Tip: Three Handy Shop Tips
Often a measurement will be a bit more or less than the easy to recognise 1/16th inch scale on the measuring tape. Rather than take the time to figure it out to the 32th or 64th, I use a simple method to note the dimension.
If it looks like it’s 1/64″ more than the nearest 1/16″ mark, I use a “+” to represent the 1/64″. The measurement below would read as: “48 and 7/16ths plus”:
If it looked to be 1/32″ over, I’d use two pluses: “48 and 7/16ths plus plus”. If it’s 1/64″ less, I’d use a single “minus”.
I’ve found this to be remarkably accurate and easy to use for most woodworking and carpentry task.
If you have trouble remembering the 1/16th scale and are aiming for lower overall precision, you could adapt this to fit that by designating the 1/16″ over or under as the “+” or “-“.
When cutting trim and molding on the miter saw, it always a good idea to make the first cut so that the piece is a bit longer than it should be, then make a series of cuts to “sneak up” on the perfect fit. I’ve found that the best way to pare off tiny amounts is to slide the stock up against the body of the blade, then raise the blade and make the cut. This will remove the equivalent of the set of the blade at a pass, usually around 1/64″:
Finally, one that may not be used often, but is good to remember when you need a cleanly cut countersink: drill the countersink first. If you drill the pilot hole first, the countersink bit will “chatter” in the hole and create a rougher cut. This is especially true when using a larger twist drill bit as the countersink (something I do often) or as a counterbore for a plug.
This applies more for using a hand-held drill, rather than a drill press, but better results can be seen there as well.
I made a video demonstrating the methods: