I haven’t had a chance to give this gauge a real workout yet, but after seeing a friend’s version it looked like an absolute must-have for the workshop!
The height gauge is fundamentally a digital caliper which has been rehoused to perform one specific role exceptionally.
It is accurate to 1/20th of a mm, (or 1/1000th of an inch) which is phenomenal accuracy when you compare it to how we normally set blade and router bit height with a steel rule, and eyechrometer!
The base looks a bit chunky at first, but there is a definite purpose there – you want the unit to be free-standing, and yet you want the scale to be flush with the edge, and this is how you get that. In addition, the scale is flush with the back edge of the base, so you can use the height gauge to also accurately set fence to blade (or router bit) distance. In a few days, I will be using this feature to set up my new tablesaw to ensure the top is accurately aligned with the blade (and therefore the saw’s arbor). The base also houses a couple of magnetic strips, which further adds its free-standing stability.
It is not mentioned, but you could also use it to set drill bit depth to the same accuracy – presetting the depth stop before cutting your hole.
My primary purpose for getting the gauge for my workshop is repeatable router bit setup, where accuracy is critical – particularly if using the Incra system for dovetailing. Instead of having to make repeated test cuts and adjustments, I’m going to be getting some test pieces done, then recording the router bit height so next time I know exactly how high the dovetail bit needs to be to get the required degree of tightness in the dovetail joint. Also, as I have just taken possession of a Carb-i-tool Mitre Lock bit, again this normally needs some mucking around with test pieces to get the setup right, and I will be able to record bit height and fence position so I can quickly and easily set up the bit each time I want to use it. One of the problems otherwise is you can be reluctant to use these bits simply because of the setting up time involved. Not anymore!
So once again, hats off to Mr Barry Wixey for a superb product that is definitely recommended!
Available in Australia from Professional Woodworker Supplies. Cost at time of writing is $A112.50
Now if only I could convince Mr Wixey to produce an alignment kit for accurately calibrating tablesaws etc – being able to digitally test mitre slot accuracy, blade runout, blade squareness to table etc all in one unit. There are already models on the market, but not digital, and certainly not combining a number of different Wixey products into one package
Perhaps there should be a Wixey TableSaw kit, which includes an alignment tool, height gauge, angle gauge and digital fence all in the one package!
I’m planning on doing a video/podcast review of all the various Wixey products that are available sometime soon, so keep an eye out for that.