Why are squares so damn expensive?

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Forum topic by Emma Walker posted 01-12-2013 01:30 AM 3619 views 0 times favorited 42 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Emma Walker

560 posts in 1656 days

01-12-2013 01:30 AM

Starrett squares are like over $100 just for two pieces of metal stamped together at a 90° angle. What are some good alternatives to over priced squares?

I bought a pear of plastic Rockler clamp-it squares but when I spooned them together I cound see day light throught them on one of the far ends.

I have one of thoughs large flat metal squares that’s all one peice that cost maybe $9.95 at Home Depot but I want an afordable one of these.

? $1,500 ? for this!

-- I'm a twisted 2x4 in a pile of straight lumber.

42 replies so far

View Loren's profile


8466 posts in 3193 days

#1 posted 01-12-2013 01:37 AM

You don’t need Starrett for woodworking. Those
expensive tools are for setting up milling machines
used in manufacturing satellite parts and other
super fine-tolerance stuff like that…. you know,
super colliders and rocket ships.

View Tedstor's profile


1625 posts in 2178 days

#2 posted 01-12-2013 01:39 AM

Look at PEC tools. Made in the USA.

View alexdom_89's profile


98 posts in 1842 days

#3 posted 01-12-2013 01:39 AM

Grizzly has the cheapest set I’ve seen

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 1736 days

#4 posted 01-12-2013 01:40 AM

It’s not stamped…
try a carpenters square, its those $10 ones, also a plastic triangle one… Its very accurate.

-- My terrible signature...

View jmartel's profile


6821 posts in 1695 days

#5 posted 01-12-2013 01:40 AM

Higher precision = more money. Usually exponentially. That one you link to is within 0.0001” every 6”. Meaning it’s longest side is within square by 0.0006”.

For woodworking, I’m sure 1/64” error (0.0156”) over 12” is probably fine. The wood will move more than that.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View bandit571's profile (online now)


15719 posts in 2229 days

#6 posted 01-12-2013 01:53 AM

Might check on see what Swanson has? Take along a known square item to check a few on the shelf.

Speed squares: Them plastic rectangle thingys that framers use. They need to be check for square, the last time I had to buy one, I think I check about a dozen before I found one that was square.

Combo Squares: Can be square when tightened up, but be sure to check them BEFORe you buy one. With all the sliding back and forth they do, it is better to get the all metal ones, rather than the ones with that plastic ends.

Carpenter?Framer squares: Again check for square. These are Huge for being in a shop. Useful for larger projects. You can set different angles with them, IF you know how to read them. ( That is why they make speed squares, for people that can’t read a framing square) Get a Steel one, if you need one.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View waho6o9's profile


7446 posts in 2122 days

#7 posted 01-12-2013 01:54 AM

Here’s an excellent tutorial to make your own squares.
Shop made tools are more fun anyways.

View Ross's profile


142 posts in 1518 days

#8 posted 01-12-2013 01:59 AM

View Davesfunwoodworking's profile


272 posts in 3421 days

#9 posted 01-12-2013 02:13 AM

I have made a few of them. I used a piece of brass and brass dowels and purple heart and walnut. drill 3 holes in the wood mark the holes in the brass and drill them. then push the brass rods though the holes. I even put all the lines on mine with the inches. very fun to make and is a perfect square. try it!!!!!! Check out my projects page you will see one there.

-- Davesfunwoodworking

View mbs's profile


1606 posts in 2486 days

#10 posted 01-12-2013 02:17 AM

I have a couple of starrett combination squares that aren’t square.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

23154 posts in 1884 days

#11 posted 01-12-2013 02:19 AM

Square is neccassary, but Rarely is it neccassary to buy that type for the average woodworker. Mine are from Menards and I haven’t had problems with them.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Emma Walker's profile

Emma Walker

560 posts in 1656 days

#12 posted 01-12-2013 02:33 AM


What if you want to build a wooden rocketship?

-- I'm a twisted 2x4 in a pile of straight lumber.

View Jimbo4's profile


1467 posts in 2308 days

#13 posted 01-12-2013 02:43 AM

Ross – 50 what ?

-- BOVILEXIA: The urge to moo at cows from a moving vehicle.

View Emma Walker's profile

Emma Walker

560 posts in 1656 days

#14 posted 01-12-2013 02:44 AM

Thanks everyone, i realize that i was probably over guessing my need for a Metal square.

-- I'm a twisted 2x4 in a pile of straight lumber.

View shampeon's profile


1771 posts in 1729 days

#15 posted 01-12-2013 04:07 AM

Vintage rosewood and brass squares off eBay (or flea markets) can be had quite cheap, and are usually pretty true. If not, it’s pretty easy to make them true with a few hammer taps.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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