A few weeks back in Ron Herman’s video presentation, “Quick Joinery Using Sticks,” Ron talked about making a set of shop-made spacer blocks out of hardwood. His premise was that when you’re setting up a saw cut, say at your human-powered miter box, if you hit an aluminum spacer with your saw blade you can damage your blade. I get that. But while working on a contemporary table for a presentation later in the month, I found a place where I needed to set my router depth of cut at 1/2″– a place where accuracy counts. I turned to my Infinity set-up blocks.
Shop-made blocks would have worked if I would have made them accurate at the time instead of knocking out something close to get the job done. It also matters if the hardwood spacer blocks were still in good shape. No erroneous saw kerfs located along their lengths, and no corner dents and dings from falling to the floor. (While my set of aluminum spacer blocks stay in the foam-lined case for safe keeping, my shop-made blocks tend to live around my table saw.) Any of those problems could affect my setup, which is not a good thing when accuracy counts.
It’s Best to Have Both
When it comes to setting accurate measurements, I think having a set of precision-made, aluminum set-up blocks and a set of shop-made, hardwood blocks is the way to go.