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Do I really need to spend $50 to get a square square????

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Forum topic by shelly_b posted 663 days ago 1967 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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shelly_b

841 posts in 722 days


663 days ago

I really need a square that is 100% square…do I really have to spend $50 to get that? I have been through several brands, and not one is the same so how do I know which, if any are really square? It just seems rediculous to me to spend that much money on a 6inch piece of wood and metal. I guess I should just bite the bullet and pay it since it should be the only one I ever need. Are there any out there that don’t cost over $30 that are true?


35 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112001 posts in 2181 days


#1 posted 663 days ago

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1055 posts in 736 days


#2 posted 663 days ago

I got a 4 piece set of stainless steel engineers squares from Grizzly and they are square when you scribe a line turn them over and check for square. Is that square enough? Or, do you need a metrologist to garrantee and certify it square?? Christopher Schwarz has several blogs and a video on making squares for woodworking from hardwood and how to adjust rafter squares by use of a punch and hammer.
squares.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

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shelly_b

841 posts in 722 days


#3 posted 663 days ago

flipping is square enough for me! I don’t have any equipment to tell me otherwise lol

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shelly_b

841 posts in 722 days


#4 posted 663 days ago

can I make a square without having a square to reference it?

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CessnaPilotBarry

882 posts in 714 days


#5 posted 663 days ago

Square, no… Most all combination squares are adjustable by filing tabs that support the sliding blade. You simply take a stroke or two of a file to the tab on the obtuse side of the square, test, repeat as necessary.

There are plenty of cheap engineer’s squares that are square. Be aware that they may be square to spec on one side of the blade ONLY.

Absolute joy to use and useful for other operations? Yes, if you want more than a one trick pony, you’ll need to spend more.

What I find makes a Starrett square worth the money is the easy on the eyes satin chrome blade, the super smooth blade action and locking mechanism, and comfortable to hold edges. Also worthy of note are interchangeable 6, 12, 18, and 24” blades. I can even buy old blades and slide them into my newer square head.

My 6” and 12” combo squares are my most touched tools in the shop… I don’t see the value of scrimping on them.

-- It's all good, if it's wood...

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Alexandre

1417 posts in 795 days


#6 posted 663 days ago

If you want a square that shouldn’t lose its accuracy, then you could get this… http://preisser.co.uk/productcode.asp?code=136

-- My terrible signature...

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Alexandre

1417 posts in 795 days


#7 posted 663 days ago

You could check using the 3-4-5 rule…

Measure out 3 feet (or 3 anything…inches, feet…but the longer the better) on one side and mark it. Measure out 4 feet(or units) on the other side and mark. If the corner is 90 degrees, the measurement between marks will be exactly 5 feet (units).

-- My terrible signature...

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Dallas

2857 posts in 1091 days


#8 posted 663 days ago

Harbor freight sells a set of three aluminum squares. The two largest are adjustable so to make them square, put them on a known square surface, scribe a line, then flip them over to check that the marks are exactly the same at 180°. If not, adjust and check again and again until they are square.

http://www.harborfreight.com/3-piece-l-square-set-with-levels-98556.html

The problem with buying expensive squares that are square from the factory you may ask?..... The first time the bugger hits the floor it is no longer square so you’ve wasted your budget.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View John's profile

John

45 posts in 677 days


#9 posted 663 days ago

I got a small (~6”) steel “engineers” square from Woodcraft a couple of years ago for about $15. It’s made like a try, with one thick leg and one thin. Handy and very accurate, and I’ve seen them lots of other places. For day-to-day use, I have a cheap Stanley combo square that’s quite square, though definitely not as nice to use as a Starret. Big orange box, $15. Best user is a small (4”) try square made of wood (fat leg) and brass (thin leg). Either Popular Woodworking or Fine Woodworking did an article on making one yourself within the last year or so.

You can check any square for square on a board or other surface with one straight edge. Usually the factory edge on a sheet of plywood is straight if you’re in a pinch. Just use the square in question to draw a line perpendicular to the straight reference edge, flip the square over and draw another. Any deviation from 90 degrees shows up quickly.

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a1Jim

112001 posts in 2181 days


#10 posted 663 days ago

These seem like they are priced very reasonably http://www.amazon.com/Northern-Industrial-Engineers-Square-Set/dp/B002VMK906

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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Dallas

2857 posts in 1091 days


#11 posted 663 days ago

I also would like to ask why the square has to be 100% square? If you check any piece of wood for square, and then check it again later, you will find that it has moved some.
Even dead wood is alive and won’t hold still.
It’s the same reason sheep herders wear their pants legs inside their boots…. the sheep move!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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Alexandre

1417 posts in 795 days


#12 posted 663 days ago

Technically.. Nothing is exactly square…

-- My terrible signature...

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7273 posts in 2252 days


#13 posted 663 days ago

For woodoworking and joinery, an inexpensive adjustable
square works just fine. You can file the nibs inside
the thing to make it square enough for joinery. I did
it years ago with an $8 square I got at Harbor Freight.
The 12” ruler is a bit awkward but it will serve for
laying out joints and setting up machinery.

I’ve accumulated several squares since then, mostly got
at yard sales. Some Starretts and other good ones. I
like the little 4” double squares a lot.

I’ve been doing woodworking for a long time and I doubt
any of my squares are “perfect” and I don’t worry about
it. Square to within 1/64th over 12” is square enough in
general for wood. Blade flutter, operator error, warped
boards and other factors combine to make chasing
perfect machine setups a fun activity, but no panacea
for flawless joinery nor perfect boxes.

When I say 1/64th” over 12” is square enough, I am not
saying that is the tolerance I work to. I am shooting for
closer 1/128” over that, or 1/32” over 48”, but I am set
up with considerable investment in machinery.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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nwbusa

1016 posts in 890 days


#14 posted 663 days ago

Dallas makes a good point, however I personally like to start as close to “square” as I can get, and it bugs me if I am using a tool that is substandard to my expectations. If something doesn’t work right, I can blame myself instead of my tools.

-- John, BC, Canada

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CessnaPilotBarry

882 posts in 714 days


#15 posted 663 days ago

Checking the wood for square is one thing…

Checking blade angles, jointer fences, etc… is quite another.

ONE accurate square is essential to have. An easy way to check any square, purchased or shop made, is the “flip” method. You knife a line, flip the square along the same edge and knife another line. the difference in parallel is twice the actual error.

The beauty of having one accurate and pleasurable to use combo square is all that it can do. It can check for square and 45 degrees on wood, measure bit height, check depth, measure thickness and width to it’s limits, check for straight edges, verify fence and tool right and 45 degree angles, check for straight sharpening…

-- It's all good, if it's wood...

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