuring constantly. Setup blocks are just giant feeler gauges and basic jigs.
Repeatability and consistency is indeed often as or more important than precision in wood working. One of my lead carpenters always carried a shop-made reveal gauge in his pocket. It was a small square of wood (maybe hard maple) that had different depth rabbets cut on each edge (8 in total). He’d pick one that he liked for a trim job and then use it to consistently set each piece of subsequent trim. Some other guys thought this was overkill and would eyeball it or use a tape – but his “reveal gauge” sure was consistent.
Ya, I train the guys to use old school wooden marking tools or “scratcher” to get perfect reveals. There are many out there, we just down size them to fit in our work bags.
The three for $17.50 is about to be mine. One on the router table , one on the table saw, and one in my tool apron.
I like Metric system more than Imperial system, Imperial system is English but even England does not use it officially and very rarely it is still used. almost all countries are using Metric system except the US…
I apologize if this offends any of you…
WOOOHOOO!!! MADE IN CANADA BABY!!!! IT AIN’T JUST MAPLE SYRUP COMING OUT OF THE NORTH!!!!
Sorry… Catharsis… There’s been a LOT of “Made in the USA” posts on ToolGuyd… Kinda makes us Canadians feel left out…
Carry on… I’ve vented… Enjoy your day…
You want to hear about my LV planes too? 🙂
I do feel a little cheated when an LV package shows up at my door and one of the contents doesn’t say made in Canada.
Happily! To balance out the “USA #1!!!” fights that break out here so often these days, I’d be happy to hear ANYTHING about us Canadians, and OUR fine work in the industrial sector! Just for a little balance, y’know? I know our American Brothers and Sisters are having some real tough times keeping jobs in their country, and I don’t blame them one bit for being angry about it. Politically, and in the Media, they’re SWAMPED with negativity all the time. It genuinely makes me wish I was wealthy enough to send some cases of our small-brewery beers down south to see if it cheers any of them up!
But, alas, Lee Valley is the one time we get to speak up for ourselves without overstepping. Specifically? Veritas Tools. You see, Veritas is the company that Lee Valley was started for, and it’s the Veritas tools that are Made in Canada. Much of the… Stuff… Tools, Supplies, Hardware, Etc… that Lee Valley sells is from what I can only call “The Best of Bad Decisions” companies. They’re skipping Malaysian knockoff drill bits, and going for Japanese Precision Machine Drill Bits. Carbide or Ruby or Ceramic… If it doesn’t say Veritas, it wasn’t MADE in Canada. Many of the things they sell were INVENTED here, but often made on an assembly line overseas. And I say that with SOME pride in that… they aren’t all overseas in the bad way. Sometimes they get the German made or Austrian made Blade and Glass products in, and they are a thing of beauty to behold… Despite being relatively inexpensive, the EU imported stuff is still high quality, just not Made in Canada. Unlike what many of the Patriots of the South are fighting for, Lee Valley does show its Canadian Pride by being accepting of FOREIGN contribution to our lives. We make things for Lee Valley, so do the Germans, Japanese, Chinese, French, and Hellz Yeah our Brothers in the USA!
And for the Americans reading this… I mean it with all the affection for you in the world. If you are offended by any of this, I am truly sorry. I did not have any intention of bashing you in any way, and I write all of this with no sarcasm, ill-will, or dislike of the battle you are fighting for American Tools to return to the USA. I am simply very proud of Lee Valley and Veritas amidst all that talk about “Foreign Manufacturing” being “The Worst”… Well… You’re kinda insulting Canada when you hold that view. We’re a “Foreign Country” and we pride ourselves on precision, quality, and innovation. So many of you buy from our country, and then turn around and start chanting “USA #1!” right afterwards. I understand where you’re coming from, but us Canadians aren’t your enemy, no matter what source may be telling you otherwise.
We do love you guys, honestly. It’s just… a bit much when you immediately turn on us “Foreigners” when you really mean “Asian Cheap Labour” or “Global Outsourcing”… Because it’s not “Foreigners” that are the problem. It’s a specific region of the world, known for poor working conditions, and poor living conditions. And I’m honest about the Beer thing… I don’t touch Alcohol myself, and am in no position to finance it… but if I thought it would help you through this rough time, I’d send some Canadian beer down south to soothe your situations.
More importantly, Lee Valley is simply a great company, and I wish others would adopt their mores:
How about an article where tool companies are rated on their pay slopes?
I don’t know if they still do it, but for the longest time Lee Valley resisted the temptation of open on Sundays, holidays and evenings.
Leonard Lee felt that good employees deserved good family lives.