Combination square, precision square, or T square??

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by BenI posted 08-29-2013 11:35 PM 15331 views 1 time favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BenI's profile


333 posts in 3100 days

08-29-2013 11:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: measuring square

My birthday is coming up soon and I’m narrowing down what I want to ask for, one of which is a better square. For awhile I’ve been using a cheap plastic combination square (blade is aluminum of course) but I’d really like to upgrade. I’ve been looking at combination squares but wouldn’t mind having a Woodpecker square but not sure which out of the 3 is the best option for me. I’m a casual woodworker that does projects when I have the time and money.

I’ve been looking at 4 different possibilities:

Woodriver 12” Combination Square

Starrett 12” Combination Square

Woodpeckers Precision Square

Woodpeckers Precision T Square

All except the Woodriver square are pricey and not sure I really need that expensive of one but I don’t mind paying for quality either. More so, I don’t really know which would be the most useful for my needs. I’m thinking either the combination square or the precision square but I’m somewhat guessing.

Thanks so much in advance for the help and advice everyone.

-- Ben from IL

40 replies so far

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 3716 days

#1 posted 08-30-2013 01:05 AM

Any would be great. I’m not sure you could see any difference between #1 and #2 except price. If I got to pick I would go with door #3. But would be happy with any.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View bobasaurus's profile


3708 posts in 4106 days

#2 posted 08-30-2013 01:20 AM

Large combo squares tend to get less and less accurate as they wear… I think I would go for the woodpeckers square. I’m tempted to get one of these:

Just got an email about them this morning. They don’t ship until 2014 though, so I’ll have to be prepared to wait.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View BenI's profile


333 posts in 3100 days

#3 posted 08-30-2013 01:35 AM

cutworm That’s kind of how I saw the two combo squares, especially since the price difference is $80. I’m just trying to decide if it’s more useful to have a combo square or a ‘regular’ one but as Bob points out, combo squares can become less accurate over time.

I’ve also gotten emails and seen postings but I often use bigger width stock so looking for a bigger square, but I’ll look into those Woodpecker ones too. They do look really nice haha.

As fair as purpose goes, is there really much difference between a combo square and a regular one besides being able to make 45s?

-- Ben from IL

View NiteWalker's profile


2741 posts in 3499 days

#4 posted 08-30-2013 01:35 AM

Go for the starrett, but don’t get it from woodcraft.
Several other online retailers have it cheaper. Mcfeely’s and hartville tool both have the same model for under $90 shipped.

My 12” starrett combo square is my most used layout tool in the shop; it has tons of uses, and it holds it’s accuracy so long as it’s not abused.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 3426 days

#5 posted 08-30-2013 01:52 AM

Beni, you’ve done some nice projects. I would go with the Woodriver. It also gives a 45. Starrett not required…unless your parents are rich. :-)

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 3156 days

#6 posted 08-30-2013 02:01 AM

I have a Starrett , an old one and it is nice but I also have 3 different squares from Products Engineering. I buy cosmetic seconds from Harry Epsiein. The accuracy is fine but there may be a paint or polishing flaw.
I have one 24” Starrett blade and 2 from Products Enginerring !
Compared them sided to side with a 20x jewelers loupe, no discernible difference. I am quite demanding in my accuracy . 40+ years of woodworking experience.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View NiteWalker's profile


2741 posts in 3499 days

#7 posted 08-30-2013 04:21 AM

I have a couple of pec double squares; they work great but don’t slide nearly as smooth as the starrett.

It’s about preference. You don’t need rich parents either; just a passion for your hobby.

FWIW, I’m pretty sure PEC makes the wr combo square. I’d go for the seconds from harry epstein.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View BBF's profile


144 posts in 2761 days

#8 posted 08-30-2013 04:37 AM

The Starrett is what is in my tool box but then I got that when I first started as a toolmaker 35 years ago. Starrett, Brown and Sharp, or Mitutoyo You will pay for them BUT they ARE worth it.

-- I've never been disappointed buying quality but I have been disappointed buying good enough.

View Loren's profile


10807 posts in 4570 days

#9 posted 08-30-2013 04:38 AM

I’m not a fan of expensive new squares for woodworking,
but I will confess that the metric woodpecker thing is
something I’ve thought about springing for.

These are all very useful:,42936,42936,42936,50298&ap=1

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 3426 days

#10 posted 08-30-2013 04:57 AM

The two I use the most.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View LRR's profile


25 posts in 2745 days

#11 posted 08-30-2013 06:43 AM

+1 for Epstein. Really nice animation on the website. Great prices and service. instead of a PEC, I ended up with a Mitutoyo comb. square with a small rub spot on the blade. I also got an 18” blade and couple of small double squares (a 4 inch and a 6 inch) – one to keep and one to give to my son. I believe that with shipping the cost was about $80.00. The try squares that Bobasaurus mentioned looked nice and I have heard great things about the Incra try square that DKV uses. The Woodpecker squares are machined aluminum and I am not certain what the Incra is made of. DKV do you know? Starrett and others are steel, which I guess matters if square meets concrete floor. Anyway, the try squares can then become your reference square that you check others against. I guess that is why the Starrett and Bridge City ones are so popular and costly. Wow, is this rambling or what. It must be late.

View NiteWalker's profile


2741 posts in 3499 days

#12 posted 08-30-2013 08:36 AM

With the bridge city, you’re paying more for the name and prestige of owning one, though their kerf maker is a really nifty gadget. With starrett, you’re paying for accuracy and reliability.

I’ve had one of those incra guaranteed squares on my wishlist for a while, but my 4 and 6” pec double square check out as square, so I use those in instances where the incra would be used.

@Loren: PEC makes those lee valley double squares. I love LV as a company, but some cash can be saved going to epstein, on ebay or PEC direct.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Woodbum's profile


942 posts in 3988 days

#13 posted 08-30-2013 11:39 AM

Starrett 12” for a combination square, Woodpeckers or Incra for a fixed 90 degree square and Woodpeckers again for any number of different types of specialty squares. Their machined aluminum stuff is outstanding. You will not go wrong with any Starrett, Woodpeckers or Incra layout tool. All #1 in accuracy. A cheaper alternative is the I gauge line. I have a 4” I gauge double square that I carry in an apron, and leave my 4” Starrett double on the bench. I only can recommend what I own and know to be the quality that I speak of. That being said, I still drool over Bridge City tools, and wish I could afford their top of the line tools.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View waho6o9's profile


8955 posts in 3499 days

#14 posted 08-30-2013 02:14 PM

Get the Starrett 12” for your Birthday Ben and enjoy the lifetime of accuracy.

I just purchased this 6” double square shipped to me for 20.00 from:
Great value here that you might want to consider, good luck on your choice.

Thanks for the friendly advice Wdwerker!

View BigMig's profile


521 posts in 3536 days

#15 posted 08-30-2013 02:49 PM

I own a 12” starrett, a 12” Craftsman and a 4” Starrett double square . While recently making a dovetailed stepstool, I used the 4: double square more than teh others.

Look at the projects you expect to be building; a 12” square might be too large. I bough the 4” square about 8 months ago and use it more than the others combined.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

showing 1 through 15 of 40 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