It’s hip to be square

So, after this weekend’s fun and festivities in the shop, I decided to go out to the shop and take a look at the squares I have in my possession. No, none of these babies is a Starrett, but I can guaran-dang-tee if I had used one of them during the project assembly, I wouldn’t be in the mess that I am.  It’s not an unimpressive collection, and I guess if I use them on a more regular basis, well, maybe I could do a better job on my assembly.

First on the top I have top and left side is my carpenter’s square.  It’s a very useful tool. Besides measuring large cases for square, this baby also makes figuring out the rise and run of a slope a piece of cake…  There is so much more I can do with this, but that’s for more complicated carpentry projects, and I still have a lot to learn.

I have my combination square.  Got it on special at a local woodworking shop, and it came prepackaged with a center finding head and a protractor head as well.  This is a handy tool for drawing lines across a project, setting the depth of a blade or bit, and, yes, finding square.

To the right are a pair of assembly squares I picked up a few years ago.  These babies are dead-on 90 degrees, and are great for clamping into place to force an out-of-square assembly into square.  They also make gluing up miters a whole lot easier, since the points of the miter can nestle into place in the corner as you clamp the sides into place.

At the bottom of the combination square, you can see my saddle square.  While this won’t help you make an assembly square, it is totally awesome way to transfer marks dead one from a face to an edge.

Next to that is a handy little double square I use a lot when I edge plane a board.  I just press the beam against the face of the board and run the blade over the edge I just planed to ensure I’m getting a nice square edge on the board.  This one is small enough to put into a shop apron pocket… if I wore my shop apron.  Instead, I rest it on my bench.

The orange square is my speed square I picked up at the local home improvement center.  Again, another VERY handy carpentry square with ooodles of uses I would have to work as a carpenter to use, but simply using it as a square is an easy way to get that square assembly you are looking for.  It also doubles as a saw guide for circular saws… a sweet multi-tasker.

The last one is my sliding square… it’s a pretty cool tool for laying out square lines during design. Again, this can help in the marking and cutting, but not so much during assembly.  But, that’s OK…I’m down with that.

Do I need to buy new squares?  Nope. What I need to do is set up something around the bench where I can keep these squares a lot closer at hand.  I figure if I can see them, maybe I will be encouraged to get them when assembling my project. I’m gonna start doing that.

Oh, about the title of this blog post.  Once I wrote the title down, you KNOW this was the song going through my mind…

As a woodworker who came of age during the 1980’s, consider it my gift to you!


2 thoughts on “It’s hip to be square”

  1. Tom,

    My questions to you:

    1.Are they all actually square? I’ve found over the years that my levels weren’t level, and my squares aren’t square. So I bought new & better, and saw immediate benefits. Not sure if the collection above fits this description, but it looks suspiciously like my collection.

    2. Are there times when the inaccuracy of one of these squares killed a project (or made life really difficult for you)? Side from not using them, I mean!

    Thanks, great post! I need a better carpenter square; if you like yours, please let us know what it it’s & where you picked it up.

  2. A good question… I’ll be use a drafting square to help determine what’s truly square…

    Now, for your second part… I have yet to get burned by one of these squares – WHEN I use them… 🙂

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