Chris Schwarz's Blog

The Galbert Caliper and my Pigheadedness

I don’t care for gizmos, jigs and silly accessories. So even though I spend a fair amount of time on the lathe, I resisted purchasing the Galbert Caliper for many years.

In its place, I used go/no-go gauges, box wrenches and traditional turning calipers (which are the worst). But while at Handworks this year, I broke down and gave Peter $60 for a Galbert Caliper. Today I put it to use turning some tenons that have to be bang-on for a stool.

After five minutes of using the tool, I realized that I was a pigheaded fool for waiting so long to buy this caliper.

What does the Galbert Caliper do? It shows you the exact diameter of your turning with no need to stop the lathe. You hold the caliper against the spinning work and use a parting tool to cut the tenon. When the caliper says you have reached your target diameter, you stop cutting.

The Galbert Caliper slashed the time it took to turn the tenons for the stool by more than half. A lot more. And as I sell these stools and chairs, the caliper is going to pay for itself after just a few projects.

After leaving the staff of Popular Woodworking (and starting my own tool company) I’ve set aside reviewing tools. But I had to write this one. If you do a lot of turning or if it puts food on the table, the Galbert Caliper is a fine investment.

You can purchase it directly from Peter here.

— Christopher Schwarz

 

8 thoughts on “The Galbert Caliper and my Pigheadedness

  1. Danny H.

    I’ve had a lathe ( won in a contest) for about 5 years now but haven’t used it for anything except polishing so far . Thanks for sharing with us this time saving jig . If I ever get around to actually turning any legs or tenons I’ll be sure to pick one of these up!

  2. Michael Kratky

    Chris, same here, have seen the Galbert Caliper for some time but never could justify yet another turning gizmo but you opened my eyes and will have to pick up one from Peter at the Lie Nielsen open house coming up shortly, see you there and looking forward to your presentation at the Lobster Bake.

  3. elithian

    Yes, I don’t know how the old masters managed to turn so many spot on projects without it!

  4. Jesse

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    I make a lot of chairs and stools with spindles that have turned tenons and the Galbert calipers are an incredible time saver. They are more accurate than any other method of measuring I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a lot of different methods.

    I’m glad you’re mentioning these (and wish you had done so earlier for my sake). I just happened to accidentally stumble upon these about 6 months ago. I think I read that Peter assembles these himself so I don’t know what kind of quantity he can churn out, but I’m sure he would sell a ton of these if he marketed them a little more. His calipers are a game changer, but as far as I can tell very few people are aware of them.

    The Galbert Calipers are an incredible asset.

    If you can think of any other super useful tools like this that are similarly hidden, I would love to hear about them.

Comments are closed.