|Review by PurpLev||posted 07-17-2008 03:33 AM||8203 views||2 times favorited||26 comments|
So I went to an Estate Sale, and found this Starrett 12” combination square still in the original packaging with the nylon wrap, and for $20… obviously I snagged it before anyone else had the chance to even think about looking at it…
I recently commented on teenagerwoodworker review of his Empire combination square. I’ve been using the Empire squares for the longest time, and had great results with them (12”,6”) they are accurate, slide fairly smooth, and lock pretty ok…. and they are $9-$6 respectively.
So I figured I might as well run a head-to-head test between my $9 Empire square, and my newly purchased (originally priced at $50-$70) Starrett which everyone is raving about.
1st test: Appearance and machining
I’d be honest – I like the way the Starrett look and feel, it’s heftier, and the chrome ruler, and cast iron head look nicer. I also like the finer measurements on the ruler – which – is the primary reason I wanted to get this one over the Empire. Also look at the picture above – you can see the difference in the groove in the ruler – supposedly make it slide smoother- does it really ? maybe… by just a little, does it lock better? maybe , but to be fair – when it locks it locks well, as with my empire I had on occasion locked it and the ruler slid off… but maybe it was me.
If you’ll look closer at the parts that make up the Starrett you can see that the materials are of better quality, thicker, and machined to a better degree.
2nd test: Leveling
I took an extra level, and put both combination squares on both sides of the level when it wasn’t completely leveled to ground. you can see from the picture that the Empire square has a similar size leveling capsule and looks similar to the level, whereas the Starrett has a smaller capsule, and the off level seems more pronounced. better worse? I guess its a matter of opinion…
Notice that when I did level the surface both combination squares show same result:
3rd test: Squaring the ruler
For this test I took a piece of wood, butted the combination square against it’s edge, and drew a line along the ruler – then flipped the square 180 to it’s other face, and drew a second line at the same place I did the first line. reason dictates that if the combination square is really square and accurate- both lines should merge into a single thin line – and as you can see from the picture- both squares produced the exact same result – accurate and precise! the starrett is the line on the left, and the Empire is the line on the right:
I am a sucker for quality tool like every other person reading this review… so I appreciate the fact that I got this Starrett combination square, and for the price I got it – It’s definitely worth it, but compared to the Empire – if the Starrett was at it’s original market price- I don’t think I’d EVER buy one not at 600%-700% of the Empire price.
Good tool, feels good, looks good, GREAT measurements (64th”), but personally I think it’s over hyped. If you have a good accurate Combination square – don’t feel like you’re ‘behind’ go make some square lines!
-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.