Locating a Long Straight-Edge

How to make (or where to buy) a durable and accurate 12-foot-plus straight edge. March 14, 2006

I was just wondering where you guys get your long (12' 6") straight-edges? The only ones I have used are from Pinske. I need another one, but those are pricey and I thought I would shop around.

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor A:
Look at the Eurekazone SGS EZ Smart Guide System. It is a little expensive also, but it looks like a nice set up.

From contributor B:
Have you considered making it out of Solid Surface?

From contributor C:
You might want to check with a local metal fabrication shop and see what they would charge to fabricate one for you.

From contributor D:
It depends on what you are using the straight edge for. The tolerances for solid surface are a lot tighter than for laminate. I do mostly laminate. For my seams I went to the local metal supply yard and purchased a piece of aluminum approximately 1/4" x 3 7 long. I had them cut in half, and sanded it with 220 grit to clean it up. It gives me perfect laminate seams. I also have had good luck with buying aluminum angle iron as a straight edge for my router and saw.

From contributor E:
I use 3/4" MDF for my straight edges. It's available in 145" lengths. It's stable if you keep it dry, reasonably durable, and cheap. If you hit it with your router you don't ruin your bit, just buzz a quarter inch off the affected edge and it's good as new. I laminate the edges. It's also softer than solid surface so it doesn't damage my tops. Find someone with a nice panel saw to rip it for you. My twelve footer is 12" wide to prevent flexing.

From contributor F:
We purchase aluminum stock from a metal supplier. This is cheaper than buying from a metal fabricator. The aluminum from the supplier comes in twenty-foot lengths that we have cut to our desired lengths. We then cut the edges on our CNC router to true them up. We find this very quick and inexpensive. The CNC step is critical in these types of straight edges because the tolerance for straightness from a metal supplier is much less than what you would purchase from Pinske. If you do not have a CNC, it would still be cheaper to have a metal fabricator make them for you. Just be sure that they true the edges for you.

From contributor G:
We purchase steel straight edge tools from a supplier to flooring companies. Aluminum is too soft, and subject to router burns. We've used different phenolic straight edges, including Pinske's, but they show wear on the edges that we depend on.