Woodpeckers has come out with a new One Time Tool – 3 sizes of steel straight edges. The straight edges are available in 12″, 24″, and 36″ lengths. They’re 2-1/2″ wide and 7/32″ thick, and have tolerances of 0.0002″ per 12″ of length.
Each straight edge has 3/8″ hanging holes, and the larger models have machined slots for easier gripping.
Straight edges are typically used to gauge flatness or alignment in other tools and machinery.
Pricing: $60 for 12″, $100 for 24″, $150 for 36″, $300 for the set
Order Deadline: April 23rd, 2018
Shipping ETA: July 2018
While aimed at woodworkers, I don’t see why these straight edges couldn’t be used for other applications.
Here are some competing products:
Taylor Toolworks via Amazon
Woodpeckers aluminum straight edge rulers via Amazon
Veritas aluminum straight edges via Lee Valley
Veritas steel straight edges via Lee Valley
Starrett straight edges via Amazon
While prices a little high, the cost seems reasonable. Straight edges are precision milled and ground, and it takes more time, effort, and quality control to get high tolerances.
That said, do you need high tolerance?
I have a Veritas aluminum straight edge that I use on occasion – their 24″ model. It was $27.50 back in 2011 when I bought it, and is currently $31.50. Its tolerance is 0.003″ over the length. Woodpeckers’ tolerance is 0.0002″ per foot, so 0.0004″ over 24″. That nearly order of magnitude difference in tolerance, not to mention the steel construction vs. aluminum, makes the Woodpeckers’ $100 price tag understandable.
A Starrett 24″steel straight edge is currently $93 at Amazon. It’s 11/64″ thick, 1-13/32″ wide, and is also spec’ed to 0.0002″ per foot accuracy.
Personally, I feel that a highly accurate steel straight edge might be good to have, but I’m still happy with my less accurate aluminum one. I might upgrade at some point, but now’s not the time. If I were looking to buy my first straight edge, maybe I’d feel a little more excited about this One Time Tool. Then again, if I were looking to buy my first straight edge, I’d probably find the lower-priced aluminum straight edges more compelling.
I suppose that Lee Valley’s steel straight edges might be a good middle ground. Their 12″ and 24″ steel straight edges are a lot thicker than the Woodpeckers ones – 1/4″ – and the 36″ is a lot thicker, at 3/8″. They’re not as wide, though, at 1-1/2″ compared to Woodpeckers’ 2-1/2″. Veritas’ steel straight edges are ground to higher precision than their aluminum ones, but fall shy of Woodpeckers’ stated specs. They’re prices a lot lower.
Hmm. I actually find myself on the fence now, thinking about picking up either brand’s 12″ straight edge. Veritas’ is $40, Woodpeckers’ is $60. A 12″ length might see more use than my 24″, for things such as checking the flatness of small tool surfaces, water stones, or planes.
Woodpeckers’ preorder window closes in 20 days, and it so happens that Lee Valley just kicked off a 2-week free shipping promo, on $40+ orders. That gives me time to determine whether to buy one or not. Or, I’ll probably just add the Veritas 12″ steel straight edge to my wishlist, for future consideration.