Precision Square Set Recommendations

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Forum topic by Wingstress posted 09-18-2009 04:53 AM 3590 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Wingstress's profile


337 posts in 3540 days

09-18-2009 04:53 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Okay, I am going to finally invest in a nice set of precision steel squares. I would like a set of maybe 3 pieces (Maybe 2”, 4”, 8”). If you go to Rockler, grizzly, woodcraft, you can always fine a set starting $30. (I think they are too cheap) Some have rosewood handles, some don’t…

So this is what I want:
A nice wooden box
2-3 sizes of squares (Protractor and/or compass would be a cool bonus-but not necessary)
Cost under $150
Easy to order from internet

I am being so specific, because my birthday is coming up and I want to put it on a wish list so my family can buy it for me. My wife really wants to buy me something for woodworking, but she’ll never get it right (I love her so much I can say that). Buying it piecemeal will just continue the endless arguments of why I need more tools. I think all you married men out there know where this forum is going.

Any and all suggestions welcome…


-- Tom, Simsbury, CT

4 replies so far

View WhittleMeThis's profile


125 posts in 3398 days

#1 posted 09-18-2009 05:10 AM

I am a big fan of the Incra squares they come in various sizes and also in a 45 degree angle, they are guaranteed to be square and the prices are fairly reasonable, specially when compared to the starrett squares.

You are right to be suspicious of a set of squares sold for $30, they are often not truly 90 degrees

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4093 days

#2 posted 09-18-2009 06:07 AM


I’m going to suggest you don’t buy a 3 piece set of machinist squares unless you already own a starrett, brown and sharpe, or mitutoyo combination square.

For my money the versatility and accuracy of a high quality combination square cannot be beat. Not by any other type or selection of squares, none, nada, nothing. Nothing can beat the bang for the buck of a combo square, as long as you have a high quality, accurate combo square.

It is likely true that a high end machinist square will be more accurate than a combination square but the versatility of the combination square is so high it easily out paces any tiny loss in accuracy of stepping down from a machinist square to a HIGH END combination square.

I’m not suggesting a low end big box square, I’m talking starrett or equivalent. The accuracy of the starrett will be close enough to the machinist squares that for pretty much everything you’re going to be doing it can be your standard. And you get all of the super versatility of the combination square.

If you already own a top of the line combo square then yeah, I’d get some top of the line machinist squares.

If you don’t own a starrett combo square you really should consider putting it at the top of your list. To get the protractor look at a 4 piece set.

The one I would recommend is $190 on Amazon Starrett C434-12-4R Combination Set with Square, Center and Reversing Protractor.

You might check ebay before you buy new. I’ve found a couple of good deals on starrett tools for a significant savings. Even if you have to buy it and hand it to her to wrap and give back to you. You’ll understand this path once you’ve been married long enough :). A quick search on ebay turned up the same set sitting at $110 with 11 hours to go. Probably go up from there but still might find one for a discount.

Here are a couple LJ threads talking about squares

Hip to be square

Correcting a machinist square

View treeman's profile


208 posts in 3474 days

#3 posted 09-18-2009 01:03 PM

I bought a Rockler 3 piece set of machinist squares and am very happy with them. That said I also own Starret 6” and 12” combination squares as well as a 4” double square. I use them all for various purposes. As far as the accuracy of the Rockler machinist squares; mine are as accurate as the Starrets. When using one to check the other they fit together perfectly.

View Wingstress's profile


337 posts in 3540 days

#4 posted 09-18-2009 06:09 PM

Great advice guys. I love this site! I do have “POS” combination square which is why I was leaning to a machined square, but your arugements above have swayed my opinion. Thanks!

Hey Coloradoclimber, I went to CU between 95-2001. Loved it there. Met my wife in Boulder (she’s from Denver). Got Married at the Greenbriar Inn (north of Boulder). I love it out here in Connecticut, but miss Boulder. I’m ususally in Boulder 1-2 times a year (usually just to go get a burger on pearl street (Tom’s Tavern) I checked out your projects, nice boxes, you and I have done some similar type of work. I’ll Buddy ya, maybe we’ll meet up some day in Boulder….

Thanks again for the advice!

-- Tom, Simsbury, CT

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