If you have been a regular reader of Tom’s Workbench, you know of my legendary, epic failure in trying to assemble a square project. I mean, everything starts out straight and true. I have all kinds of clamping squares at my disposal. I know the whole make the diagonals measure up trick. Heck, I even carry my well-loved double square that I keep handy… just in case…
But, I still end up from during assemblies struggling to get things nice and square in the clamps. My problem? I need a convenient way to measure square with one hand while adjusting clamps with the other. My combination square is great, but if you are too ‘enthusiastic’ in your handling of it, you could force the blade to unseat from the head, giving you a bad reading. Nope, I needed something fixed to a handle at a true 90 degrees.
It was then that I realized I had never – in my dozen plus years of woodworking – ever used a try square.
What a dope I am.
You see, the try square is one of those tools you can handle easily. It has a fixed blade with a handle that’s beefy enough to get a good grasp on. Slap that puppy in a corner, and you can easily see how true things are. And, if you have to mark a line across a board’s surface, heck, that’s easy as can be.
My friends over at Bora tools sent me a pair of beauties. Two of ’em.. one with a 12 inch blade, the other with an 8 inch. The markings are etched on, making them easy to find and read. So, if you need that line to go out only four inches, bingo, you got it. It is also etched with a number of angles on the face. Now, I have to admit that at first I was scratching my head. I mean, isn’t this just a square?
Then it hit me, the red handle on this square has a number of angles where the blade enters the body. By having one of these facets touching the board, you can get some common angle readings – 45, 22.5 and a few others. The handle also has a ledge on it, allowing you to rest the square’s handle on the face of the board, preventing it from rocking while you are trying to mark. Nifty.
While I haven’t had much woodworking time in the shop recently, I was able to use it when assembling my mom’s step stool, and, I have to admit I used it while tiling my bathroom. Nice, clearly marked lines were great to work with while on the tile saw, making my life a whole lot easier.
Oh, I’m sure I will still have my challenges while trying to make my assemblies square. After all, I’m me, right? But, I’m hoping that by keeping the try square handy at the bench, my accuracy will improve.