|Review by RandyMorter||posted 04-15-2011 09:23 PM||3001 views||0 times favorited||5 comments|
I recently got a Starrett C33H-12-4R 12-Inch Combination Square to replace an old (from the late 1970’s) Stanley 12” that just wasn’t cutting it for me in my hobby level woodworking. I really like this new square but I don’t use it for everything – I carry a Empire 6” from Home Depot in my apron and I use the 6” for most markings due to it’s size being more appropriate for most of what I do.
After getting the 12” Starrett I am not happy with the Empire. I’ve tested it and it doesn’t always lock square, the edge of the blade isn’t nearly as nice, and the numbers are hard to read compared to the Starrett (which is getting more important to me the older I get!).
I decided to try this “cheap” Starrett 6” student model. I couldn’t find much info about it, but because of my other Starrett, and the Starrett squares I used in the 1980’s doing some metal machining, I took the chance on this one. This unit doesn’t have a scribe or spirit level, which appeared to be the main difference, but I don’t use those often anyway and if I do want the level I can use a different tool.
I ordered it from Amazon and it was delivered with no issues.
This square is nice and heavy, as expected, and as compared to the Empire 6”.
The lock requires a lot of torque to get it to lock down. I’m not sure why. The thumb nut is smaller than the one on my C33H-12. Unless you tighten down really tight the blade moves if you push or pull on it with a medium amount of force (I don’t know how to describe this force but I have to torque the lock down more than on the Empire).
But the thing I’m disappointed with the most is the blade. While I’m sure it’s very accurate, it’s hardened steel with no apparent finish on it. The numbers and markings are hard to read, about as bad as my old Stanley 12”. I think they’ll get harder to read with age. It isn’t nearly as bright as in the picture (which is from Amazon.com). The blade may rust too.
I’m returning this and getting the C11H-6-4R model. The Amazon return policy appears straight forward. This is the first thing I’ve returned to Amazon and I’ve purchased quite a bit from them from quite a few years back.
My Starrett C11H-6-4R came in today and I like it. It was about $20 more (and that’s close to 50%) but I think it’ll be worth it. It tightens down easier/better and the blade is easier to read, as you can see in the 2nd photo above. That photo is pretty close to the difference; the 10H blade is about as easy to read as it is in the photo from the head to the “3”. Compared to the satin chrome blade, well, there isn’t much comparison. Bummer. I really was hoping to get by with the cheaper version. I gotta get it back to Amazon now. I just wanted to take a picture of them side by side.
-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