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Thread: Seems I'm more square than my set-ups

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Seems I'm more square than my set-ups

    I've been struggling for the last few years to get things perfectly square in my shop. I have trouble with edge joining, table legs, etc. Just can't seen to nail that 90 degree mark. I've been fussing with my jointer and table saw a lot lately. So.... I went to a machinist friend of mine and asked to borrow his straight edge. He also lent me what are called 1-2-3 blocks. Ground perfectly square and true.

    Well, I worked on the jointer for a while and got the table where I wanted it, but was still having trouble with the fence. Then it hit me. I've been relying on a 6" machinist square I purchased about 15 years ago that I know has not been reeeealy well taken care of. So - I checked it against the 1-2-3 blocks. Sure enough - my square is out of square.

    So, now I know what my next tool purchase will be. I'm gonna go out and git me a good square!

    I'm guessing that if I ask, many of you will tell me not to mess around and just go get the Starrett combo. True? Like this one?Click image for larger version. 

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    Any other recommendations?
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  2. #2
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    Rennie,

    Check the Wixey out. Works great...and accurate!

    http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyid=5894

  3. #3
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    Well, that certainly would be easier on my old eyes, but it would still leave me without a good square to check my work.

    Maybe I should buy both.............
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
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  4. #4
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    lutefisk capitol, USA
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    you can't go wrong with the starret. i have been using them at my paying job for 30 years. get the forged head and the blades that have the satin finish. also, get the package deal so you have the protractor and center finding heads. i was fortunate enough to get a deal on squares from 2" machinest up to 24" combo and everything in between so i am kind of spoiled. they work good for fine tuning all the machines. pawn shops are a good place to look for deals.

  5. #5
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    I just checked my machinist square using the blocks lent me - across the 6" it's off .010" Yikes!!
    No wonder I'm having so much trouble. Dumb me for not checking sooner.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Orem, Utah
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    For getting machine setups square, I use an engineer's square with no markings. I save the combo square for marking on wood, etc.

    At $29.74, here is a nice-priced close out from Woodcraft (click on the picture to go to the actual page). You can also find the individual squares on that page ... I use the largest square that will "fit" on a particular machine.

    Last edited by Kerry Burton; 12-29-2007 at 08:48 PM.

  7. #7
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    Rennie, a good combo square makes life in the shop a lot easier. Like a lot of things there’s good and there’s better. Of the two Starrett squares in your picture the lower one with the gloss paint is the higher grade. Either one is plenty good for the wood shop, just giving an FYI. Also, if you’re being picky, the satin finish blade is much easier on the eyes.
    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
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  8. #8
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    Another vote for the Wixey but a couple good machinist squares are a good investment. For the 1-2-3 blocks I like the Lee Valley offering. If I don't get it for late-Xmas tomorrow, I'm getting it for myself.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  9. #9
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    Most machinists/tool makers worth their salt had to make a set of 1-2-3 blocks during their apprenticeship. They required careful setup & machining and all dimensions’ had to be flat, square, parallel and to size within a tenth or two (.0001/.0002). These were made out of 4130 steel with a heat treat of Rc55 as I recall.
    The instructor was always thrilled when a set didn’t make it through the inspection department – this was back when people didn’t care if you got your feelings hurt or not. I made these in my 4th or 5th year – about 35 years ago. They look pretty beat up but they’ve been through a lot…
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1-2-3.jpg  
    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
    friend...if you have one."
    --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

    "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second..if there is
    one."
    --Winston Churchill, in response




  10. #10
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    For checking 90º and 45º setups, I use a 6" plastic drafting triangle from my high school days. It has been spot on. I recently got the Beall Tilt Box, which is similar to the Wixey gauge, except it shows hundredths of a degree compared to tenths on the Wixey. Haven't had a chance (or need) to use it yet, but it seems to be very accurate (when checked with my drafting triangle).

    I've also got my granddad's Starrett combination square with the protractor head and the center head. The square head has been lost somewhere over the years, but I use the center head quite a bit for finding the center of turning blanks.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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