Combo square options

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Forum topic by AGolden posted 08-04-2020 02:48 PM 566 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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74 posts in 182 days

08-04-2020 02:48 PM

Hello All,

I recently dropped my combo square one too many times (yes it has happened more than once), which really isn’t a big real because it was a harbor freight special which has served me admirably for several years.

This 12” harbor freight combo square was actually my first one and while it wasn’t the most pleasant or high quality tool it was certainly accurate enough, square, and tough enough for me to this point.

The last time I dropped it I checked it for square and it had finally gone out. Now I am wondering what my options are to replace it.

Everyone is quick to recommend the Starrett and while i love high quality tools, my propensity for dropping things (see above) makes me hesitant to spend that much on something that could so easily be ruined. Are there any other options for decent quality squares that I could investigate that wouldn’t be so dear if i fumbled it. Thank you all.

10 replies so far

View SMP's profile


2447 posts in 753 days

#1 posted 08-04-2020 02:53 PM

Yep, for $24 you can get a PEC factory blemish one. Still works as good as new just can’t sell as new due to blemish.

View MrRon's profile


5931 posts in 4091 days

#2 posted 08-04-2020 03:43 PM

Why not just buy another HF square or one from the big box stores? Evidently, you don’t need to be square to .000°, so any square will be fine. Just take something that is known to be square with you when you shop for another new square and check it for squareness before buying.

View jmartel's profile


9047 posts in 2998 days

#3 posted 08-04-2020 04:18 PM

Yep, for $24 you can get a PEC factory blemish one. Still works as good as new just can’t sell as new due to blemish.


This. But buy extra of the pins for clamping it down. If you drop it, then it shears the pin off. Shipping is expensive, so I keep like 2-3 extras.

I have a 6” and a 12”. Both work great.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View bandit571's profile


26456 posts in 3531 days

#4 posted 08-04-2020 05:59 PM

Empire…..Swanson….I use both…a lot..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Woodknack's profile


13471 posts in 3228 days

#5 posted 08-05-2020 04:34 AM

The PEC has a good reputation so if you are about saving money I would go that route. Personally I plonked down the money for a Starrett and it’s worth every penny. I also bought a vintage Lufkin from back when they made quality tools and it’s not as good as the Starrett but it is very good and dead nutz square, paid $1 for it.

-- Rick M,

View xeddog's profile


313 posts in 3855 days

#6 posted 08-05-2020 03:30 PM

If it’s just out of square, clean it all up and re-tune it.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1730 posts in 3697 days

#7 posted 08-05-2020 05:43 PM

I keep eyeing the PEC blemish ones referenced above. One thing you may want to consider is your use. The majority of the things I use a square for are done with a Starret 4” double square, there is always one in my apron and another in the layout tools drawer. I rarely pull the 12” and the PEC blem 6” double has been interesting me. You may find that a smaller square gets dropped much less often that a 12” sticking out of the apron or getting knocked of a table.

Edit, well dammit, for $24 I’m going to finally get the 6”double

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View chriscarter's profile


28 posts in 939 days

#8 posted 08-05-2020 06:19 PM

You don’t need a new one. Combo squares are intentionally designed to be re-squared. It’s easy. There are plenty of youtube videos out there that will show you how to do it.

View ibewjon's profile


1934 posts in 3641 days

#9 posted 08-05-2020 08:56 PM

Try a safety line around your neck that will stop the square before hitting the floor. There are also retractable clip on lines for pencils and small tools that might help. We had to have safety lanyards on our tools when working at heights above others.

View Robert's profile


3932 posts in 2328 days

#10 posted 08-11-2020 03:40 PM

If you’re dropping stuff, you need some floor mats

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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