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how to make/keep things square

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Forum topic by Johnalan1 posted 04-28-2016 10:32 PM 619 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Johnalan1

39 posts in 354 days


04-28-2016 10:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: square help question trick tip milling joining

Hello i am fairly new to wood working and ive made a few pretty nice projects but some have turned out bad because i didnt know how to make it square and it would turn out bad, most recent one was a shaker bench and the frame was a quarter inch over the top, (i made 2 mistake not letting the top over hang and cutting the peices to big) please help.

-- John Darlington Sc https://www.etsy.com/shop/JohnsScrollsaw


6 replies so far

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conifur

955 posts in 611 days


#1 posted 04-28-2016 10:44 PM



Hello i am fairly new to wood working and ive made a few pretty nice projects but some have turned out bad because i didnt know how to make it square and it would turn out bad, most recent one was a shaker bench and the frame was a quarter inch over the top, (i made 2 mistake not letting the top over hang and cutting the peices to big) please help.

- Johnalan1

Well you did not cut the top too big!!LOL The bench sounds like a measuring deficiency. Not a squaring issue.
These work great for project squaring.
http://www.rockler.com/search/go?w=clamp%20it%20assembly%20square

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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clin

510 posts in 456 days


#2 posted 04-28-2016 10:54 PM

Of course square pieces are needed as well. So if you don’t already have one, build yourself a crosscut sled. Square it up using the 5-cut method and you will be assured of square cuts.

Also, concerning oversizing etc. Wood is a natural thing, expands and contracts with temperature and humidity. Exactly sizing something like a top can be hard. Of course most table tops overhang a lot, so exact doesn’t even matter. But if something needs to be flush, I’m a big fan of cutting it slightly larger. This gives a little wiggle room if something is not perfectly square or straight. Then trim it flush with a router after attaching it.

Often it’s not the squareness or straightness that matters, but rather how it lines up with something else. So to the degree that you can cut or trim something relative to what your eye references on, this may be better than it actually being square or straight. Of course it all depends on exactly what you’re doing. Sometimes square or straight is really important so somehting like a drawer or door operates smoothly.

-- Clin

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conifur

955 posts in 611 days


#3 posted 04-28-2016 11:16 PM

Square is square, even if every thing is cut square you can have Racking during assembly. You need to get some reading material on wood working. Get some basic knowledge on joinery, more reading.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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JBrow

814 posts in 380 days


#4 posted 04-29-2016 04:26 AM

Johnalan1,

The problem you described could have resulted from the base racking during assembly. If the bench top were cut square to exact size based on a square assembly, I think at least one corner of the base would extend beyond the top if the base were racked.

Ensuring a square assembly can be a challenge, but before leaving the assembly, checking for square is one way to reduce the racking problem. One way to check for square is with a carpenter’s square. But if the two edges against which the square is placed are slightly bowed, perhaps due to clamping pressure, getting a good indication of square is difficult. Also there may be no adjoining edges to which the square can be registered and something could be in the way of using the square.

Since the diagonals of a rectangle are the same length, measuring the diagonals of an assembly can reveal not only that the assembly is out of square, but by how much the diagonals must change before the assembly becomes square. When an assembly is square, the length of the diagonals measured from adjacent corners of the assembly will be the same.

Another method I rarely use to determine square is the 3, 4, 5 rule or 6, 8, 10 rule. From a corner that needs to be square, make a mark at 3” (or 6”) on one leg of the angle. Then measure and mark the other leg, again measuring from the corner but at 4” (or “8”). Then measure the distance between the two marks. Using the 3, 4, 5 rule, the measurement should be exactly 5: if the corner is square. If using the 6, 8, 10 rule, this measurement will be exactly 10. Since these rules are applications of Pythagorean theorem, any two measurements can be used with this theorem and a calculator.

A problem with all these methods occurs when clamping pressure causes the assembly parts to bow. Backing off a little on the clamping pressure can remove the bow, yielding better measurements.

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rwe2156

2189 posts in 941 days


#5 posted 04-29-2016 11:43 AM

It will come with experience but basically, square assemblies start with cutting things square.
That being said, having a jig when assembling (like doors or drawers) is handy.

Checking everything with an accurate square! as I go works for me.

Having your saws dialed in and making sure your miter gauge, xcut sled, etc are dead square is step one.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View bbc557ci's profile

bbc557ci

589 posts in 1534 days


#6 posted 04-29-2016 03:29 PM



It will come with experience but basically, square assemblies start with cutting things square.
That being said, having a jig when assembling (like doors or drawers) is handy.

Checking everything with an accurate square! as I go works for me.

Having your saws dialed in and making sure your miter gauge, xcut sled, etc are dead square is step one.

- rwe2156

Yup and… finding/buying a square that’s, well, square, is essential. And when you find and use your square square, be sure you have a good flat/true surface to lay one leg of the square against.

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"

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