LumberJocks

All Replies on Reliable, accurate squares needed

  • Advertise with us
View Ben's profile

Reliable, accurate squares needed

by Ben
posted 05-07-2017 02:39 AM


1 2 next »
66 replies

66 replies so far

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1383 posts in 1471 days


#1 posted 05-07-2017 02:48 AM

Starrett. Will start true and stay that way after we are both long gone.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View mski's profile

mski

442 posts in 4956 days


#2 posted 05-07-2017 02:49 AM

Woodpeckers made in USA

-- MARK IN BOB, So. CAL

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

3166 posts in 3148 days


#3 posted 05-07-2017 02:51 AM

Have you checked it to see if it is square or not?

To check it lay it against a straight edge (edge of you table saw is good. Draw a line flip the square over and line up against the line. If it is in line with the square you are good if it doesn’t line up. then Your not square.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Ben's profile

Ben

488 posts in 3833 days


#4 posted 05-07-2017 02:54 AM



Have you checked it to see if it is square or not?

To check it lay it against a straight edge (edge of you table saw is good. Draw a line flip the square over and line up against the line. If it is in line with the square you are good if it doesn t line up. then Your not square.

- johnstoneb

It fails that test. It’s “pretty damn close” but not perfect. I’d say off a fat 32nd” over the 12” blade.

View Loren's profile

Loren

10939 posts in 4623 days


#5 posted 05-07-2017 02:57 AM

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-square-a-combination-square/

Lee Valley sells good quality squares of many types.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9771 posts in 3304 days


#6 posted 05-07-2017 03:05 AM

Perfectly square squares are hard to come by. I have a 12” Starett that I paid $90 for and even it is off just a smidge. My most accurate square is a really old Stanley and I’m not even sure where it came from or how I got it.

We have an inexpensive General Tools digital angle gage, and even though it has a plastic body, it’s very good.

The problem is that even with 0.05 degree resolution, you will see that as a gap on the square test described above.

At some point you just have to say good enough.

123 blocks can be had at discount machinery tool outlets and they are about as close to dead on as you can get without spending big bucks.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

1147 posts in 1567 days


#7 posted 05-07-2017 05:19 AM

Forget about fancy super expensive tools. Cheap drafter’s plastic 45-45-90 and 30-60-90 triangles are the best option in many cases. At least they are very accurate.

View Rich's profile

Rich

6398 posts in 1565 days


#8 posted 05-07-2017 05:37 AM

I have the 8” and 12” squares from Bora that are dead square. They are like $15 or something. The design is clumsy though for some work. However, I do trust them for checking square, and as a bonus, if one hits the floor and is toast, who cares. I got a Woodpecker 6-4 on sale for cheap, and it’s very nice to work with. I’d love the 12” one, but the Bora is good enough considering the cost of the Woodpecker.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13543 posts in 3356 days


#9 posted 05-07-2017 06:13 AM

I limped along with cheap Sears/Stanley squares for too many years and thought anything better was unnecessary. Then I got an old Lufkin combo square and it ruined me. Since then it’s been a steady decline into Blue Point, Brown & Sharpe, and Starrett. The Blue Point (Snap-On) is made in Taiwan and is a high quality tool but unfortunately something has gone wrong and it went out of square. I’ll have to look into fixing it or maybe just sell it. Recently got my first Starrett squares and they really are the very best, oozing quality, especially the forged heads. But the Brown and Sharpe are a close second, their only detriment is the edges are left a bit sharp making it less comfortable to hold. Not a deal breaker, 60 seconds with a file and all is well. What you get for your money: a square that is square, that has outstanding fit and finish. A rule made of hardened tool steel with photo etched numbers and lines that are inked and easy to read.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

6362 posts in 3285 days


#10 posted 05-07-2017 06:32 AM

Don’t forget to ad a drafting triangle or 2 to your list. Drafting triangles are accurate and cheap. Colored ones are easier to see.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Rich's profile

Rich

6398 posts in 1565 days


#11 posted 05-07-2017 06:50 AM

I remember reading an article written by a well-known woodworker recalling his days as an apprentice. The master craftsman made all of his tools himself, with one exception, a Blue Spruce try square.

I thought, good enough for me. Then I looked at the price and moved on.

If you want the most gorgeous try square and don’t care what it costs, get one of the Blue Spruce squares.

For me, if it’s square, that’s good enough.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1533 posts in 3736 days


#12 posted 05-07-2017 11:44 AM

First of all, for woodworking you don’t need the precision of a machinist’s square. You can’t work to those tolerances in wood.

Second, It is easy to check the accuracy of a square. Just set it up on a straight edge and scribe a vertical line. Then flip the square over and see if the line aligns with the square edge. If it does, the square is square!

