Calipers are an essential part of every professional sculptors tool-box and a must for any student looking to improve their proportions and accuracy.
Here are a small selection of currently available Calipers for sale, and their Pros and Cons.
Aluminum calipers are pretty standard issue for most sculptors.
This pair is from Sculpture House
These standard issue 6 inch calipers are available through Sculpture House. One of the most reputable sources of sculpting materials and tools out there. They fit easily in most sculpting kits. [Product Link]
I recommend this small pair (6 inch) and to cover your bases a larger pair (12 inch) to round out your kit. It depends on the sizes you find yourself sculpting in most often.
Cost: $10.00 before shipping costs
Pros: Affordable / Lightweight / Easily Fits Most Toolboxes
Cons: Loose but can be easily tightened / Aluminum and therefore can be bent
Final verdict: They should be fine for most projects. Lightweight and affordable, but not the most accurate.
Another affordable alternative are these larger wooden calipers from SCARVA.
They are a good sized pair, (310 millimeter), or a little over 12 inches. They are double sided and lightweight and did I say affordable?
Cost: $6.77 before taxes and shipping. Scarva Wooden Calipers
Pros: Affordable / Lightweight / Double-sided
Cons: Wood and possibly breakable / larger size for most tool boxes
Final verdict: They should suit those from entry level to professional for an assortment of medium to larger projects.
Steel Carving Calipers
On the other end of the spectrum, both in cost and accuracy are Steel Carving Calipers.
If you need more accuracy with your work, and can justify the expense I recommend this pair of Steel Sculpting Calipers from Arte Marcia
I purchased a pair of the 15 centimeter,(approximately 6 inches), steel calipers and they are of the highest quality and a comfortable stiffness. They are both machined, and hand made, and of a notable high quality.
I can’t recommend this pair highly enough. If you don’t mind a little investment, it will pay off in the long run with true accuracy being the return on your initial investment and the peace of mind of knowing that if something is off, it’s not the calipers fault.
Cost: $78.43 or 60.50 Euro including tax. (Not including shipping)
Pros: Highly accurate and durable.