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Starrett combination square vs. craftsman

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Forum topic by johndeereb posted 01-14-2016 05:36 PM 1957 views 1 time favorited 53 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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johndeereb

41 posts in 682 days


01-14-2016 05:36 PM

Im searching for a gift for my Dad’s birthday again. One of the tools my Dad uses the most is a combination square. He has an old craftsman one that has served him well. Was wondering if a Starrett one would be a worthwhile gift? It’s hard to tell without seeing them both at the same time. What do you think? Am I spending money on something that will really work better? Thanks for any help.


53 replies so far

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johndeereb

41 posts in 682 days


#1 posted 01-14-2016 05:39 PM

http://www.woodcraft.com/product/05E10/pfeil-swiss-made-7-sweep-gouge-35-mm-full-size.aspx

Or thinking of one of these, he likes to make spoons, chairs etc.

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Bill_Steele

118 posts in 1199 days


#2 posted 01-14-2016 06:47 PM

I think Starrett is a really good brand, they are known for accuracy.

Several years ago I bought a 12” combination square from Bridge City Toolworks—a fantastic tool. Their tools are very expensive, but they are also art. An accurate combination square is very useful to have around the shop.

I have a Starrett 4 inch double square that I find very useful. I rarely use my expensive combination square now that I have this square. I like the smaller size—it’s more convenient/easier to use.

I also think another useful gift would be a simple pocket ruler like this. I have this ruler and find that I use it alot. I especially like the gradations along the edge/side. I find them useful in setting the height of router bits.

My final suggestion is to get him a set of dial calipers. I have an inexpensive dial caliper that I bought at Home Depot. I like the fact that it measures in 1/64” increments rather than a digital measurement. I find myself using this tool alot.

Hope that helps!

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hotbyte

844 posts in 2443 days


#3 posted 01-14-2016 07:26 PM

Sorry to “invade” a thread, but I really like that little 6” ruler from Lee Valley. I can’t recall seeing graduations on the end like that.

Also, how do you like that dial caliper? I was looking at it a few weeks back in HD and wonder how well the plastic seems to hold up. i have a digital and seems batteries just don’t last very long :(

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SirIrb

1239 posts in 698 days


#4 posted 01-14-2016 07:42 PM

Starrett is better than the majority or other tools that fall in this same area. So, yeah, buy it.

@hotbyte: As a son of a machinest, former model maker and a Design Engineer I have never been able to read the digital calipers as well as dial calipers. And the batteries in dial calipers last forever.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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Bill_Steele

118 posts in 1199 days


#5 posted 01-14-2016 08:04 PM

@hotbyte: It’s fine—go ahead and “hijack” this thread :)—I’m not sure when I bought my caliper—maybe 5 years ago—it still works very well—not broken or damaged in any way. The outside of the dial will turn (if needed) to set the caliper to 0 (or whatever you want). I don’t need to do this often—usually it’s just if I accidentally move it. There are no batteries—I think SirIrb was being sarcastic. I’m gentle on tools—so they usually last me a long time. This caliper came in a clear plastic case that I still use to store the caliper.

My test on whether a tool is good or not (for me) is whether I would buy it again—I would buy this again.

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hotbyte

844 posts in 2443 days


#6 posted 01-14-2016 08:30 PM

Thanks and thanks…and I like the battery comment for dial calipers :)

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SirIrb

1239 posts in 698 days


#7 posted 01-14-2016 08:33 PM

Serious, gents, I can really read—mentally compute?—the dials over the digital. I wasn’t shooting for sarcasm. Which is a shame because I consider sarcasm an art-form.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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TravisH

452 posts in 1403 days


#8 posted 01-14-2016 09:27 PM

The square would be nice if he will use it. I have known a lot of guys (usually older) that got a lot better quality tools for gifts but were stuck in the “good enough” mentality of what they used so the new tools stayed boxed up on a shelf.

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KevinL

29 posts in 818 days


#9 posted 01-15-2016 01:08 AM

I do not know if they still are, but craftsman combination squares used to be made by Scherr-Tumico in St James, MN. They also made things for Snap On, NAPA, Brown & Sharpe Quality Line and many others. I toured there many years ago as a student. Everything was engraved and then used a laser to “darken” the engraved lines.

