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Empire Combination Square - it is straight.

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Review by jond posted 06-07-2009 03:38 AM 5330 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Empire Combination Square - it is straight. No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

When I was searching for an inexpensive combination square, I was unimpressed by the standard BORG-type plastic squares and was unable to justify quite a bit more for the Starrett model. I was intrigued by the discussion on here about the Empire squares in one review and decided to buy one. I bought the 16” version from Sears ($16 currently). I found it to be straight and square according to the “flip it and try to match your line” test, at least down to the width of my 0.7 mm mechanical pencil. What I did not know, however, was how straight the blade of the square was. It was guaranteed down to 0.001 per inch, or a maximum of 0.16 for my unit, which seemed like quite a bit of possible deviation.

For my sharpening station I recently bought a granite surface plate (Grade A – 2.4 micron deviation over the surface of the plate per the included calibration certificate) from Woodcraft, and I decided to buy a set of feeler gauges to complement the plate and examine some of my tools. I put the square on the plate and tried to put my 0.0015” leaf under the edge of the blade, and I couldn’t.

Thus, while the guaranteed deviation from straight on these units could be rather high, my tests indicate that my particular square is quite straight. The square seems to be a great value buy for those of us whose every dollar spent on tool A means a dollar less on tool B.




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jond

4 posts in 2102 days



9 comments so far

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AaronK

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#1 posted 06-07-2009 04:13 AM

thanks for a very good review.

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Sawdust2

1467 posts in 2742 days


#2 posted 06-07-2009 04:36 AM

I was talking with the Starrett people at the IWF last year.
I asked them if they had any show discouints.
“Nope”
“Why not?”
“We don’t need to.”

They know their stuff.

Lee

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2303 days


#3 posted 06-07-2009 05:22 AM

good review- and I have to agree. I have an Empire 12” comb-square and found it to be true and square always. I then got the 6” version as well as an all around square- and it too was square – however , I found it hard to locate a 6” square that moved smoothly – I went to 2 HD and tried ALL of them out until I found one that was acceptable. the others were very stiff to move the blade on. but I never experienced that on the 12” version. it is a good solid performer for a VERY reasonable price. period!

now I do have a starrett as my main square, and use the Empire around the house – what I notice about the differences are not so much the squareness, but more the quality of materials used, and their machining – the starett materials are thicker and machined with a better finish = smoother. This gives a heavier tool, a smoother operation, and a more reliable locking mechanism. but from my experience – not more square than the Empire.

Enjoy the square – but don’t be one! :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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a1Jim

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#4 posted 06-07-2009 05:25 AM

thanks for the review

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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Bob

26 posts in 1984 days


#5 posted 06-09-2009 04:34 PM

I too have a couple of empire squares…they are square …thx 4 the reveiw

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Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2181 days


#6 posted 06-10-2009 11:08 PM

...should that be 0.016” for the length of your unit?

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

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Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 2387 days


#7 posted 06-23-2009 05:16 AM

I also have a 6” Empire combination square that does not adjust smoothly. I thought mine was just an isolated case until I read PurpLev’s post above. I have emailed Empire to see if they have a ‘fix’ for the problem and will post any response received.

Jim

-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

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Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 2387 days


#8 posted 06-27-2009 02:43 AM

This is the response I received from Empire Level Customer Support:

Hi,

Thank you for your email. I have forwarded it on to my supervisor so that we can take a better look at the E255 6” combination square and why perhaps there is so much difficulty in adjusting those. I believe the problem is with the drawnut set. Which we do replace free to our customers. I would like to do that for you as well. Thank you for providing me with your full name and address so I know where to have the drawnut set sent. I wouldn’t say yours is an isolated case, however, we don’t have a huge amount of problems with this square. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

I will get you a new drawnet set immediately.

Thank you and have a great day!

When I receive the drawnut set and install it, I will let you know if this corrects the problem. If so, you may want to contact Empire Level CS yourself for the “fix”.

Jim

-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

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John

341 posts in 2452 days


#9 posted 01-04-2013 07:47 PM

Jim, did the drawnut help?

-- John - Central PA - http://affyx.wordpress.com

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