Personally, after 60+ years of machining and woodworking, I use a Harbor Freight combination square for both. I have checked it and it is SQUARE.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Ben's profile

Ben

488 posts in 3833 days


#13 posted 05-07-2017 12:41 PM

Thanks everyone.

I’m the type who has (recently) developed a zero tolerance attitude towards any tool that is less than awesome.
So I very appreciate quality and thoughtful design.

I’ll look into Starrett, Browne and Sharpe, and Woodpeckers. All look good.

What’s your tool of choice for 45 degree layout? For example building a miter shooting board? Just the combination square? Seems the short fence on those are problematic.

View Woodbum's profile

Woodbum

942 posts in 4041 days


#14 posted 05-07-2017 01:17 PM

Starrett, Incra, Woodpeckers. IMHO

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View Ben's profile

Ben

488 posts in 3833 days


#15 posted 05-07-2017 01:20 PM

I’m liking the Woodpeckers – even though looks a little goofy IMO.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8977 posts in 3552 days


#16 posted 05-07-2017 01:50 PM

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

3069 posts in 1579 days


#17 posted 05-07-2017 03:32 PM

i have a Woodpecker 24” t square but my Harbor Freight combos are just as accurate and a whole lot cheaper.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

8300 posts in 3241 days


#18 posted 05-07-2017 03:53 PM

After buying and using a Woodpecker 6” try square I got the 12” and am very satisfied with both.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

6362 posts in 3285 days


#19 posted 05-07-2017 05:42 PM

With all do respect I have to disagree with planeman40. Of course I just a newbie @46 years of woodworking. The two things that most improved my woodwork was the addition of a jointer and accurate tool for setting up woodworking machines.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Ben's profile

Ben

488 posts in 3833 days


#20 posted 05-07-2017 05:46 PM

Thanks guys.
Waho – wow, those are some great deals on PEC stuff. Interesting site, never heard of that before.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8977 posts in 3552 days


#21 posted 05-07-2017 05:48 PM

Money well spent Ben, good folks to deal with as well.

View Ben's profile

Ben

488 posts in 3833 days


#22 posted 05-07-2017 05:50 PM

What about the machinist’s square set? Made in India, generic brand?

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13543 posts in 3356 days


#23 posted 05-07-2017 06:05 PM

I have an Asian made machinist square and it’s square. They are fixed blades so more resilient and easier to make square from the get go. But it’s the only machinist square I’ve owned so take my experience for what it’s worth.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8977 posts in 3552 days


#24 posted 05-07-2017 07:17 PM



What about the machinist s square set? Made in India, generic brand?

- Ben

I’m not sure, maybe email them and let us know what they say.

View EricTwice's profile

EricTwice

248 posts in 1509 days


#25 posted 05-07-2017 07:38 PM

even a cheap square can be right.
To check a square for squareness

Take a wide flat board with a straight edge
set your square against the edge with the blade fully extended and mark along the blade. turn the square over 90degrees and check it against the mark. If the blade follows the line exactly. it is square. If it does not, your error is 1/2 the angle of deviation,

(This works for all squares.)

-- nice recovery, They should pay extra for that mistake, Eric E.

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

2095 posts in 1564 days


#26 posted 05-07-2017 08:49 PM

Incra:

The holes are pure genius!

M

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Rich's profile

Rich

6398 posts in 1565 days


#27 posted 05-07-2017 09:47 PM


Incra:

The holes are pure genius!

M
- Madmark2

It’s a tool for marking. Not a useful substitute for a try square, double square, or much else. I bought one of those 20 years ago and have maybe used it a dozen times. If I lost it, I sure wouldn’t bother replacing it.

It’s funny how your posts all are short zingers that seem as if they are supposed to be the defining answer. Like the thread about router lifts when you posted a photo of an iGaging digital height gauge with the comment that you don’t need a router lift, all you need is one of these. You’ve still never answered my question as to why your repeated reference to a post about your laser engraver actually links to a post by Madmark, when you are Madmark2.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Lemwise's profile

Lemwise

91 posts in 1592 days


#28 posted 05-07-2017 09:47 PM

There’s a metal shop across the street from where I work and they made me a 4mm thick stainless steel square. It was made on their CNC milling machine and it’s off by 0.03mm over the length of the 35cm leg. The square also has a diagonal cross brace (with my name milled in it) and that will ensure it will never go out of square. It didn’t cost me a thing because it was a scrap piece of steel and one of the guys made it for me after hours.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

6362 posts in 3285 days


#29 posted 05-07-2017 09:54 PM


There s a metal shop across the street from where I work and they made me a 4mm thick stainless steel square. It was made on their CNC milling machine and it s off by 0.03mm over the length of the 35cm leg. The square also has a diagonal cross brace (with my name milled in it) and that will ensure it will never go out of square. It didn t cost me a thing because it was a scrap piece of steel and one of the guys made it for me after hours.

