Is there anyway to "square" a square? I purchased a Gladstone try
square last January at the Woodworker show and found that although it
a very attractive, seemingly well made tool, it is not quite square.
A few months back I had a book about hand tools from the library and
the author mentioned that a square can be "adjusted" by taping
somewhere with a ball peen hammer. I can't remember the exact
procedure and I can't remember the name or author of the book.
If the square measures less than 90 degrees, take a center punch and
give it a few light raps with a hammer on the inside corner. Check for
square and repeat as necessary.
If it is greater than 90 degrees, do the same thing on the outside
corner. It doesn't take much to change it - check your results frequently.
Correct, except that I suggest a flat nosed drift instead of a center punch.
Ideally while laying on an anvil (the square that is). The idea is to flow
material outward, not lift it as a center punch will do. Just my 2 pence,
but it has worked for me.
never heard o this one before,,,but i'll bite...
care to elaborate? "whack" is kinda vague
that being said, if i find a tri square out of square, i take the
head, and file the inside edge of the offending square just a hair.
if the end blade while sitting flush to the edge of the head is tipped
over to far, file the bottom edge of the head. if the blade is toed in
towards the head, file the top edge of the inside of the head,,,
no for the tricky part for some,,,if your squares arent square,,,,what
do you use to check them after adjustment?
I guess I was a little overly brief that time, eh?
Filing works, but it's hard to keep (or get) the blade edges parallel. It
certainly can be done, but a good job requires a degree of metalworking
skill not possessed by every woodworker, and it is generally unnecessary
to boot. Usually when a try square is out of whack (G), it's because it
got banged that way.
A less violent-sounding fix, on the same principle, though, is to clamp
the blade in a vise and tap the stock in the appropriate direction with a
hammer and a wood block. If the vise jaws are metal, pad them, too. Check
against a known good square, and repeat if necessary. It usually only
takes a couple or three gentle taps at most.
IME, the blade stays apparently tight. Even so, after you've got it
square again, you can "lock" it in place with a drop of thin CA glue at
the junction of the blade and stock.
For most woodworking purposes, the following method is adequate. If not,
then a try square isn't the appropriate tool:
Joint a straight edge on a piece of scrap that is at least as wide as the
square's blade is long. Use the square and a marking knife to scribe a
line perpendicular to the jointed edge. A marking knife is more accurate
than a scratch awl or pin scribe, which in turn are more accurate than a
pencil. If you don't have a marking knife, an X-acto blade will do (the
#11 is best).
Flip the square over -- that is, put it on the other side of the scribed
line -- and compare the blade's edge to the line. There are several
possibilities. 1) The edge matches the scribed line: good square. 2) The
edge forms a V with the line: the blade is out of square. 3) The edge
contacts the line in two or more places but not everywhere: the blade is
In either (2) or (3) the deviation is twice the error. If (3), then the
blade must be straightened before squaring.
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