A bit disappointing

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Review by RandyMorter posted 04-15-2011 09:23 PM 5604 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A bit disappointing A bit disappointing No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I recently got a Starrett C33H-12-4R 12-Inch Combination Square to replace an old (from the late 1970’s) Stanley 12” that just wasn’t cutting it for me in my hobby level woodworking. I really like this new square but I don’t use it for everything – I carry a Empire 6” from Home Depot in my apron and I use the 6” for most markings due to it’s size being more appropriate for most of what I do.

After getting the 12” Starrett I am not happy with the Empire. I’ve tested it and it doesn’t always lock square, the edge of the blade isn’t nearly as nice, and the numbers are hard to read compared to the Starrett (which is getting more important to me the older I get!).

I decided to try this “cheap” Starrett 6” student model. I couldn’t find much info about it, but because of my other Starrett, and the Starrett squares I used in the 1980’s doing some metal machining, I took the chance on this one. This unit doesn’t have a scribe or spirit level, which appeared to be the main difference, but I don’t use those often anyway and if I do want the level I can use a different tool.

I ordered it from Amazon and it was delivered with no issues.

This square is nice and heavy, as expected, and as compared to the Empire 6”.

The lock requires a lot of torque to get it to lock down. I’m not sure why. The thumb nut is smaller than the one on my C33H-12. Unless you tighten down really tight the blade moves if you push or pull on it with a medium amount of force (I don’t know how to describe this force but I have to torque the lock down more than on the Empire).

But the thing I’m disappointed with the most is the blade. While I’m sure it’s very accurate, it’s hardened steel with no apparent finish on it. The numbers and markings are hard to read, about as bad as my old Stanley 12”. I think they’ll get harder to read with age. It isn’t nearly as bright as in the picture (which is from The blade may rust too.

I’m returning this and getting the C11H-6-4R model. The Amazon return policy appears straight forward. This is the first thing I’ve returned to Amazon and I’ve purchased quite a bit from them from quite a few years back.

Update 4/21/2011

My Starrett C11H-6-4R came in today and I like it. It was about $20 more (and that’s close to 50%) but I think it’ll be worth it. It tightens down easier/better and the blade is easier to read, as you can see in the 2nd photo above. That photo is pretty close to the difference; the 10H blade is about as easy to read as it is in the photo from the head to the “3”. Compared to the satin chrome blade, well, there isn’t much comparison. Bummer. I really was hoping to get by with the cheaper version. I gotta get it back to Amazon now. I just wanted to take a picture of them side by side.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

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228 posts in 3461 days

5 comments so far

View devann's profile


2250 posts in 3463 days

#1 posted 04-16-2011 05:15 AM

I never put much stock in these kind of squares 25-30 years ago. I think most of them were Stanley made but just so-so as far as a quality went. Like you I think of Starret as being something I could trust. I think the first thing you have to ask before purchasing things of this nature these days is where is it made. Some places still work to a higher standard, others haven’t figured it out yet.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4059 days

#2 posted 04-17-2011 12:37 AM

I have two 12’s in my shop and two in the shop where I work the only thing I dont like about them was lenth I like the shorter lenth models for my shop anyway other than that they have been great to work with.
Inever saw this one before. Thanks!

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

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228 posts in 3461 days

#3 posted 04-17-2011 01:34 AM

Hi Darrell – I do think the blade is very accurate – it looks like the marks are machined rather than stamped just like its big brother. I just don’t like the way it locks (but I could be a wimp) and that the blade is hard to read.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 3889 days

#4 posted 04-18-2011 04:27 PM

Hi Randy – More square talk about squares, it’s hard to get a right angle on things sometimes, I no longer use mine to check for squrness since I got the Groz set, I do use it to check distance and depth, and to set fences parallel, and things like making the marks for hinge mortises on each side of the box. I have two 12” ones, one is a Globemaster, the other a Precision, both made in USA, the Precision is so old the name is almost wore off, both are square, and both have nice brass locking nuts and hold tight with a gentile twist. Like a lot of tools these days, the new ones are not always better than the old. Thanks for the review and bringing attention to this tool, which for me, is one that I use all the time.

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

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1 post in 528 days

#5 posted 01-24-2019 02:06 PM

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