Precision squares...

Looking to tune up my equipment: jointer, TS, etc. I bought a square at HD; the kind with one metal rule side and one (fiber? plastic?) base.
Well, the darned metal piece moves inside the base, so I have no idea what is supposed to be "square"! What good is a square that moves inside the base? And why do some of them actually have a screw to adjust it? (this one does not) What would I use to square a square, anyway?
Do you all have any suggestions for a *definitive* "square"? Why are some solid and others not? I've seen "precision" and "super precision"...
What's the difference?
Hep me!
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'fess up. How much did you spend on this thing ? Under $5 ? Under $3 ?
What did you _expect_ !
My bench square is a cheap Sheffield made beechwood and steel strip square, of about 10" arm length. Reasonably made (brass wear strip and good riveting), but no fancy timber. Costs about $10-$12
I also use an all-steel machinist's square of about 4" length for machine setup.
I'd regard both of the above as just about basic equipment for benchwork and anyone with a machine tool to align.
For variable angles, I use a combination square. Get a Starrett if you're in the USA, Mitutoyo elsewhere. Basic rule for combination squares seems to be that a cast iron body (not mazak or zamac) and a rule with etched grads (not stamped or printed) won't go far wrong.
The toolbag square is a folding Nobex - aluminium extrusion and a stainless blade. Surprisingly accurate, and perfectly good for pencil work.
Don't leave your good "master" square lying on the bench, put it away when not in use. Check your bench square from time to time (easy) and replace it if inaccurate.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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The guy that sells the TS-Aligner also sells several different sizes of precision squares. Other places have similar items, but you get what you pay for.
On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 16:26:18 +0100, Andy Dingley

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Another option to consider is to buy something along the lines of Incra's precision squares (both 90 and 45 degree). The blades are solid and can be bought in both 5" and 7" varities.
Look at them here..
http://www.incra.biz/Products/GuaranteedSquare.html
wrote:

HD;
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Adding to Andy's suggestions. Your best bet is a machinists square and don't be afraid to spend a bit. They a strong a solid. One part is thick so it naturally stands on a flat surface without wobble. They come in various sizes. 4-6" is best. As to where to find them, you can find good ones in the Lee Valley Catalogue, and some in Rockler as well.
--
Young Carpenter

"Violin playing and Woodworking are similar, it takes plenty of money,
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Young Carpenter wrote:

... or if your cheap, a plastic drafting triangle is close enough for woodworking.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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wrote:

Handy, but not the same thing. A machinist's square has a solid base that's heavy and wide enough you can stand it up without holding it. And as it's steel, you can use a magnet to hold it too.
I wouldn't spend much on one. There are some very cheap ones aroudn (try Clarke from Machine Mart if you're in the UK) and they're plenty accurate enough.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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Andy Dingley wrote:

A couple of pieces of scrap on either side of the triangle hold it up fine.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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Application, utility, life and precision vary in squares. A complicated subject about a relatively simple tool. Another example of a utility square in http://www.patwarner.com/setup_square.html link. An oblique read may lend some in sight into what a square can and should do. Tho mine is precise enough for most close woodworking, precision ground machinist's squares are required to set and calibrate it and yours. **********************************************************

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Save your money and buy good quality up front. It doesn't have to be expensive.
<http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page2601&category=1,42936,42941&ccurrency=2&SID=>
I wouldn't buy any marking and measuring stuff at the Borg - it's just too expensive after then going and buying something good.
Mike
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I have a Union combo square I use. I bought it out of high school when I did a short stint in a machine shop.
BTW, the other night I decided to see if the company was still in business and did a search on union, combination, square. I don't remember how much I spent and have always figured it as a cheap one.
You know you're getting old when the tool you bought (not my dad or grandad) shows up on the antique tool lists -- sigh....
The good news is they're asking $100 for it.

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Union is an old company and I found out (also) that I have a lot of Union stuff along with a comonay called PEC. Seem like good stuff.
wrote:

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Jim K wrote:

What's the going price for a Union 4" combo?
Who can recalibrate them? Mine's off by ~2 degrees.
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Slightly off topic but... I was having trouble setting my miter saw to be 90 degrees. After tweeking and test cutting a couple of times I checked my 12" carpenter's square and found that it was off about 1/16" in 12"! I then went through all the misc squares I had and wound up throwing out 2 others. Strangely, only one of the "cheap" ones were bad, the other two were Stanley which I thought should have been ok.
Nothing worse than a guage that is bad.
As for machinist squares, I've got a 4" one from Grizzly that seems to be plenty accurate for woodworking machine set up. I think I paid <$10 for it.
Jim

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