Starrett combination square - worth the price

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Bob Davis wrote:

You can get the basic 12" model from Tools For Working Wood http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com for $49
jw
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Is there anything to choose from between the Stanley and Johnson, at the low end, and the Starrett? Are there any brands (or even one) in between the two extremes?
--
Regards,

Benoit Evans
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In rec.woodworking

Look, just because it is cheap doesn't mean it isn't square. Pick a few off the rack and take them down to the lumber aisle and check them on a sheet of 4x8 MDF, which will be absolutely square. You really need to be careful and eyeball them correctly, looking for ANY air gap at all. If it is square when you buy it, it should remain square.
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(Bruce) wrote:

Oh, please. MDF sheets "absolutely square"? You *must* be joking.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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On Sun, 28 Sep 2003 21:29:10 -0400, "K.-Benoit Evans"

Rabone Chesterman.
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson
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Now that's disgusting. :-) I need to have my wife do my shopping. She found a painting appraised at $8000. The little store didn't know what they had and asked $300 for the painting with the frame. She offered $200 for the painting without the frame and bought it. Now we have to carry insurance on the thing.
Speaking of insurance, I better go check my home owners policy and see what it says about a shop full of expensive tools -- getting there one saw blade at a time.

again,
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The Starrett squares have some subtle differences which make them a pleasure to use. For example, the edge of the rule is square to the face (of the rule), so drawing a repeatable line with a knife or pencil is easy. The Johnson square (at least the one that I own) has a rounded edge--the line wanders depending on how I hold the knife or pencil.
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I used to buy whatever square was available in my local hardware store (before HD.) About 10 years ago I bought a Starrett 18" square at a pawn shop for all of $20. I was using it today and it is much easier to read and set than the other "non-Starrett" squares. A couple of years ago I sprung for Starrett's "Builder's Combination Tool." A hefty 24 inch square with an adjustable head.
http://catalog.starrett.com/catalog/catalog/groups.asp?GroupID95
I find myself using this a lot and am impressed with how repeatable angle settings are.
I don't think you can go wrong with Starrett.
Phil
Bob Davis wrote:

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Phil wrote:

I try and not use my Builders Square too much. I'm too afeared I'll use up all its magic.

And in the end its somewhat of a quality of life issue. It just makes the quality of my life that much nicer and judging by the early onset of curmudgeoness I need all the nice I can get.
By the way, Woodcraft sells a 4-piece import that has the same heft as a Starrett I wouldn't hesitate to test drive one and the full set costs the same as the 2-piece Starrett. Also, almost any industrial supply house (MSC/Reid,etc.) all offer off shore squares at a lesser cost than a Starrett. They are worth consideration.
UA100
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Bob Davis wrote:

I don't know about Johnson but fairly recently, (6 mo. - 1 yr.) one of the magazines did a comparison of adjustable squares and the Stanley received a good review. I have one and it's been fine. I have had some crappy ones in the past but this Stanley is square, and a hell of a lot cheaper than the Starret.
--
Donnie Vazquez
Sunderland, MD
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I am very pleased with the opinions and thoughts offered in response to my original query. I thought it was pretty balanced. One reader sent me a link to a website that had a very good tutorial on the various heads offered with Starrett tools. That was educational. I did not even know you could get a protractor head.
So I've decided to
1) stalk ebay and see if I can find a starrett at some savings 2) if 1) fails, go buy a Stanley 3) Buy a forged steel starrett with all the heads when I make the purchase of a good jointer and planer for my shop.
I'd prefer to start with number 3, but its kind of expensive. Until I get milling tools, I think the accuracy of a starrett will be academic for me.
Bob

vs.
just a

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On Mon, 29 Sep 2003 18:35:17 GMT, "Bob Davis"

In the meantime, the Fine Woodworking web site has an article on tuning combi squares. This could come in handy with any square.
<http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00127.asp
However, it won't put the beautiful markings and precision feel of a Starrett, B&S, or other high-end model into the cheaper tool. <G>
Have fun, Barry
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On Mon, 29 Sep 2003 10:44:26 -0400, Donnie Vazquez

I actually have a *gasp* Craftsman combo square that's accurate, but I still prefer my Starretts.
It goes beyond square, the Starrett rule is much easier to read, the mechanism works better, the blade edges are truly parallel, and the ends of the blade are truly square with the edges.
I use the Craftsman outdoors, on construction type stuff, and it's the one I loan out. <G>
Barry
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Truthfully Bob, you can do fine woodwork with either. I used a cheap stanley as child for my tool pouch, its been dropped plenty, its still around somewhere and plenty useable for carpentry work. Now of course I've used Starrett and Millers Falls machinist quality Comb. squares here in the shop and its really hard to go back once you've used really nicely made tools. It took me a good long while combing the flea markets and the bay for a good deal and I'm glad I waited because I fould some very good deals and acquired quite a lot of Starret tools that are useful for woodworking. And your odds of getting a quality used tool are really pretty good when you're buying high end stuff like Starrett.
My advice, keep an inexpensive square for outside the shop, not necessarily a comb square, tri squares, machinist's squares and aluminum framing squares are very handy too and affordable. Then keep your eye out for a machinist quality square at a good price.
David
P.S. As you grow older and your eyesight changes you'll appreciate the readability of the Starrett scales. :)
says...

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This thread made me go look at my combo square set to see what it is. These are fairly old tools that were my dad's that I got after he died. It appears that the protractor head and the center finder head is a Starrett as it says " L.S. Starrett Co. Athol Mass U.S.A. No. 12". The rule in it has no name. The Center Finder head has no markings, but appears to be a Starrett only because it looks the same as the Protractor head and has the same tightening knob. It has a nicely marked Union Tool Company rule that has been broken off at about 9". The square head has no markings, but looks like the Starrett protractor head but has a different shaped adjuster knob. It has no scratch awl and never did , there being no place for it. This one has a "Universal No. 65" 12" rule from the Lufkin Rule Company. All I know is that the square seems square (by the board test), the center finder seems to find the center, and the protractor head seems dead on at any angle that I can test with something decent (i.e. 45 and 30 degrees. That old Starrett protrator head moves very smoothly and is clearly well made. I will say that the Union Tool rule seems to fit best in all of them sliding more smoothly than the others, too bad it was broken at some point. I probably should get a Starrett rule for them some day.
Dave Hall
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