Calipers are handy to have in any shop. You can use them to check a board's thickness, a drill bit's diameter or a dado's width. Unfortunately, most calipers are so difficult to decipher that woodworkers avoid using them like they avoid sanding. Stop the presses—I've found the ultimate caliper. It's digital and reads in regular old fractions, something my brain understands pretty well. To use it, you don't have to convert decimal readings, just read the display. It's wonderfully simple, and at $38, it's competitively priced.
These calipers, available with 4-in. or 6-in. capacity, can be zeroed at any position, which allows you to measure the difference in thickness between two items without doing fractional math. These calipers will read inside or outside dimensions and they have an auto-off feature to prevent the battery from running down. Oh, one more thing: If you like, you can change the display to read in decimals as small as thousandths or in millimeters, allowing you to measure to 1/64 in., .0005 in. or .01 mm.
The Craftsman Gallery, (866) 966-3728,
www.craftsmangallery.com Fractional caliper, 4-in., #30-144, $38; 6 in., #30-145, $38.