Six Measuring Tools You Should Have

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

By Kate Redding, RPT

Measurements help define the parameters for a given job. In piano work, sometimes we need to replicate a specification; other times we need to change, or re-establish a spec to improve function. Taking accurate measurements will help you choose parts, assess results, and execute precision work.

These tools are among my favorites for doing just that. I prefer multi-purpose tools that are easy to work with, and these are the ones I keep coming back to time and time again. Tools are an investment you make in your work and business. If you’re on the fence about what to buy, try to prioritize your purchases based on your daily work and projects. The ESSENTIAL/ LUXURY recommendations are my own.

Digital Calipers

An easy-to-read tool for sizing center pins, strings, tuning pins, etc. It also acts as a depth gauge. Look for these features: auto on/off, metric and fractional conversion, lower and upper jaws to take outside and inside measurements.


Thickness Gauge

The best tool for measuring cloth, leather, and paper. Save time when selecting materials for bushings, keyframes, damper guide rails, etc. An adjustable dial lets you set your zero point.


Tension Gauge

If you do a lot of repinning, the Correx 2-15g is the ideal tool. Another option is an inexpensive 10g spring tension gauge, which is accurate and durable enough for the kit.


Surface Gauge

Used for measuring the height of the stack and action centers outside of the piano. When you need to measure the distance from the key bed, ie. height of the hammer shank center pin, or calculate bore in relation to string height. An important tool for comparing parts for purchase.


Inside/Outside Tape Rule

Useful for working inside the action cavity and taking string height measurements. This 10’ model from Pianotek (product #SR-1933) may be the only tape measure you need in your kit.


Gram Weights

Pianotek sells a versatile and compact set of gram weights (product #PGW16). WNG offers a high-quality Key Gram Weight Set perfect for shop work. The innovative sliding-rule Key Balance jig from Bolduc Pianos is compact enough for your tool bag.


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