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Thread: Which combination square?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Oliver Springs, TN
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    1,726

    Which combination square?

    I use a 6" combination square for most of my layout chores. I've been using the one I have now for a couple of years. This is the second one that the little tab that goes in the grove on the rule has worn out. It will not hold the rule without the rule moving. I think the problem is that it's cast not machined. The metal is soft and it wares over time.

    I'm looking at getting a double square, probably a 6". A starrett would be nice, but I don't want to drop that much change.

    What do you use or would recommend?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    274
    Check out Rob's post (sorry, I'm going to make you search for it!) on the blue vialed empire combo squares. Not quite at the specs as the staret, but for around 10 bucks at Homey's you can't beat it. Made in USA and within .001 per inch. I tested mine with an engineers square and it was dead on and I'm picky. My larger 16" was only .005 out at full extension and it was less than $20. Just look for the blue vials on the empires.

    I think you'll be happy with them. (they're not the double square, but...)

    Brian
    That's not even a smile! That's just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind!

  3. #3
    Take a look at lee valleys double squares, they come in 4 and 6 inch lengths (about $35)and there made in the US. Theres alot of other brands (SPI, PEC) that make the same square but there made in china.

    http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/pag...79&cat=1,42936

    Oh and free shipping from lee valley march 18 to 28

    Id stay away from those cheap squares at homedepot/ lowes, I have one of those 6" empire combination squares and the little tab has worn just like you said.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Whittier, CA, USA
    Posts
    512
    I believe the Empire square has an aluminum or zinc head. If you are wearing out a steel square you will surely wear out an aluminum/zinc square faster.

    For the cost I think the Rockler, Woodcraft and Lee Valley house brands are nice.

    Rockler Woodcraft


    If you by an L. S. Starrett you will be able to get parts for it. I prefer the machined steel L. S. Starrett model, durable accurate 60% more expensive

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Dan Gonzales; 03-20-2011 at 10:45 PM.
    Dan Gonzales
    Whittier, CA, USA
    Dona nobis pacem

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Oliver Springs, TN
    Posts
    1,726
    My last two have been empire. Both have been dead on square. The only weak spot is the threaded holder thingy. Like I said the little tab wears and the blade won't stay put. I do have a pair of nice 6" rules though.

    I'm looking at a double square because the head on the combo gets in the way sometimes.

    I've been looking at the one from Lee Valley as a replacement.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Central NY State
    Posts
    3,374
    I've had a LV 4" double square for years. It is a fabulous tool, and has never let me down. I use it virtually every day I'm in the shop.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Decatur, Alabama
    Posts
    518
    For a small square, you really shouldn't be able to tell any difference in accuracy of a square. A spec of sawdust, the angle you hold your pencil/knife at, etc should make a much greater difference than the quality of the manufacturing. If you have a good standard, like a non adjustable machined square from rockler or other stores, you can just check any old square to verify it. I've used starret, mitutoyo, brown & sharp at work, all seem about the same to me. I use a harbor freight at home, haven't really noticed a real difference in the tool. Better quality control and verified accuracy are probably the only difference. You can do the same by verifying it with an accurate standard. I do have a starrett protractor at work, and I am partial to it. It's extremely well marked/defined, holds position well, much better than any other protractor with sliding rule that I've seen.


    I've always wanted a really nice 30-40" square for setting straight edges to cross cut a full sheet of plywood, but something that big that's accurate (think .002" per ft, not per in) is finicky and if you drop it, odds are it's junk. On a 48" cut, it would be like .008" off and that's really not noticable. .001"/in would be 3/64" off across a sheet of plywood and that's very noticable.

    As far as parts, I havent' tried but I wouldn't be supprised if starret parts dont' fit all the other combination squares out there.

    I would strongly recomend a good fixed square with a good accuracy, .001"/ft ideally. Use that to verify whatever square you have, check it occasionally, check it if you drop it, etc. Keep the accurate but affordable non adjustable square in a safe place.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Oliver Springs, TN
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    Thanks Jeb,

    I do have a set of engineer squares I use for my check things squares. I use them to set fences, set saw blades, check squares for square etc.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,020
    My go-to small square is this 6" Incra t-rule:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...51T59G17QC9KA9

    Over its short length, it checks out with my reference square. (A plastic drafting triangle.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Decatur, Alabama
    Posts
    518
    If you got a good standard to veryify it with, I'd go with an inexpensive square. You can always take it back if it doesn't check true against your standard.

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