- Lemwise

I can’t figure out how this will help the Original poster. Are you saying he should have a machine shop make him one?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1976 posts in 2869 days


#30 posted 05-07-2017 11:23 PM

You can pry my Starretts from my cold dead hands, but I also use an Empire from HD that’s just as accurate.

View eflanders's profile

eflanders

332 posts in 2826 days


#31 posted 05-08-2017 01:08 AM

IMO Accurate tools help to setup tools properly to do accurate work. I could not afford Starrtt, so I bought Mitutoyo.

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

4321 posts in 4084 days


#32 posted 05-08-2017 02:29 AM

You can dress the lands inside your current square so that it is “perfect” again. That’s how I handle it. I have a framing square that is dead on, after dimpling it at the vertex. By “dead on”, I mean I can do the flip over method and run lines with a .3 mm mechanical pencil and see about .1mm fattening over the 22.5”. I don’t use it for framing; I have another that is “good enough” for that. I use the thing for making chests (like my carving tool chest) that I want to have a nice sliding fit for the drawers, and not have them rattle.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13543 posts in 3356 days


#33 posted 05-08-2017 03:15 AM

They say you can fix them but I don’t know how many times I “fixed” my cheap combo squares and within time they would be out of square again. It just gets old.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

4321 posts in 4084 days


#34 posted 05-08-2017 03:40 AM



They say you can fix them but I don t know how many times I “fixed” my cheap combo squares and within time they would be out of square again. It just gets old.

- Rick M

Fair enough. I use my compound miter saw for cutting unless I’m away, then it’s a speed square. The rest of my stuff is made by Starrett, for the fine stuff. Again, except for marking long things less than 2’, where I use that tuned up framing square.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

7700 posts in 4343 days


#35 posted 05-08-2017 04:16 AM

1/32” over 12” is really not that bad!

I prefer a high quality drafting triangle similar to this description in Popular Woodworking, much lighter, and very easy to check for accuracy.
The drafting triangles I use are from my days in high school ….. way too many years ago, and they are still good to go!

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10861 posts in 2462 days


#36 posted 05-08-2017 04:43 AM

I lucked into a set of 4 engineers squares squares.

Check PEC blemished cosmetic seconds on ebay. Good stuff from what I’ve heard if you don’t mind minor dings scratches and paint chips.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Rich's profile

Rich

6398 posts in 1565 days


#37 posted 05-08-2017 05:08 AM

It’s easy to test the squareness of your tool. Just draw a line, flip it over…...

This is why we need something on LJ akin to the Apple “I agree” button. And, like Apple, when you click that you agree, it should pop up a dialog box that confirms you agree that you agreed.

Agree to what? You should have to agree that you have read the thread in its entirety and are confirming that what you are suggesting has not been suggested prior in the thread.

The penalty? The ridicule of LJers. Shame be upon you.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Rich's profile

Rich

6398 posts in 1565 days


#38 posted 05-08-2017 05:09 AM

Oh yeah, and +1 on PEC tools. Every bit as good fit and finish as Starrett for half the price (I own both).

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13543 posts in 3356 days


#39 posted 05-08-2017 05:41 AM

You can also check one square against another. For example I can put my Lufkin against my Starrett and there is no light between them, dead nutz. If you see light then one or both are out of square, that’s why it’s nice to have something high quality so you can check your equipment and other squares against it.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10861 posts in 2462 days


#40 posted 05-08-2017 05:45 AM

Yep. That why, for me, stumbling onto a set (4,6,9,12) was awesome. They were only B grade but dead square is dead square. Especially when you have multiple references.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

16083 posts in 2114 days


#41 posted 05-08-2017 12:03 PM

I’ll just reiterate, Starrett is the bee’s knees. Brown and Sharpe, Mitutoyo and PEC all are excellent as well. For a $100 budget, this is what I'd order.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Rich's profile

Rich

6398 posts in 1565 days


#42 posted 05-08-2017 12:56 PM



I ll just reiterate, Starrett is the bee s knees. Brown and Sharpe, Mitutoyo and PEC all are excellent as well. For a $100 budget, this is what I d order.

- HokieKen

Can you provide any data, or links to reviews, to support that? Even anecdotal evidence such as telling us that 2 out of 5 PEC squares you bought had to be returned?

Without it, what you’ve given us is a personal opinion. You’re certainly entitled to it though.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View SignWave's profile

SignWave

472 posts in 4011 days


#43 posted 05-08-2017 01:11 PM

I often use an Empire e2994 square. It’s very affordable, accurate, and holds up well. It’s only 7”, so I’m thinking about getting the 12” version to go with it. I can understand the desire for a starrett, but in my shop, things get dinged, and the empire gives me square lines.

