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Thread: Squaring boxes/drawers/etc.

  1. #1
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    Squaring boxes/drawers/etc.

    I thought I might share one of my home-made tools that's been seeing a lot of action lately in the shop...

    When building a box, drawer, etc., I used to take out a tape measure to measure the diagonals to make sure the box/drawer/etc., was square. Well, I was never happy with the loss of accuracy caused by holding the end of a tape measure on a point. My measurement depended on exactly 'where' on the corner I held the tape...and whether or not I held the tape in 'exactly' the same spot on the opposite corner.

    Lee Valley sells 'tape tips' to help improve the accuracy. But my solution is easier, and cheaper.

    I think my solution is a bit more accurate, since it uses the inside of the corners to FORCE accuracy. I call these things 'trammels', but looking on some of the sites, all I see are 'beam trammels' that are used to mark out large circles/elipses. So perhaps I'm wrong in what I'm calling them...

    Anyway, here are the ones I've been using for the past week or so:

    Attachment 13074 .......... Attachment 13075

    The two long ones on the left I made about 5-6 years ago. I found a need for a smaller one yesterday, so in about 10 minutes I had a new one!

    As you can see, they're simply two strips of hardwood, with a 1/4" slot routed up the middle...a pair of 1/4-20 bolts with wing nuts...and greater than 45 degree angles milled on either end.

    To use them, loosen the wingnuts, place inside the box/drawer/etc., and spread til the two corners touch the inside corners of the box. Lock the wingnuts and turn the device around to check the opposite corners of the box.

    I find I can get something DEAD square using these things...as opposed to "awful close to square" using a tape measure.

    Oh, and guess what the new one was made from yesterday...Yup, white oak flooring culls!

    Off to the shop...
    - Marty -
    Fivebraids, Inc.
    When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there’s no end to what you can’t do…

  2. #2
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    Those look great Marty, thanks.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
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    Great idea, Marty. I'm still trying to figure out how I'd get one of them inside a hollow form on the lathe.
    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

  4. #4
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    Kewl tool....

  5. #5
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    Marty,
    Nice tools - and of course another crafty use of oak flooring scraps!

    Lee Valley also makes something similar, or at least the hardware for it. They call them Bar Gauge Heads:

    http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.a...,32585&p=32585

    and they make up a gauge very similar to yours. Of course, they cost a bit more than your carriage bolts and wing nuts...

    I've had a set of them for maybe five or six years now, and have fount them very useful.
    Last edited by Jim DeLaney; 09-30-2007 at 09:10 PM.
    Jim D.

  6. #6
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    Hi Marty,
    Well done and I can see it's effective accuracy. That is important, if square is important.......
    Shaz
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney View Post
    Marty,
    Nice tools - and of course another crafty use of oak flooring scraps!

    Lee Valley also makes something similar, or at least the hardware for it. They call them Bar Gauge Heads:

    http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.a...,32585&p=32585

    and they make up a gauge very similar to yours. Of course, they cost a bit more than your carriage bolts and wing nuts...

    I've had a set of them for maybe five or six years now, and have fount them very useful.
    Jim,

    I thought I'd seen something like my little gizmo before, but I couldn't find it. Thanks for pointing those out to me. Same principal, and just as effective. Although, I like mine better...since they cost me nothing and used up more of that leftover flooring!

    - Marty -
    Fivebraids, Inc.
    When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there’s no end to what you can’t do…

  8. #8
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    Marty,

    Thats a great simple little idea!
    We create with our hands in wood what our mind sees in thought.
    Disclosure: Formerly was a part-time sales person & instructor at WoodCraft in Buffalo, NY.
    www.tinyurl.com/thewoodshoppe

  9. #9
    Tis a "Simple " solution to a problem.. Problem is only simple when you know the answer....
    they sell a device to clamp to the corners to assure a square fit, and then they suggest a measurement across the corners to determine the squareness and your simple solution is a good idea. I use the same device to measure and set the alignment of Model T wheels... A preset side dimension device is great and you have devised another use for the measureing "stick" thanks for posting the thought and idea....

  10. #10
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    Hey Marty, those are pretty fancy. My Dad always measured the inside corners too , but he used a folding wood rule. I tried the folding wood rule, but somehow always managed to have a bow in it on one measurement and not on the other diagonal, so I used two free advertising yardsticks and clamped them together with those large paper clips that you fold out the little wire handles and press to open. I finally made a better one and although not as pretty as yours, it was the same except that I beveled the end of each one from the outside to the other edge on each end which gave me a straight line from point to point since the longest part of the points were on the inside of each wood strip. I've got to make a couple of new ones though, because something kinda fell over on mine and broke it. They sure work better than any other method I've ever used, (for me at least).

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