Center finders

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  • Center finders

    Who uses centerfinders?
    Lathe users do a lot, I imagine, but if you drill the center of dowels or wheels or circular items then you need one, too.
    I find I have three.
    One is embedded in a Push shoe:
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    One is a head for a combination square set
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    and one is a standalone one I bought from Sears many years ago... sadly it was way off when I got it but I rebuilt it and got it working perfectly. Had to drill out the rivets and realign the blade with the 90 degree angle with new screws.

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    Anyone else use one? I see these on Amazon for about $12.. I'd get one they look cool but I already have the 3 above, haha.

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    Drilling:
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    Last edited by LCHIEN; 05-19-2022, 10:47 AM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

  • #2
    How to check if your centerfinder is correct:

    Use a known round piece.

    Mark a whole bunch (maybe as many as 8) of diagonals as you rotate the test piece 360 degrees. If the lines all meet at one center point, its good. If the lines don't meet at a point but enclose a circle then the center finder is not centered on the diagonal.

    Once you know the centerfinder is good then you only need to mark two roughly 90 degree apart diagonals to accurately find the center at the intersection.
    I'll usually mark three or four diagonals just for confidence that everything is good! If they all meet at the same place, huzzah! Its good to go.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 05-19-2022, 03:54 PM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

    Comment


    • #3
      I have 4, but usually can only find two at a time at the most. But I have enough to find one at any given time.
      I have a metal one like your Tatool,
      a combination square set,
      a yellow plastic one like this: https://www.amazon.com/Transparent-O...%2C104&sr=8-17
      and one that is so old that I can't find anymore. It is a plastic "J" shaped one.

      I found one for square/rectangles for pen turning that I have not seen before:
      https://www.amazon.com/OwnMy-Aluminu..._hp_atf_m&th=1
      Last edited by leehljp; 05-27-2022, 09:34 AM.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by leehljp View Post
        I have 4, but usually can only find two at a time at the most. But I have enough to find one at any given time.
        I have a metal one like your Tatool,
        a combination square set,
        a yellow plastic one like this: https://www.amazon.com/Transparent-O...%2C104&sr=8-17
        and one that is so old that I can't find anymore. It is a plastic "J" shaped one.

        I found one for square/rectangles for pen turning that I have not seen before: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...M0EPFJWH&psc=1
        I may have to get that set.
        For squares, the Centerfinders work just as well as on rounds.

        For rectangles, the centerfinder used on all four corners will mark two points... join those two points with a line and you have the centerline of the rectangle. Each cross point is equidistant from the sides and ends of the piece.
        Loring in Katy, TX USA
        If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
        BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

        Comment


        • #5
          I have the yellow push shoe. Only have used it for center-finding a few times.

          Comment


          • LCHIEN
            LCHIEN commented
            Editing a comment
            We don't use it a lot but when you need to find the center of a round or square object, these things really can't be beat for speed or simplicity.

        • #6
          I don't have one, but know I need one badly. Going to look into that style of combination square like yesterday...

          Correction, it NEVER occurred to me that my push shoe had a center finder built in. No need to rush out and buy something.

          FWIW, I have several push shoes that lack this feature, but apparently my Vermont American Push Shoe has it. I just never thought of it. I got the Vermont American push shoe when I bought the BTS-21. Was actually a bit shocked Home Depot no longer seems to carry Vermont American... Sad, they actually marketed some decent stuff back in their made in the USA days...

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          Likewise, I am a bit odd in the fact that I like harving a variety of combination squares around the shop. Harbor Freight has a Pittsburgh 12" Combination Square set that looks to do the trick. An unrelated trip to harbor freight, and like a pitiful little puppy this thing followed me home...

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          Last edited by dbhost; 05-28-2022, 07:23 PM.
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          • #7
            Aaand i needed some contact cleaner, one of the pittsburgh units followed me home...
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            • #8
              Dave, many years ago I bought a HF combination square kit like that for under $10. It was so bad I tossed the angle protractor and the square and all that is left I ever use is the centerfinder attachment on the blade.

              I think I wrote a scathing review here.


              https://www.sawdustzone.org/articles...ion-square-set

              besides the centerfinder, the box was a perfect fit for a starrett set i bought on ebay that came in a cardboard box.
              Last edited by LCHIEN; 05-29-2022, 11:24 PM.
              Loring in Katy, TX USA
              If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
              BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

              Comment


              • dbhost

                dbhost
                commented
                Editing a comment
                No box any more, and the ruler part of it is pretty junky.

                I bought this as a disposable experiment. I have an older Empire combination square that does not have the protractor, or more importantly center finder piece. If I can swap just the center finder over to the Empire ruler part, I will be ahead of the game. Unless I find a Starrett someone is selling for dirt money on ebay I simply do not see a good reason to spend big money on this.

                And yes, finish on it IS pretty bad, but for the price, I am not sure I care. It is just closer than digging the push shoe out of the drawer as the hanging cabinets are right there at the drill press / lathe work area... Just doing this for workflow reasons...

            • #9
              It should be noted and this is going to sound as lazy and cheap as it is intended. I was aiming for "good enough" and honestly think I nailed that. Great, or impressive costs more than I wanted to spend considerin the results seem to be what I want... Honestly if Empire made a set with the center finder I would have ponied up up to about $40.00 for that, but $150.00 Starretts and the like just give me sticker shock for such a simple tool...
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              • #10
                So the cheapest centerfinder you can buy is still probably this HF combination square for $9
                https://www.harborfreight.com/12-in-...set-63688.html
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                Just keep the center finder head and discard the parts you don't find useful!
                Attached Files
                Loring in Katy, TX USA
                If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                Comment


                • #11
                  It went up 2 bucks overnight? Mine was $6.99...
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                  • LCHIEN
                    LCHIEN commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I dunno, that's the price listed on the HF website currently.
                    Got a web link and model no. that says otherwise?

                    They have 12 and 6 inch without protractor/centerfinder kits for 7 and 8 bucks.
                    Last edited by LCHIEN; 05-30-2022, 02:36 AM.

                  • dbhost

                    dbhost
                    commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Not sure. Maybe they applied a coupon and I just didn't pay attention... Oh well, either way, mind you they put the K in Kwalatee with this thing, it does the job but it IS poorly made... Of course the blade / ruler on my empire is badly discolored. THe clear coat turned brown over the years in the heat. However it works so well I simply do NOT care..

                • #12
                  Slid the center finder on the Empire... fits and works as it should
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