First True Square - $20 a $30

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by rolfeskj posted 04-20-2020 01:18 AM 810 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rolfeskj's profile


28 posts in 2682 days

04-20-2020 01:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: kinex square shinwa

I just bought a basic jointer and I am looking to improve my wood working accuracy.

I have a speed square, framing square and old combination square. But non of them are probably that accurate:

I want the square to adjust my new jointer fence, check my table saw, check my cuts, etc.

I am looking to spend amount $20 – $30 on one and need some recommendations. I saw a Kinex 6” square on amazon for $22 and a Shinwa square on Amazon for $25.

I am looking for any guidance as I don’t know where to start.

23 replies so far

View woodman71's profile


185 posts in 4177 days

#1 posted 04-20-2020 01:32 AM

A good square is Starrett Square but not in your price range. In my opinion you can get a nice square for your price range . Go on Y tube and look up how to check your square to see if it square . There are video to check it and how to correct it good luck

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6005 posts in 3162 days

#2 posted 04-20-2020 02:01 AM

Try a drafting square.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View rolfeskj's profile


28 posts in 2682 days

#3 posted 04-20-2020 03:43 AM

I ended up getting a PEC 12” combination square blemished for $34 shipped from Harry J Epstein. Should do everything I need it to do.

View WoodenDreams's profile


1125 posts in 764 days

#4 posted 04-20-2020 04:15 AM

I sometimes use a 3”, 4” or 6” machinist square sometimes to square my fences to the table. They come in different lengths and only about $4 each. Or a Wixey Digital Angle gauge. You can find them for about $20 on amazon or .

View Kelly's profile


3128 posts in 3797 days

#5 posted 04-20-2020 05:20 AM

With WoodenDreams

View therealSteveN's profile


6275 posts in 1427 days

#6 posted 04-20-2020 06:39 AM

I have a 6”, 8” and 12” Kinex and they are as accurate as you’ll ever need for woodworking, heavy so they will stand up easily hands free, and with the flat foot design, perfect for machine set ups, like you are looking for.

Mine are this type, they call it Try Square, with base. Larger sizes may go out of your price range though.

An alternative to them is a set with a heavy base, you need that to keep from tipping when you stand it up to a jointer fence, table saw blade, bandsaw blade. Lighter squares when you are adjusting, your also trying to hold the square, makes you crazy.

Anyhow for a complete set, these are very nice, and still are well within numbers for woodworking. Harry Epstein, has a revolving inventory, they get in 100,00o of something, and are out of it in a week, so you could check back. You just need to outwit his very stupid search engine, or click thousands of pages.

If you want lighter weight, I also got a set of these from Lewis. They are as accurate, again, as you’ll need for woodworking, have the foot, edge hook, and these offer a lot of tricks for layout, as well as set up. Easily worth twice the price Lewis is asking for them. Plus I like these iGaging tools.

-- Think safe, be safe

View tvrgeek's profile


1044 posts in 2502 days

#7 posted 04-20-2020 09:14 AM

My tri-squares I knew were not square. I have both a good Johnson and a clone aluminum 6 inch squares and a Marples square along with a drafting square. I found the Johnson square to be dead on. The clone was off. Marples good.
Anyway, for set-up I bought a 4 inch machinist square off Zoro I think. Sure, if I won the lotery it would have been a Starret. dead on.

For fun, I went to Home Depot. Not a single Empire square was. The Johnson speed squars were dead on, but feels less precise than the little machine square.

In other words, you can get square for less than $10. Or buy a Starrer 20-12 for $700. Your choice. Go to Amazon and enter ” machinist square”
For example:

View tvrgeek's profile


1044 posts in 2502 days

#8 posted 04-20-2020 11:42 AM

FWIW, I also use my Wixy digital. Only good to 1/10 degree though.

View Tony1212's profile


447 posts in 2587 days

#9 posted 04-20-2020 12:51 PM

I have a speed square, framing square and old combination square. But non of them are probably that accurate:

- rolfeskj

Probably not that accurate? Why not check them out. Use a piece of MDF or plywood with a factory edge. Using the square and a pencil, draw a line perpendicular to the factory edge. Flip the square over and see if it lines up. If they do, you don’t have to spend any money on a new square and can use it on another tool.

Remember the fence of your jointer is only a few inches high, so you don’t need a square that is accurate out to 2 feet for the fence.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View jdh122's profile


1173 posts in 3670 days

#10 posted 04-20-2020 12:53 PM

Before spending your money, you might want to check your current squares, you might be pleasantly surprised (some speed squares are dead-on). Lots of youtube videos and websites show how to do it, but basically you just put it up to a known straight edge, draw a line, flip the square and draw another line on top of the first one. If they are the same line, the square is square.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View tvrgeek's profile


1044 posts in 2502 days

#11 posted 04-20-2020 01:01 PM

I use the strait edge of my TS. A bit of tape and to be more precise than a pencil line, a knife.

As I mentioned, my Johnson Speed square was right on. I have three clones, 2 plastic, one aluminum. None of them were square. One was close enough to hone square. You can also stand a known square up on a flat surface , unknown opposing it and look for light. Even mote precise than the width if a knife scribe. Far more than anything we need in woodworking.

View Andre's profile


3697 posts in 2659 days

#12 posted 04-20-2020 02:53 PM

Buy a Starrett and you pay once and you have a square to confirm all others for life! That said Im do have an
Empire for outside construction type work and rough cuts, has stayed close. Keep a cheap machinist square attached to my jointer fence with a magnet, seems the only time it goes out of square is after I adjust it:)
Best advice I ever received was, treat your tools with respect and they will serve you for life.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Foghorn's profile


556 posts in 239 days

#13 posted 04-20-2020 03:21 PM

Not that you would use a framing square for squaring up machinery parts but if you want to true up the one you have, it is easily adjusted using a center punch at either the inside or outside corner depending on which way it is out.

-- Darrel

View splintergroup's profile


4005 posts in 2075 days

#14 posted 04-20-2020 03:34 PM

For me, the best bargain was a cheap set of the three engineers squares. Plenty accurate and damn handy size range. Be aware however that once a square has been dropped, it may never recover.

For the ultimate low dollar square in setting your jointer fence, you can’t beat a 90/45 drafting triangle.

View DannyW's profile


284 posts in 650 days

#15 posted 04-20-2020 03:40 PM

I have that Kinex square from Amazon and I love it. Thick, heavy, and perfectly square. Great for aligning my jointer fence.

-- DannyW

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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