Starrett Combo square help!

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Forum topic by SoCalDJ posted 02-27-2011 06:40 AM 1840 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SoCalDJ's profile


46 posts in 2890 days

02-27-2011 06:40 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tools starrett question new iron steel

Ok first post here!

So I recently realized that my combo square which I thought was square, was a piece of garbage, and realizing that I needed to get a new one, I figured why not replace it with something that will last as long as I do?!

I did a bit of research and found that for combo square Starrett is the most recommended, and one of the best brands out there.

So here’s my question.

I did a bit of digging and found both of these:

C11 series (Cast Iron):

C33 series (Forged Steel):

What are the pros and cons to having a square like this?

The biggest one I’d guess at is rust? I live in Southern California, in the inland valleys where it’s mostly hot and dry with very little in the way of humidity. If I choose the cast iron, will I need to worry about rust?

I just want some good and bad about the different choices here since this is my first major hand tool purchase (And it’s expensive for a ruler :D)

6 replies so far

View bigike's profile


4055 posts in 3526 days

#1 posted 02-27-2011 06:44 AM

i don’t know the difference I just bought one of each plus I fount them each from tha same site for about $60-$70 that helped a lot. Yes they were new in the box with all papers and everything.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Dandog's profile


250 posts in 3012 days

#2 posted 02-27-2011 06:49 AM

love Starret never had any problems with anything .It’s the name to trust. I would write them .In some metal shops that is all they use.

-- life an woodworking is one big experiment

View rwyoung's profile


409 posts in 3710 days

#3 posted 02-27-2011 07:33 AM

Only the “head” is cast. The beams should both be steel.

In both cases, the heads will be painted / japaned. It is a pretty simple thing to keep the “bare” portion rust free.

I have the cast version and I’ve been very happy with it.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View mchuray's profile


81 posts in 3236 days

#4 posted 02-27-2011 08:12 AM

I live in the hot and humid Louisisana and 40 years ago got the fordged head with a satin chrome ruler. Still looks great and still in square even though I have dropped it many times. Can’t say the same for some try squares i’ve had over the years. I also bought the 4” straight sided square. Love both. That small one is really great for some setup operations. Been planning on getting a 24’ ruller for it also. As far as I am concerned anything Starrett makes is the best!

View SoCalDJ's profile


46 posts in 2890 days

#5 posted 02-27-2011 08:25 AM

rwyoung, how would you recommended keeping the head free of rust? Waxing that piece seems a bit overkill but I’d want to make sure I never mess with any of the accuracy and sand or mess with something that could change it.

It looks like the body of the square is iron too, but it’s got the black finish on it. What about the two ‘faces oft he square? I’d assume those would be bare iron too right?

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 3999 days

#6 posted 02-27-2011 03:34 PM

There are a lot of combo squares out there, some of them are even fairly square. With a Starrett, “fairly” is not good enough. This is a precision instrument that you can trust for machine set-ups.

One day, while at Highland Woodworking in Atlanta, I looked at a Chinese combo square that was supposed to be equavalent to Starrett. When I walked out the door I had a Starrett in the bag.

Barry is right about the 6” square. I have one in my apron and it is in constant use.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

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