Recommend a good combination square

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Forum topic by Shamus posted 02-13-2011 03:10 PM 5328 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 3319 days

02-13-2011 03:10 PM

Someone walked off with my 24” Starrett combination square last week and I need a replacement. When your out on a job-site you just can’t lock everything up when multiple trades are around.

Anyway, I use the heck out of that thing and have had it for 20 years or more. Everything I’ve looked at from the Box stores tends to be off a bit. If you hold it up to a larger metal stationary square, off the rack, one of them is off. After trying several I gave up.

I’m trying to keep from spending $100 but I haven’t found anything out there that looks like it will fill the bill.

Anyone have experience with a newer 24”? I don’t need anything but the 90 and 45 combo.

Thanks for your time.


5 replies so far

View 8iowa's profile


1587 posts in 3963 days

#1 posted 02-13-2011 05:11 PM

On a visit to Highland Woodworking in Atlanta I looked at a Chinese combo square that was supposed to be comparable to a Starrett…..........then I looked at a Starrett – I paid the extra $$ and gladly bought the Starrett.

That said, I have an Empire 18” combo square that is pretty accurate for all but the most demanding machine set-ups. It gets a lot of use around the shop, but with it’s aluminum head it would not likely stand up to years of job site use.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View THEBIGRED1's profile


11 posts in 2861 days

#2 posted 02-14-2011 02:27 AM

Starrett…...this tool is very important. It is your reference to everything. It is the tool you use to check other tools….. The well made combo square is everything to your purpose as a wood worker. It is the place you go when you need to be absolutely sure it is flat…..square….90 degrees and so on.


-- Never give in to speed over quality.....when you are done that is all that matters.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3376 days

#3 posted 02-14-2011 02:32 AM

Stanley makes a couple models that get good reviews. F’rinstance:

Me ? Once I got my first Starrett … it would be hard to take a step backward ;-)

-- -- Neil

View artthruwood's profile


28 posts in 2964 days

#4 posted 02-14-2011 02:35 AM

At my home shop I use starrett but I wouldnt bring a nice sqaure like that to my shop at work. At work i just use a swanson. Its acurate and gets the job done. You can pick one up at home depot easily

-- slowing down with bring you greater speed then going fast

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3483 days

#5 posted 02-14-2011 04:13 AM


I’ve had the same experience teaching workshops. I now use SPI squares. They’re pretty good but do need a little clean-up of the locking screw where it engages the blade to operate smoothly, there are some little burrs from machining. People don’t seem to covet them the way they do the Starrett squares and I can identify my squares at a glance when it comes time for people to start packing up. The scribes on the SPI are better and I like the design of the rules a little better.

Here’s a link to the $84 SPI 24” combination square at Enco. This is the unhardened version which is temporarily out of stock because these are beginning to get known. The hardened version is in stock at a dollar or so more.

I should add that I haven’t used their bigger squares. Because of what we do, we only take 6” squares with us and haven’t had to replace any of our bigger squares. From what I’ve seen from SPI I wouldn’t worry much about a lack of accuracy. We use an SPI spindle square to accurately tram in the heads of our milling machines and no one makes anything comparable. Unlike Starrett, both the hardened and unhardened SPI squares have cast iron heads. The hardened SPI squares have a cheesy looking gloss finish. I don’t care much for Starrett’s hardened heads either.

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