• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Combination square

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

mkirby

New member
Joined
5 Aug 2010
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Hi all,

Can anyone recommend a good combination square that will actually come square? Im just starting out so don't want to spend a fortune but i also don't want to buy cheep if its going to be useless. Have not found many reviews and those i have have not been good.

Im after a 6 inch and a 12 inch square.

Thanks

Mark
 

RogerP

Established Member
Joined
7 Jan 2011
Messages
3,785
Reaction score
2
Location
Gloucester
As they're really made for engineering I would imagine most will be good enough for woodworking but anything made by Starrett is usually very good. A quick check of the four I have of differing sizes and various makes all check out spot on and they all came from car-boots :)
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
18,396
Reaction score
884
Location
Derbyshire
Rabone is everybody's favourite. Ebay for only a few quid. If lucky you may find the scribing pin still in place but these are usually long gone.
Bahco look good (and cheap) and nobody has said anything bad about them as far as I know.
 

woodbrains

Established Member
Joined
9 Aug 2010
Messages
2,115
Reaction score
2
Location
Liverpool
Hello,

I have a Starrett, Rabone and Moore and Wright which are all good. My best advice is to avoid those die cast zinc stocked things, which are flimsy, often not square and do not lock well. The rules can be poor too, either badly etched or stamped out, so the ends are deformed and cannot be trusted. The good ones are engineering quality and therefore, not cheap, but worth the investment as they will last a lifetime or more and more significantly, can be relied on. Marking out is important to get right, as you are aware, since errors inherent in a project right from the start are just frustrating. Do not skimp on a poor tool and you will be happy.

I would advise you to get a square with the rule graduated only in the measurement system that you actually use. The ones marked in both metric and Imperial are a pain as you cannot read right across the width of the rule, (for rules marked in both on the same sides) or you will end up having to flip the thing over and then find the graduations are from the wrong end so have to reverse the rule in the stock (for rules with metric one side and imperial the other) It is surprising how tedious this becomes. Besides, which ever system you use, you never use the other, so half the graduations are little better than decoration. I prefer Imperial, and all four edges of my rule on the Starret is marked that way. It is so much more convenient having fractional grads spread over many sides, keeping the markings less cluttered. The Moore and Wright is next best, superbly engineered, British and only slightly less convenient, having metric one side English t'other. At least the grads scan right across the rule. The protractor is bloody brilliant, though. Second hand examples still command high prices, but are worth it. Can be got in all metric, if that is your preference, but not all English. Starrett make all metric, too and Imperial or combos ( I think the combo should be avoided) If you can stretch to a new Starrett, I think you will be happy and never regret it and be safe in the knowledge that it won't have been abused.

Mike.
 

bugbear

Established Member
Joined
16 Jul 2004
Messages
13,074
Reaction score
1
Location
North Suffolk
mkirby":3ne4f95x said:
Hi all,

Can anyone recommend a good combination square that will actually come square? Im just starting out so don't want to spend a fortune but i also don't want to buy cheep if its going to be useless. Have not found many reviews and those i have have not been good.

Im after a 6 inch and a 12 inch square.

Thanks

Mark
Combination squares were originally designed for (metal) engineers, but it was rapidly realised that they're damned handy all rounders. At one time Rabone made a combination square explicitly aimed at woodworkers - in that it was nicely machined, and had good ergonomics, but didn't have (expensive) accuracy that was overkill for woodwork.

Presently, combination squares are available at prices from around £3-4 up to £150. Unsurprisingly the more expensive ones tend to be more accurate.

My recommendation would be to buy a secondhand engineer's grade square, by one of the "classic" manufacturers - Brown and Sharpe, Mitutoyo, Starrett, Moore and Wright.

Being second hand some of the accuracy will have (literally) knocked out of it, but the ergonomics and handling will still be a joy.

BugBear
 
Top