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Using a Rafter Square

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Forum topic by hjt posted 11-04-2009 05:31 PM 4460 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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hjt

822 posts in 2599 days


11-04-2009 05:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: square rafter square speed square johnson tools swanson tools squares

For those of you that have read my profile, you know that I’m new at this – for those of you who had not read my profile… now you know too. I have been using a Swanson rafter square “speed square” for doing straight 90 degree cuts. But these silly tools have lots of other lines and markings on it that I did not know how to use (not sure how to mark a 45 degree either (stop laughing you were there once too – remember.)

I bought the Swanson Blue Book at Lowes, bult that spoke more to stairs ad roofs. I then bought a smaller Johnson Rafter Square (dones have all the neat features of the Swanson) but they offer a great on line manual that shows newbies like me and pros like you how to get the most out of the tool. The link is http://www.johnsonlevel.com//jl/pdf/Rafter%20Angle%20Square%20Manual.pdf – you can down load or you can purchase the book . Also you can see several videos on www.youtube.com. and this video too http://www.extremehowto.com/xh/hotproducts.asp?productid=1595

Harold

-- Harold


6 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

17654 posts in 3136 days


#1 posted 11-05-2009 06:23 AM

I learned to use a framing square when I was in high school to cut rafters. It is a facinating tool if you learn all the scales on it.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Julian

880 posts in 2986 days


#2 posted 11-05-2009 03:11 PM

I love my framing square. Knowing how to use the step off scales is critical if you build a hip roof. It’s getting harder and harder to get a good one though. The newer ones have useless things like screw sizes stamped on them instead of useful info like difference in length of split pitch rafters and such.

I teach people how to use a square, then show them how to use a construction calculator to figure out rafter length and how to figure common placement for split pitch roofs. It’s much more accurate than stepping off with a framing square due to the chance for human error.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

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SKFrog16

661 posts in 2661 days


#3 posted 11-05-2009 08:30 PM

My grandfather taught me how to use one, works almost like a slide rule, the old ones not the electronic ones, still a great layout tool and you should learn to use one. Lee Valley has a classic reprint book for the steel square that teaches more than just hips, valleys, rafters and stairs. Also, look to a Barnes and Noble, they have pretty good woodworking book selection too.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 3449 days


#4 posted 11-05-2009 08:38 PM

I have an old public domain book from 1883 on the uses of the Steel Square. It’s 23mb but it’s a great book.

It has every use possible.

You can find it here.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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TopamaxSurvivor

17654 posts in 3136 days


#5 posted 11-05-2009 09:38 PM

Great book Gary, thanks. When I was an apprentice, I used to show the carpenters on the jobs things about the square. Then I’d ask if they knew how I knew that?? They’d ask how? I’d say you have to be a journeyman carpenter to become an apperntice electrician!! :-)) :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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manilaboy

177 posts in 3396 days


#6 posted 11-06-2009 02:13 AM

Salamat Gary!

Rico

-- "Real jocks do it on a bench"

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