$2.50 Shop Made Spring-Loaded Straddle Square

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Project by DeLayne Peck posted 05-03-2015 02:00 AM 4443 views 56 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Marking 3 sides of a piece of stock is a error ridden, clumsy, tedious task. Especially if you have a large number of lines to lay out. Commercial straddle squares capable of marking 3 faces without moving the square are expensive. So, I made one at $77.49 off retail.

Materials: One 2 1/2”, 1/4 20 TPI, hex head bolt. One #57 spring. Cost $2.50 Scrap 3/4” stock.

1. Make two identical 3”W x 2”H blocks. My stock happened to be .60” thick Honduran Mahogany.
2. Cut out 1” x your stock thickness slots on each side.
3. Center mark the resulting guide tabs. (See photo 4) It’s important that bolt passes above the guide blocks.
4. Drill through Guide Tab A with a 1/4 bit.
5. Slowly drill tap Guide Tab B, 1/4” 20 TPI. B block is the traveler. I used a Greenlee Combination Drill Tap.
6. Cut two identical guide blocks, 1” x 2 1/2”. Glue in place into place on the A block, spring side.
7. Assemble, use a block to hold the straddle square fully open, carefully trim both ends square with a table saw.

Notes: Accommodates stock 1/8” to 1 1/4”. Works very smoothly and accurately. Sand to suit. A brass insert could be used instead of taping. Finished with Watco Oil. This project begs to have some sharp edges relieved with sanding or a 1/8” round over bit. Adding brass strips to inner faces was suggested in the comments!

Question, how I did cut out the tabs: I used a band saw and touched the cuts up by hand sanding. I checked frequently for square in every direction. Every dimension must be square and parallel to ensure the traveler tab does not bind, and runs smooth and straight.

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

20 comments so far

View cutmantom's profile


388 posts in 2457 days

#1 posted 05-03-2015 02:24 AM

Cool idea

View Johnny Boy's profile

Johnny Boy

76 posts in 2641 days

#2 posted 05-03-2015 02:35 AM

I love it

-- Johnny Boy

View waho6o9's profile


7123 posts in 1999 days

#3 posted 05-03-2015 03:52 AM

Fine ingenuity there DJPeck, good job!

View robscastle's profile (online now)


3318 posts in 1626 days

#4 posted 05-03-2015 08:54 AM

A meticlous make and well detailed useful project

-- Regards Robert

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

917 posts in 1735 days

#5 posted 05-03-2015 09:18 AM

Neat and saves money!

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2053 posts in 1611 days

#6 posted 05-03-2015 02:59 PM

Thank you. You just made my life easier.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


2302 posts in 1831 days

#7 posted 05-03-2015 04:20 PM

Great idea, yet another project to add to the list. (laughing)

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View hotbyte's profile


826 posts in 2398 days

#8 posted 05-03-2015 04:30 PM

Nice idea! Love the spring part.

View gbear's profile


492 posts in 3521 days

#9 posted 05-03-2015 05:15 PM


-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2089 days

#10 posted 05-03-2015 06:19 PM

Nice tool !
This should be a useful tool for many and looks like a straight forward build .


-- Kiefer

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3945 posts in 2587 days

#11 posted 05-03-2015 10:31 PM

I saw the ad for the Woodpecker straddle square, and said to myself…..... that is one overpriced item, but a useful item. Thanks for the home built engineering, I shall build one for each of my shops!!

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View oldnovice's profile


5655 posts in 2790 days

#12 posted 05-04-2015 05:33 AM

Nice stuff DeLayne!
Better a shop made tool than an expensive purchased one!

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

View drbyte's profile


724 posts in 3484 days

#13 posted 05-04-2015 01:09 PM

Nice! It may be begging for some edge softening but it’s screaming out for some brass strips on the faces!!

-- Dennis, WV

View DeLayne Peck's profile

DeLayne Peck

423 posts in 1624 days

#14 posted 05-04-2015 01:15 PM

Thank you Brethren. I hope this simple tool is valuable in a lot of shops! It would interesting to see a dovetail variation of this marking tool.

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

View helluvawreck's profile


22693 posts in 2289 days

#15 posted 05-04-2015 01:20 PM

Nice work. It will be very useful in your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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