Best bang for buck for squares and straightedges?

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I've always set my tools up using whatever rulers and squares I have lying around the shop. Well, I caught one of my squares lying to me, so it's time to consider buying some new reference edges.
Well the prices of the Starrett and Pinske edges and squares was kind of shocking to me.
So where can I get the best bang for the buck for these things? For instance, I see Grizzly carries some at a more reasonable price (http://www.grizzly.com/products/items-list.cfm?key&0130&sort=price) But are they worthless, or what? Just what kind of precision should I shoot for in setting up, say, ts or jointer? How long an edge, large a square should I look for? Is my best bet to use a specialty setup tool?
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In accuracy, you mostly get what you pay for ... but how much accuracy do you need? There are some reasonably priced engineer squares available at places like WoodCraft that are more than accurate enough for woodworking tasks and for setting up woodworking blades, bits, etc.
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I requested and got a Starrett 12" combination square for Christmas in 2002. It's worth every penny of the cost. Everything about it is superior to anything I had before. The peace of mind in knowing that it is square and I don't have to be concerned about it is great. I've made my mind up to get the 4" double square and be done with it. :-)

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Me too. But you *will* have an accurate tool. After spending about $20 at Harbor Freight and others on imports - I gave up and bought the Starrett.
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Let me make a suggestion to you. As a diemaker I own a lot of squares. They are all decent quality (Starrett, B&S, etc) but I have one that is dead nuts square (within .0001" over 6") and I don't use it for anything except as a reference to check my other squares. It stays in my toolbox, when I need to check another one I bring it to my bench and check it there. In other words, get one square of the best quality you can afford and use it ONLY to maintain the other ones. If you take care of it, it will never lie to you. Mark
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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That's great advice! Dave
wrote:

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I have an Incra square and am quite pleased with it. You can get them at woodcraft and other places. Also check out the Precision Indicating Squares at: http://www.ts-aligner.com/accessories.htm They seem reasonably priced.
-Peter De Smidt
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Well, my set of three engineers squares from Harbor Freight are as square as my Starret combo square can measure.
Dave Hall
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On 07 Feb 2004 00:02:28 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cs.com (David Hall) wrote:

you got lucky. mine aren't.
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On 07 Feb 2004 00:02:28 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cs.com (David Hall) wrote:

I'm sure they are. And as rigid squares, they certainly ought to be, for they're a lot easier to manufacture with good accuracy.
But try a "low end" combination square and you might as well use a carved stick.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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The OP was asking about squares to set up equipment. That is what I use the engineer squares for.
Dave Hall
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On 07 Feb 2004 17:46:35 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cs.com (David Hall) wrote:

Why have a bunch of them?
Get one GOOD 12" combo, a 6" combo of the same quality, and a saddle square, and you're good to go. You can do the whole deal for under $100 if you shop around.
Barry
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Set of 3 engineer squares from HF were about $10 and like I say as square as the starret combo could measure. The Starret was my dad's and handed down (has all three heads). I also have a Disston wood handled square handed down, a $5 carpenter's square, a $5.99 speed square (I think that is the right term for a fairly rough cast aluminum dohicky from HD) and a plastic drafting triangle. Thus I have far more squares than I need and I have about $25 in them (I don't know what dad spent on the starrets and Disston, but I would bet they were bought used and cheap knowing him).
Dave Hall
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B a r r y B u r k e J r . wrote:

I would consider the above to be the minimum requirement. Like clamps, you can never have enough combination squares when marking out a project.
UA100
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A draftsman's triangle is more than adequate. Also, a T-square 36"long in nowhere near $100. Also, a parallel bar for a drafting table is around $100. Why don't more people use them? maybe because they don't cost enough. I set my drill press with a 30-60 triangle, my bandsaw with it also. I use a parallel bar for my jointer and my planer, and a 45 degree triangle for setting my table saw and es[pecially the miter guage. By the way, a UniFence fence is wonderful for setting up the planer; it is long, very stable and very straight.
On Sat, 07 Feb 2004 13:59:43 +0000, Andy Dingley

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On Sat, 07 Feb 2004 16:17:34 -0600, Lawrence A. Ramsey

Or maybe they're a bit unwieldy in the apron? <G>
Drafting triangles do make excellent setup squares, but why go looking for it when a perfectly adequate tool is already in your pocket?
Any good combination square measures 90 and 45 degrees accurately, is square to the handle on both sides and ends of the ruler, is very easy on the eyes with clear markings, measures depth, thickness, and distance to about 1/128" accuracy, quickly finds centers of boards, acts as a great marking gauge, and fits in your pocket. All of this can be done with no extra parts or add-ons, just the blade and handle.
A 6", my favorite size, is about $40 or so, brand new on eBay.
It's the Swiss Army layout tool! <G>
Barry
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On Sat, 07 Feb 2004 16:17:34 -0600, Lawrence A. Ramsey

A small engineer's square will stand up on its edge. A draughtsman's square won't.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

It will with the aid of a little plumber's putty.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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OK, not having much difficulty finding reasonably squares. Thanks everyone for the pointers! Lee Valley has a good collection of them for good prices.
Straight edges aren't leaping out of google the way I was hoping, though. Any help to offer there?

I've got a 6" jointer coming (maybe tomorrow...) so I'd like to get a hold of a good straight edge for setting it up, but don't want to drop another $100. I'm thinking 36" would be adequate, ya?
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About the only place I know you can get a decent straight edge on a saturday morning is Grainger. (I think their open saturdays, I tried checking but the web sites down).
I was looking to replace the square head or buy a new combinati0on square setup. IIRC Woodworker had the Starrett combination with cast square head for ~ $70, Grainger had the combination set with a forged head for around the same price, or less.

LMAO.....
You won't get a relyable 36" long straight edge for $100.
A 24" Starrett is in the neighborhood of $80. The price of a good steel rule is not lineal.
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