Antique Try Square Identification

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Forum topic by gottobtrue posted 07-15-2013 06:39 AM 9177 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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42 posts in 3059 days

07-15-2013 06:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: try square try square identification antique

I recently picked up an antique try square at an estate sale. There are no markings on it besides a hand engraved “CC Woods” (assuming a previous owner). The brass inlays look similar, but not identical, to Disston and Stanley. Does anyone know the manufacturer or even a date range this square was made?

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4 replies so far

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 3174 days

#1 posted 07-18-2013 05:59 PM

Wow, that’s maybe too many pictures.

Close, but that is not an antique try square.

That is a late Viking thatch roof repair tool called a ‘hondslettr”. The geometric symbol is a tri-family clan symbol, typically included on valued Viking hand tools. Akin to the modern-day trowel, the resident village ‘fixer’ would hold the wooden handle and smear an ox-derived fat mixed with a hardening clay over larger holes in a thatched roof to prevent excessive rain water from entering the larger community dwelling(s). The metal parts were fashioned from old, worn or broken swords. The handle angle of the tool appears to be 90 degrees, but that is coincidental. Clearly, the most recent owner etched numbers and lines in the Viking sword metal to use it as a makeshift square. I’d estimate that’s worth approximately $7500. Could have been worth 5-10 times that, if sold to a museum, had the numerals and markings not been added. Very nice acquisition.

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View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 3319 days

#2 posted 07-18-2013 06:15 PM

It’s probably not a Stanley. On the Stanley the space between the three outer circles is more of a triangle with concave sides. On yours, it’s another circle.

Stanley made them up until the 60’s, so assuming other people were copying Stanley there is no telling the age.
If it is factory made then the logo would normally be on the side with the guys initials, somewhere near the tip (under the “1”).
I don’t know if you’re looking for value, but I’ll give it a SWAG. A rough estimate of rosewood/brass/steel squares made in the US from 1890-1960 is 9,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999 give or take a couple. So any value would come down to size and condition – 2-4” being rare and desirable, anything over 15” being a little less rare but still somewhat desirable (collectors seem to like the small ones – I guess you can fit more in the display case) and the 6-12 range being common as dirt. And then only near perfect condition will bring any premium price. Other things that would bump up the value would be if it was mitered so you could do a 45 angle also, or if the wood was fully wrapped in brass. Things that would detract in value would of course be bent blades, owners marks if they cover any of the numbering, and hang-holes.

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View Grandpa's profile


3264 posts in 3957 days

#3 posted 07-18-2013 08:05 PM

Looks like the try-squares we used in wood shop in Jr. High School in the late ‘50’s. That is no antique…...LOL. I am sure ours had a brand stamped on them but I have no idea what they were. They should be available on any street corner but that could be a good user. I do believe ours had the clover leaf brass circles on them just like this one.

View gottobtrue's profile


42 posts in 3059 days

#4 posted 07-22-2013 03:03 AM

Thanks for the replies. I was just curious about the brass inlays… They had me stumped. I’m sure if I need to repair a thatch roof it will come in handy, lol.

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