Reply by Ethan Sincox

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Posted on I want to be as square as the rest of you.

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Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4952 days

#1 posted 11-13-2007 07:26 AM


I have to disagree with Cajunpen in that there are steps you need to take to GET your stock to that point. In order to get absolutely square stock, you need to have your equipment properly tuned! If your jointer isn’t set up properly, then you’ll never get that first straight edge and a corresponding perpendicular edge. If your planer is off, then you’ll never make an edge parallel to your first straight edge. If your table saw blade isn’t parallel to its fence, then you’ll never rip that fourth edge to be parallel to the second.

The same goes for any other tool in your shop, whether it is a hand tool or a power tool; your bandsaw, your miter saw, your drill press, the #5 jack plane you’re using on your shooting board… they all need to be set up properly in order to get the best results.

Taking the time to tune up your tools, starting with your SQUARE! If your square isn’t square, then how can you use it to set everything else up right? How do you do that? Find a piece of scrap with a factory straight edge on it (a piece of MDF works well). Place your square’s reference side against the factory edge and strike a line down the inside of your square (if you’re using an old try square, this is especially important, as the INSIDE edge of the try square’s blade is what is supposed to be perpendicular to the brass reference side). Now flip your square over so the other side of the blade is facing up, place the reference side against the factory edge again, line up the blade of your square with the line you previously struck and strike a line right next to it, again using the inside edge of your square’s blade.

If the lines are parallel to each other, then your square is square. If they are off, then you’ll need to adjust your square accordingly. You might want to try looking that up on the internet. I’ve never had to do it; I know the techniques, but having not done them, I don’t know if I can describe them well enough. If your square has a set screw, then it’s easy enough. But if it doesn’t, then you have to use a steel punch to adjust the blade and make it square.

-- Ethan,

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