Got any recommendations for squares?

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el_Pedr0

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I'm about to do a wardrobe build and am thinking some reliable squares will help. Up to now I've had to get by with a cheapo screwfix combination square (though found a video on this forum today that will help me get it square - yay!), and a set of lidl squares which aren't really square.

Seems like you can fork out a lot in the pursuit of perfection, but I want to strike the right balance between price and squareness.

Anyone got any good experiences?

As a starter for 10, I've seen these on Amazon: Faithfull FAIESSET4 4 Piece Engineers Square Set 50,75,100,150 mm (2 Inch, 3 Inch, 4 Inch, 6 Inch) in Wooden Presentation Case : Amazon.co.uk: DIY & Tools. Some mixed reviews in there.
 

Ttrees

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I've got a soba 150mm square like that, for a tenner in axi.
Could be the same ones but stamped, which the one I have isn't.
Mine is bang on, couldn't fault it.
 

D_W

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vintage hardened - all of the unhardened squares are temporary junk that will get scratched and dinged by anything, and in combination types, slide roughly, get abraded by foreign dirt and deform easily.

Find a combination square with a hardened *head*. The rules are often hardened, almost always. but the heads wear and are sloppy. A hardened head will operate like ice and not wear out, and a used version will generally still be more accurate than a square with an unhardened head, and it will stay that way.

I don't see any right now on ebay.co.uk right now other than those coming from the US. I have two lufkins and a starrett (used tools are common here) and have had a gaggle of other used squares (including starrett, etc,) where the head wasn't hardened, as well as "PEC". the two older hardened squares are more accurate than any of the unhardened, far more accurate and far better working than the new PEC.

As far as the engineer's squares go, get yourself one that is square and checked against a combination square if you want little engineers square, but don't be surprised to find how accurate they are like gambling. an $8 square from india may be dead on, and then some cheesy anodized aluminum version like "incra guaranteed" or whatever they call them will come in a nice box and potentially be far off.

Friend of mine here got one of the latter, certificate and all. He never seemed to have luck building things square with it so he shelved it, almost unused. He bought a certified starrett square (for enormous money) and the incra square was nowhere close. $100. He bought it because he wanted a large engineer's style square but didn't want to buy an engineer's square because of the cost. I had a three square small set from india that was far more accurate and I think at the time, it was $25 for all three.

bottom line, if it slides, hardened head used is far better than unhardened new. Anything else, have one square that's true and then check the rest with it and leave it in its case otherwise so that it remains true. If you have a friend with a true square, then you don't need to spend the money on "the true one", just check a cheap square and when you find one that's true, that becomes your true square that you set aside.
 

D_W

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follow up in case anyone is wondering how if you tell a head is hardened (90% of listings for combination squares say they're hardened, but the sellers are reading the rule - almost all rules are hardened).

The head on a square will very clearly be marked hardened, either proud of the surface or stamped in (starretts are stamped in, but you'll probably not find starrett or mitutoyo cheap even used as there's too many fanboys).


If you scroll through the pictures, you'll see the "hardened" on the head.

Someone refinished this one - a more realistic target price in the US for a hardened head and 12" rule for an old lufkin square is about $40.

A used lufkin hardened head square is better than a low end starrett US made square new with an unhardened head (and a lot cheaper). If you drop or bump the lufkin square, the high hardness head will not deform.
 

TheTiddles

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Many options available, I go for what they call engineers squares as they are cheap and plenty accurate enough. If you have a stick, you can check square, just use it across the diagonals, no expensive tools needed.

No matter what you buy, if it’s been dropped once, it might not be square anymore.
 

Peter Sefton

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We have a wide range of squares available from iGaiging combination squares to Woodpecker stainless steel squares but our most popular one is the Fisher, I have been using mine for over ten years without fault.


 

Cabinetman

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For what your doing, ie 600mm wide marking, I would go for a home made wooden Roubo style, you can plane the working edge to square whenever you want/need to, I recommend not testing it against another square as was stated above— draw a line across a piece of ply etc then turn the square over and compare the lines, remember though, the discrepancy is only half the amount shown. Ian
 

thetyreman

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I find old rabone/chesterman squares are good and still reasonably priced second hand, my favourite are starrett though.
 

Hornbeam

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When gluing up It is much more accurate to measure diagonals but this only works assuming you have cut everything to the correct lengths
 

Jacob

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Bigger is more accurate and more useful if you are doing big things like wardrobes.
Make your own? 3/4/5 triangle for the right angle but the other angles could be 30/60º or 45/45º. Make one of each? Rail on bottom edge to register against the workpiece
 

Sideways

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It's been mentioned above but I would strongly vote "large job needs large square or careful measuring". You can't expect a small square pressed against an edge to give you a line that you can extend for a number of feet. If you're building a big piece, then the "3:4:5" triangle will give you a way to make or mark a large square with a 90 angle. A home made square with sides of 600mm, 800mm and a 1000mm diagonal (or 450, 600, 750mm) might be worth making out of some stable sheet material - even 6mm MRMDF - for the job and for the future.

(Snap !)
 

Jacob

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It's been mentioned above but I would strongly vote "large job needs large square or careful measuring". You can't expect a small square pressed against an edge to give you a line that you can extend for a number of feet. If you're building a big piece, then the "3:4:5" triangle will give you a way to make or mark a large square with a 90 angle. A home made square with sides of 600mm, 800mm and a 1000mm diagonal (or 450, 600, 750mm) might be worth making out of some stable sheet material - even 6mm MRMDF - for the job and for the future.

(Snap !)
Spot on.
And if it's made of wood it's very easy to correct if it's lost accuracy due to wear or damp etc.
I doubt you'd find one commercially for sale anywhere because once seen it's obvious how to make your own from a few scraps.
Woodworkers don't need "engineers" squares but they are worth having as long as you don't spend too much. Bahco are good. Also plenty of second hand choices available.
 
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Jameshow

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I have 1200mm plaster darby what's to stop one making a 800 x400 square? Bolted with nyloc nuts and epoxy between???

Cheers James
 

el_Pedr0

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I hadn't actually been thinking about marking the big pieces with the squares. My mind was more on things like marking mortises and such around PSE. However, your comments make me think that actually a big 345 triangle might be very useful for what I'm about to get stuck into.
 
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Jacob

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I hadn't actually been thinking about marking the big pieces with the squares. My mind was more on things like marking mortises and such around PSE. However, your comments make me think that actually a big 345 triangle might be very useful for what I'm about to get stuck into.
Any old square will do just check it out for squareness.
 
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