Earlier this year I wrote about these rules after conceding defeat in making our own versions under the Crucible brand name. If you haven’t bought your own, what the heck are you waiting for? Are your eyes getting younger?
The black rules with white marking are extremely easy for older eyes to read when it comes to the quarters, eighths and 16ths on one face of the rule. Turn the thing over, however, and it’s a white smeary mess of 32nds and 64ths. Basically unusable for woodworking or machining. So ignore that face of the rule and just use the quarters, eighths and 16ths.
We use three rules in our shop. The typical 4R 6” rule, the flexible 6” rule and the 12” 4R rule. All are useful in a woodworking shop, but if you have to buy one, get the 6” rigid 4R rule. As of today it is $6.90 – a huge bargain.
We asked SPI if they could make us a couple thousand 4R rules without the 32nds and 64ths. They said no. Then we asked to become a retailer, and the wholesale price wasn’t any cheaper than the retail price at MSCDirect (which owns SPI).
So just buy them from MSC and be done with it.
The rules are fairly durable. The only problem I have found with them is that the white paint in the engraved numbers gets a little yellow with use. But you don’t notice it until you compare it to a new rule.
No it’s not a Starrett. But you can read it with old eyes and it’s durable enough for the long haul.
— Christopher Schwarz
Read other entries from The Anarchist’s Gift Guide here.
20 thoughts on “Anarchist Gift Guide Day 3: SPI Black Rules”
Those are great. Depending on where you live, might be best to order them all. For the west coast, the cost for shipping was three times the item price when ordering the 6” rigid 4R rule alone.
Oh yeah I remember putting them in my cart, getting sticker shock from the shipping and handling, then ordering a satin chrome starrett from Craftsman Studio
I got a few 6-inchers and a couple of 12s. Shipping was lower, and now I don’t lose them all.
I’m with Andy – bought several different sizes all at once earlier this year to save on shipping – then had to order replacements after my quilting/needle pointing/sewing/crafting wife appropriated most of my original ones – practically only thing I use now as my almost 70 year-old eyes work harder these days to see the smaller gradations clearly
This is called retribution for using their good scissors! 😀
I never understood why my mom would get so mad at me for using her good fabric scissors to cut paper until I went to college as an Art History major. Some of the numerous studio art classes I took involved working with fabric, like my fibers classes and my Design I, II, and III classes and I ended up buying my own good fabric scissors. And now I get it! I get it, mom. And I’m sorry.
Bought these when Chris first wrote about them. They really are helpful.
A few years ago I bought a couple 12×8
black squares from a leather craft store. They were under $10. Leather crafters and woodworkers use a lot of the same measuring/marking tools.
I wish someone made those (black or not-black) with the 8ths and 16ths on both sides. I don’t need that other stuff.
All the big makers, Starrett, Miller’s Falls, Lufkin, and some others used to make combination squares with 8ths and 16ths on both sides. Or 8ths and 16ths on one side and 16ths and 32nds on the other. They seemed to have stopped in the late 1950s. The catalogs referred to them as Carpenter’s Squares rather than Machinist’s Squares.
Hmmm… something to keep an eye out for.
Honestly, I’m still stuck on my Starrett 604RE-6 with the graduations on the end. It showed up by way of another Schwarzian/ anarchist recommendation, I think, and the graduations on the end were so much more useful than I’d ever have guessed, particularly for setting router bits, but generally for so many things, it’s just stupid.
In point of fact, when Infound a 3” scale with similar end graduations, I bought that, too, and (again) got more use out of the damn thing than I am comfortable admitting.
If this company starts addding end graduations, I’ll be tempted. In the meantime…
I just ordered a couple, they look great. Last time I took a class at CT Valley Bob Van Dyke pulled down and rhapsodized about a 48″ ruler during a table saw setup– from Skowhegan Wooden Rule– also easy on my older eyes, also inexpensive. I got a 48″ rule, but they have them in 36, 60, and 72 inches as well– all eighths on one side, flip it over for the chicken scratch 16ths, if you need that.
You can also get them from PEC Tools.
I bought four different ones after your earlier review. Great rules. Use them constantly!
I’ve found the 3/4″ X 6″ Starrett and the 12″ Shinwa cabinetmakers rule, both sold by Lee Valley to be the easiest rules to read. Numbers and marks just seem to pop on the satin chrome. Price is not a prime consideration, the first measuring mistake will cost more than the most expensive rule made.
Would these be ok? fine graduations for first inch only.
Is this one too weird? $$$
I still love Woodworking Magazine and think it was the best magazine to ever come out to date.
One thing I loved and took full advantage of was Chris’s tool recommendations.
The one I use almost every single time I’m in the shop is the small 6″ rule that apparently came from some hardware store up in Oregon or Washington. They took my payment over the phone, but had a hard time believing some guy from Missouri was calling their shop to order a 6″ rule.
My 6 inch rule arrive and it is very nice. 12 inch on backorder tell February. Thanks Chris :)…. Shipping was a bit of a shocker for what they sent but they did send the little 6 inch rule in a box so it didn’t get bent so it is what it is….
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