-- Barry, http://BarrysWorkshop.com/

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

16083 posts in 2114 days


#44 posted 05-08-2017 01:22 PM


I ll just reiterate, Starrett is the bee s knees. Brown and Sharpe, Mitutoyo and PEC all are excellent as well. For a $100 budget, this is what I d order.

- HokieKen

Can you provide any data, or links to reviews, to support that? Even anecdotal evidence such as telling us that 2 out of 5 PEC squares you bought had to be returned?

Without it, what you ve given us is a personal opinion. You re certainly entitled to it though.

- RichTaylor

Sorry, I should have clarified that it was my opinion. I only own one PEC square – a 6” double square blem – and I love it. As I said, they make excellent tools. I just haven’t found anything that I like better than my Starretts. It’s really a matter of feel and balance and I prefer the readability of the satin chrome Starrett blades to any other I’ve seen. But yes, it’s my opinion.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Rich's profile

Rich

6398 posts in 1565 days


#45 posted 05-08-2017 02:10 PM

I knew what you meant, Ken :) Starrett is certainly the de facto standard for quality tools. Just as the old saying goes, no one ever got fired for buying IBM — you can not go wrong buying Starrett.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13543 posts in 3356 days


#46 posted 05-08-2017 06:15 PM

I own a few brands (Craftsman, Sears, Stanley, Johnson, Brown and Sharpe, Lufkin, Starrett, & Blue Point) and will confirm that of those, Starrett is in fact the bee’s knees. If anyone would like to send me a PEC for comparison I will be happy to evaluate. I am a certified bee’s knees testing lab so that isn’t just my opinion.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View brtech's profile

brtech

1079 posts in 3898 days


#47 posted 05-08-2017 07:31 PM

I’m a square addict.

If you have used a Starrett (or Browne and Sharpe or Mitutoyo) combo square, then you will know the difference if you pick up an Empire or HF square. They are much smoother to operate. You can get (or align) an HF combo square to be square, and the rules are accurate enough, so it is, or it can be made to be, accurate enough to use. But the better squares are just a lot nicer to use.

I’ve used full spec PEC and PEC blems. They are in between an Empire and a Starrett. Not as smooth, but smoother than the less expensive brands. Square out of the box though.

I also have a Lee Valley 3” double square that is ALWAYS with me when I’m in the shop. A really great tool. I picked up a 6” PEC blem double square. Nice, but nowhere near as nice as my LV 3”.

For fixed squares, I have the 6” one piece Woodpeckers square, and I think it’s one of the best tools I own. Dead nuts accurate, very useful size. There was a sale on Shop Fox 12” fixed squares and I have a couple. Useful for lots of things, but not really great tools. I also have a couple Bora “squares” that have detents for several different angles. Very handy in the right circumstances.

You really should have a decent speed square. It really is the right tool for a lot of simple tasks in the shop. I have the aluminum Swanson. And you need a decent framing square. I have an older one that is really accurate. I picked up an HF that was way, way off, I punched it a lot closer (you can adjust a framing square a little by using a center punch along the diagonal where the two sides meet to widen or narrow the angle, but eventually threw it out.

I do have a couple drafting triangles. VERY accurate and you can throw them around, drop them or otherwise abuse them and they remain square!

And I have a small set of Taiwan engineers squares. They didn’t turn out to be any more accurate than my Woodpecker 6” square, so I do most of my machine setups with the red guy. The smaller one gets used occasionally.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13543 posts in 3356 days


#48 posted 05-08-2017 07:46 PM

I would pay good money for an accurate framing square that I didn’t need to ping twice a year to make square again.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8977 posts in 3552 days


#49 posted 05-08-2017 09:22 PM

• 6 & 8 sided Polygon Rafter Tables

• 304 Stainless Steel Construction
means rust free precision, durability

• Guaranteed to be square
to within .003 inches

http://chappellsquare.com/product/framing-squares/

Chappell looks to be of good value for a framing square.

View Ben's profile

Ben

488 posts in 3833 days


#50 posted 05-08-2017 09:24 PM

Guys, many thanks for all the feedback. I never expected this to turn into such a prolific thread.

I’ve ordered a Woodpeckers 8” square – found a good deal on a used one. Will start with that. I like that it’s fixed, and has the registrations on the shoulders. My 4” Starrett will suffice for a lot of the smaller scale stuff where I need the adjustment.
Might pick up the 12” Woodpeckers version as well. And probably eventually a Starrett combination square.

Never thought I could be so excited about a square, and I don’t even have it yet.

Thanks again!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

1 2 next »
66 replies


DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com