It's Hip to be Square and this beauty is very Square.

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Review by DoctorDan posted 02-10-2011 03:48 PM 5944 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
It's Hip to be Square and this beauty is very Square. It's Hip to be Square and this beauty is very Square. It's Hip to be Square and this beauty is very Square. Click the pictures to enlarge them

Accurate layout is an essential basic component of woodworking. Marking accurately 90 degrees is essential in marking out any type of joinery and dressing timber (making it square on all four surfaces). A few weeks ago I received a long awaited hand made try square from Chris Vesper.

Chris uses brass, stainless steel, and speciality timbers to produce try squares and sliding bevels. Avaliblity flucuates as they are made in limited production runs throughout the year. His try squares are avalible in 4”, 7” and 10” lengths. The square I purchased is 7” (which is most versatile in my shop) with a fiddleback Tasmanian Blackwood inlay.

When? you first handle a Vesper Try Square you’ll be impressed by its mass and solidness (if that’s a word). The blade made of stainless steel is without flex or distorsion and impressed me more than I expected. The bass handle is appropriately sized and comfortable to hold.

A unique feature of the Vesper Try Square is a toggle tab at the base of the handle. Whereas, normally the handle for sag under gravity moving the square, the tab supports the handle at the same level of the blade. When not needed it simply clicks away. After a few weeks in the shop this has proved to be a very handy feature.

How square is a Vesper Try Square? Well mine is not perfect when compared to Chris’ master square. Over it’s 7” length it deviated 0.065mm. Which would account for any gaps in my joinery. :)

What the downsides? The cost is understandable (given materials, time to build, and craftsmanship) but nearly prohibitive. Fortunately this was a Christmas Gift from my wife. The other issue is delivery time. The one I have is from the original production run which was 18 months in the making. Chris informs me that delivery time is now 2 months and set to improve throughout the year.

Colon Clenton's re-calibratable squares the main competitor in the market for Australian fine hand tools. They have the advantage of being able to re-calibrate (orrect slight angle faults), have been around for longer and are slightly cheaper. When discussing the pro’s and con’s with Chris he argued ‘Why do you need to change it? If it’s made accurate and built to stay that way.’ (Paraphrased from a conversation at the 2009 Sydney wood show.) Chis put forward that using a solid brass handle with a wooden inlay is dimensionally more stable than a solid wood handle with brass on on each side. That being said, everyone I know that has used a Colon Clenton tool would attest to the quality and accuracy of his tools.

More photos and a comparison with other squares on my blog.

-- Daniel -

View DoctorDan's profile


281 posts in 3861 days

4 comments so far

View TheBossQ's profile


100 posts in 3539 days

#1 posted 02-10-2011 04:22 PM

At first I was asking myself, “how can .065 be acceptable?”. Then I realized the unit of measure was mm. That translates to .0025”. Plenty accurate and looks fantastic. I like that tab and really like that chunk of stainless steel for the blade. I can see why you wrote “without flex or distortion”.

And as far as cost prohibitive … well it’s never good news when they don’t even list the price on the website. “Call for pricing”. And sit down first.

Congrats, it looks like a great tool.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3961 days

#2 posted 02-10-2011 04:48 PM

thank´s for the rewiew :-)
one tool to be dreamed about even though good layout tools is essentiel
to get fair results in the other end

note : Crown make an adjusble square too and can be bought a lot cheaper at Axminster tools in england
than Colon Clenton´s

take care

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3539 days

#3 posted 02-10-2011 04:49 PM

It’s absolutely beautiful!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


763 posts in 4355 days

#4 posted 02-11-2011 06:10 AM

It’s a good thing I’m a rehabilitated square addict now.

-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

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