Re: my caliper......junk or normal????
I used to be a machinist and I will first say that many measuring devices take a small bit of practice to use consistently. So practice.
You dont need any extra pressure while closing the jaws than it takes to contact the surfaces to be measured. Dont squeeze.
If you want to read increments smaller than .001" stop using a caliper and use a micrometer of an appropriate size and that has a .0001" vernier scale. If you are splitting the gap with your dial caliper needle, stop it. You have the wrong tool.
If, after a short time of getting used to your calipers you measure an object of known dimension and get different results (+/- .001")from the tip of the jaws than the throat of the jaws then either return them or give them to someone that dosent care and get some good calipers. If your eyesight is good I would recomend vernier calipers as there are no fine gears to worry about breaking should debris gather on the rack.
GRAVITY. It's not just a good idea. It's the LAW!