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Making an Adjustable Try Square

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Blog entry by Tim Dahn posted 10-24-2013 01:18 PM 2588 reads 24 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Making an Adjustable Try Square is a pretty staight forward build, here are the parts:

I chose rosewood for the handle, approx. 4” X 1/12” 1/2”
Some brass, 5/16” rod,1/4” rod and 1” flat stock (about 1/16”)
Brass inserts and screws 8-23 X 1 1/2” long.

The handle must be flat and square if you want a square that is square on both the inside and outside reference. Check the width with calipers and get it exactly the same on each end, then do the same for the blade.


Next cut the slot in the handle for the blade, I get as close to center as I can then flip the handle over and cut again. This helps to center and widen the cut as the saw kerf is not wide enough for the blade.

Use a card scraper and sand paper to clean up the slot and fit the blade.

Now lay out the holes for the adjustment screws. I just measure in about a 1/4” or so and mark lines on all sides, this comes in handy at the drill press.

Using a vise, clamp the handle as shown for drilling. This is a good spot to slow down and make sure everything is lined up exactly as the bottom of the hole needs to center on the blade slot. Remember to keep pulling the drill bit out and cleaning off the waste to keep the bit from wandering.

Here is what you are looking for, a straight hole centered with the slot.

Now cut the connecting rods to length then sand a slight crown on the ends, I sand up to 400g to be sure there will not be any binding.

Don’t forget to insert the connecting rods before installing the inserts (don’t ask) but a tang on a small file fits and will work as an easy out. ;-)

I started out with a phillips head screw but switched to an hex head screw to put the inserts in. In case you don’t know, the slots on the inserts are not for a screwdriver but are to cut the threads in the wood.

I enlarged the hole about 1/4” deep to house the screw head, the insert will also be 1/4” deep.
Put a clamp on the handle to prevent splitting when screwing in the insert. (see don’t ask above)

Cut the adjustment screws to the proper length and install, all that is left is to sand and finish.

Click for details

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.



22 comments so far

View Spur's profile

Spur

82 posts in 778 days


#1 posted 10-24-2013 01:47 PM

Looking forward to the rest of it. This is on my list of things to build already, nice to have someone break it down, rather than me figure it out :-p

-- Henryk, South Carolina

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3685 posts in 1915 days


#2 posted 10-24-2013 02:37 PM

I really like making mechanical things, but I have to admit that I am not ready to do that one. My major concern would be whether it was truly square.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1481 posts in 2316 days


#3 posted 10-24-2013 03:35 PM

But Jim, when you dial the square in you know it is exactly square!

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View JesseTutt's profile

JesseTutt

811 posts in 861 days


#4 posted 10-24-2013 04:11 PM

Great looking square!

Would you happen to have a picture of how you ground the rebate into the pin holding the blade on?

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1481 posts in 2316 days


#5 posted 10-24-2013 04:29 PM

Jesse, no rebate on the pin on this one, the friction holds it in place. I would just chuck the pin in a drill and use a file to make a rebate.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3869 posts in 2118 days


#6 posted 10-24-2013 06:00 PM

Jim, checking for square can be done like we used to do in high school drafting class (I know some of the younger LJs probably never had that experience) and how the digital levels set 0!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Diggerjacks's profile

Diggerjacks

1784 posts in 1889 days


#7 posted 10-24-2013 06:03 PM

Hello Tim

A very clear blog

Thanks for all the informations and picture

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View Greg's profile

Greg

284 posts in 1624 days


#8 posted 10-24-2013 06:05 PM

Awesome, thank you for sharing. I love the melding of WW and metal working. Exquisite.

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net? http://www.Sierra-Nets.com

View TerryDowning's profile

TerryDowning

1025 posts in 868 days


#9 posted 10-24-2013 07:59 PM

Yet another item on the favorites list for things to try in the future.

Nice job and nice write up.

-- - Terry

View mafe's profile

mafe

9687 posts in 1840 days


#10 posted 10-24-2013 10:29 PM

That’s so cool Tim.
I will have to make me one of these one day.
Fine work and a really fine blog that are easy to follow.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3685 posts in 1915 days


#11 posted 10-24-2013 10:47 PM

Tim and Hans,

OK, I understand, you are egging me on….......(-:

It would be a cute project for the vacation shop, I will be there 8 days from now. There, I have a drill press still in the box, and ditto for a scroll saw. But, I have to get the vises installed on my bench….....which…....still is not robust enough to handle it. To be honest, I know I need a square like this at both shops, so, it goes on the list.

OK, I will accept the challenge, but don’t hold your breath. Figure at least 3 months. I am way behind on posting stuff, but have a bunch of things on the way…...

Have a good one guys, I’ll think about this some more….......

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3869 posts in 2118 days


#12 posted 10-24-2013 11:21 PM

Jim you must have done some drafting with a T square and triangles in high school and how to check if your the two 90 degree sides were truly square!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View camps764's profile

camps764

827 posts in 1111 days


#13 posted 10-24-2013 11:37 PM

favorited. AWESOME blog.

-- Steve

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

19709 posts in 2602 days


#14 posted 10-25-2013 12:33 AM

A great blog mate.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Boatman53's profile

Boatman53

848 posts in 947 days


#15 posted 10-25-2013 01:15 AM

Great job Tim I’m going to file this away, I might have some time this winter for all those little things I haven’t had time for. Thanks for post it.
Jim

-- Jim, Long Island, NY Ancorayachtservice.com home of the chain leg vise

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