While I do not own any Craftsman squares, I do own Starrett, Mitutoyo, & B&S squares. If Craftsman are still made by ST Industries, they are a quality tool.

ST Industries big thing today is optical comparators and video inspection systems. At the time I was a student, the federal government bought mics and measuring equipment from them so that there would be at least two companies (them and Starrett) that still manufactured mics in the USA.

When ever I purchase a new square, I get forged heads vs. cast ones. If you are working around sheet metal, the cast heads wear out a lot faster. With wood, it should not be a problem.

Just my 2 cents.

-- KevinL

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MadMark

978 posts in 921 days


#10 posted 01-15-2016 02:20 AM

Incra: precision marking square – invest in an .5mm pencil!
6” rule:

Unless some think this is too precise …

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

View Ray's profile

Ray

120 posts in 1471 days


#11 posted 01-15-2016 03:28 AM



I do not know if they still are, but craftsman combination squares used to be made by Scherr-Tumico in St James, MN. They also made things for Snap On, NAPA, Brown & Sharpe Quality Line and many others. I toured there many years ago as a student. Everything was engraved and then used a laser to “darken” the engraved lines.

While I do not own any Craftsman squares, I do own Starrett, Mitutoyo, & B&S squares. If Craftsman are still made by ST Industries, they are a quality tool.

ST Industries big thing today is optical comparators and video inspection systems. At the time I was a student, the federal government bought mics and measuring equipment from them so that there would be at least two companies (them and Starrett) that still manufactured mics in the USA.

When ever I purchase a new square, I get forged heads vs. cast ones. If you are working around sheet metal, the cast heads wear out a lot faster. With wood, it should not be a problem.

Just my 2 cents.

- KevinL

Yep. Still in St. James, but I don’t know if everything is still made there.

-- Creating less fire wood every day

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rick1955

258 posts in 899 days


#12 posted 01-15-2016 03:51 AM

http://www.grizzly.com/products/4-pc-Combination-Square-12-/G5726
I have a Mitutoyo 4 piece combo square and several Starrets and the Grizzly is every good as them. For $35 you can’t beat it.

-- Working smarter with less tools is a true crafts person...

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Rick M

7935 posts in 1848 days


#13 posted 01-15-2016 08:26 AM

I used to believe that Starrett, B&S, Mitutoyo, etc. were overkill for woodworking but last year I started buying high quality brands like those mentioned above and it has changed how I think about tools. Now I’m gradually replacing everything with much higher quality stuff. Another option if you want a US made high quality combo square without paying Starrett money, check out Harry J Epstein. He sells blemished PEC squares for a good price.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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cdelva

2 posts in 331 days


#14 posted 01-15-2016 11:50 AM

My dad had a 12” Starrett combo square that I used all the time when we were still sharing a shop. A 12” Starrett combo square and 6” Starrett dial caliper were the first tools I invested in for my own shop. I love both of them and use them all the time. I would not even consider purchasing another brand of combo square.

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HokieKen

1812 posts in 606 days


#15 posted 01-15-2016 01:04 PM

Can’t beat Starrett combo squares. Don’t get me wrong, there are excellent squares of high precision out there for lower cost. But I have never found one that has the right geometry, heft and balance to suit me. If you do buy the starrett, get one with the satin chrome blade with 4R graduations. It’s the only square I have that I can actually read the 1/64” increments on. Also the cast iron versions are just fine for wood but if he does any significant amount of metal work, you’ll want the hardened steel head.

Here’s another thought, get him a size he doesn’t have. If his Cman is 12” and he uses it and is happy with it, get a 6” Starrett (or 24” if your feeling especially generous). That way he doesn’t have to banish ‘ol faithful to the drawer of forgotten tools and he has a new tool instead of a replacement.

And, trust me, when you get the Cman square in one hand and the Starrett in the other, you can most definitely tell the difference and see where the extra $ went.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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