Small try squares

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Project by rwyoung posted 09-03-2010 05:09 AM 2871 views 9 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Decided to spend a little time in the shop and make some small try squares. Cherry (slightly curly) fence with hard maple beam. Fiddled about with some profiling of the fence and beam. I like the ovolo profile better, might keep playing with the other one.

Unlike a machinist square, a wooden try square is only supposed to be right angles between the inside of the fence to the outside of the arm. Looking at the square with the ovolo profile, that would be the two longest edges.

The squaring-up of the squares is pretty easy, just make a test mark on the edge of a board, flip the square and make a second mark. If the lines are paralle, the square is square. If not, remove a touch of wood from the “thick” part of the beam and try again.

Table saw to cut the mortise when both fences were attached as part of a 5” long piece of stock. Cut a mortise in each end and then sawed the fence blank in two. The beam was planed down to fit.

Aproximately 2-3/8” for the fence and 3” for the beam at their longest. The remainder of the dimentions for the fence are 3/4” (-ish) wide and 3/8” (-ish) thick. Measured one time and just planed until things were smooth and square. Never bothered to measure after that. :) The beams started out at about 1” wide and a little more than 1/8” thick. Again, planed to fit and correct the square. After that I really don’t care what their exact size is!

BLO and beeswax for a finish.

Slowly making my scrap pile smaller. One (or two) homemade tools at a time. :)

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

13 comments so far

View swirt's profile


7141 posts in 4315 days

#1 posted 09-03-2010 05:24 AM

Nice work. I like the look. I do wonder about the figured wood. I’ve always heard / read that these kind of things should be made from straight grained wood for stability. I’d be interested to hear how these are holding true after a change of seasons.

-- Galootish log blog,

View rwyoung's profile


412 posts in 4815 days

#2 posted 09-03-2010 05:27 AM

Well, given their small size the percentage change will be pretty dang minute. :) The figure isn’t so severe that it interfered with planing using common angle planes so I’m really not too worried.

Besides, I can always true them up again! ;)

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

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5435 days

#3 posted 09-03-2010 06:49 AM

Functional pieces of art. Really nice work rw.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View BigTiny's profile


1721 posts in 4231 days

#4 posted 09-03-2010 07:01 AM

Cute as a bug’s ear!

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View mafe's profile


13695 posts in 4432 days

#5 posted 09-03-2010 08:27 AM

They are just wonderful, really cute.
Thank you for sharing this with us,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View spud72's profile


334 posts in 4837 days

#6 posted 09-03-2010 12:36 PM

I Like them, nice work


-- Guy,PEI

View AaronK's profile


1512 posts in 4807 days

#7 posted 09-03-2010 03:28 PM

nice. I should do this with scrap too.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4209 days

#8 posted 09-03-2010 03:37 PM

Those are real special. You could make a whole set, make a nice case, and hang it the den for a conversation piece. Really nice.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View rwyoung's profile


412 posts in 4815 days

#9 posted 09-03-2010 03:46 PM

@’wreck -


I could use them! :) /snicker/

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

View Ken90712's profile


18106 posts in 4532 days

#10 posted 09-03-2010 05:18 PM

I received one from 3Fingerpat as a gift. I just was using it yesterday squaring up some more cuttingboard orders. I like these alot, and I might have to make one as a smaller one would be nice as well. Thx for sharing

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 4269 days

#11 posted 09-03-2010 05:57 PM

Nicely done. I like them!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4283 days

#12 posted 09-03-2010 09:01 PM


-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17686 posts in 3961 days

#13 posted 10-13-2011 11:59 PM

Very nice, rw.

Are you still cruising LJs? If so, sure do like your hand tool work AND love the cupboard blog (that I wish were a project so I could Favorite it…) I’m thinking of making that same cabinet, and the use of milkpaint might be just the thing to cover the salvaged (but not quality) pine to be used.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

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