Category Archives: Apps

App Review: INCHcalc

INCHcalc iconINCHcalc  Star fullStar fullStar fullStar full

$1.99 For iPhone & iPad


INCHcalc is a refreshingly simple, easy-to-use fraction calculator.

In going thru several fractional calculator apps, I’ve found the hardest part to be entering the fraction. INCHcalc makes it easy. In the example at left, you would hit 45 FT, 8 IN, 3 / 8. Once you do it, you don’t forget it. Other calculators I’ve tried are just not that intuitive.

INCHcalc is simple to use. No clogging the screen with Pitch, Rise, Acre, etc – all stuff the average woodworker doesn’t use (though carpenters would).

Buttons are big, and easy to use. The screen is very easy to see – though I might have been interested in a smaller fractional size display, with numerator over denominator, rather than side by side, but no big deal.

There is nothing really lacking with INCHcalc; in fact, it’s simplicity is what makes it great. HOWEVER, if there where additional things that could be added, here is what I would like:

• A button that would take the result in the window, and convert it to either metric or decimal.

• The author’s website doesn’t show it, but it would be nice if the program had a metric equivalent – METRICCcalc, if you will. America, Liberia, Burma, and parts of the UK are the only countries still widely using  the English system. I wish we were using the Metric system, then I probably wouldn’t need a calculator – which, thinking about it now, is probably why there is no metric version! Everything is based in units of ten, not 12s!

INCHcalc proIf you are a carpenter as well, and need functions such as Pitch, Rise, Volumes, Areas, and so on, there is INCHcalc Pro, at $4.99, which gives you INCHcalc as well, INCHcalc Pro kicking in when you turn the phone to landscape.


To sum up, INCHcalc, is an app that I use all the time in the shop – it’s simplicity and ease of entering fractions make it a winner in my book.

Get it:  Website    iTunes


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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in Apps


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App Review: WoodMaster


WoodMaster appWoodMaster  Star fullStar fullstar desaturatedstar desaturated

$7.99 For iPhone & iPad

woodmaster screenshot

Woodmaster is quite expensive (for an app) at $7.99. I’m willing to pay that – if that app is good. Unfortunately, WoodMaster falls short, but had a lot of promise.

The good news: good interface, great graphics, and a good assortment of applications.

The bad news: interface falls flat in some places, and applications I don’t think most would want.

In calculating fractions (as in, 1 5/8″ + 17 19/16″), the author thought an impossible to see slide ruler would be a good idea, with Fraction Calculator (Sliderule version). The tick marks are illegible, and who uses a slide rule anymore? What’s the benefit of going analog on a digital device? There is none. The Fraction Calc (Numeric) is much better, and does the job.

The Board Foot Calc is fine, and lets you not just calculate BF, but add to a tally. Good.

The Fraction to Dec & mm convertor would be much more useful if we could include inches! As it is, you can just convert fractions of an inch to a decimal and mm equivalent. Great, 21/32″ is 16.7 mms, but how many mms is 5 3/4″? Put an inch wheel in there as well.

Length Conversions, from English to Metric, and vice versa, is fine.

Proportionnal Calculator  could have been much better. This tool is supposed to be for those times when you are scaling – such as making a table 3/4 scale of the original. If the original length of a piece was 32 3/16″ long by 6″ wide by 1″ thick, what would the size at 3/4s? This won’t tell you. You can’t enter fractions, and the interface is confusing. From what I could figure out (even after reading directions), you enter the original width and height, as well as the new width or new height; the calculator will figure out the new width or height – whatever was missing. Not really helpful.

The Golden Ratio calculator could also be better. Again, you can’t enter a fraction, and maybe you don’t really need to, as this is a matter of design, not exact measurement This calculator simply gives you a ratio on a board. For example, if I enter 5 as the dimension, the Golden Ratio is 3.09 and 1.91. As a woodworker, what the heck is 3.09 and 1.91 in terms of inches?! How is that useful to me? It’s fine if you want this calculator in here, i can see a possible use for it, but jeez, make the resulting calculation usable!

A useful calculator for a carpenter app would be the Nominal to Actual Size calculator. This converts stated sizes to real sizes. In other words, a 2×4 is not actually 2″ x 4″, it’s actually 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. Not sure when I would use that as a woodworker, as I rarely use construction grade lumber.

Screw sizes is a reference chart. For instance, if you are using a #3 screw, the head bore is 13/64″, the shank hole is 7/64, and the pilot hole should be 1/16″ For me, that’s handy, because I’m forever using calipers to measure a screw’s shank (as opposed to the thread width) to determine the size of pilot hole I should be drilling.

Nail Sizes is just a reference chart – “How big are 2d nails? – 1 inch. That’s fine to have.

Joint Types enlists beautiful graphics to illustrate different fairly common joints. It’s a slide side-to-side type presentation; perhaps a listing view would be better? Instead of just the name of a joint, maybe include benefits  and disadvantages of that type of joint?

Wood Types is simply a graphical listing of various woods, ostensibly for identification purposes.

Knock Down Sawhorse  and Knock down Workbench  are nicely illustrated graphical plans that can be emailed to you. I could do without this.

Project Planner  is a nice little planner you can have sent to you for printing out. Again, not really needed?

To sum up, WoodMaster, is an app that has some promise, but at this point, doesn’t live up to it’s high price. Some moderate revising would make it a good app – but at half the price.

Get it:  Website    iTunes


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Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Apps

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