# Squaring a square

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.
-Chris
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On 29 Dec 2003, Chris spake unto rec.woodworking:

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.
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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.
-- Bill Pounds http://www.bill.pounds.net/woodshop

frequently.
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I have used the ball end of a ball pien hammer. whack both faces, right opposite each other. works great.     Bridger
On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 21:58:01 GMT, "Pounds on Wood"

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IIRC the OP asked about a try square, not a framing square.
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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Chris wrote...

That's for a carpenter's square. To tweak a try square, hold it by the blade and whack the stock on your bench. Sounds grotesque, I know.
Jim
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Hope you read Jim before you tried Scott, who missed the Try (Tri) square.
I have scraped the edge of the blade and lapped to correct a couple fifty year old types I inherited from dad.

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Crawled out of the shop and said. . .:

snip
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? lol
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wrote...

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 not straight.
In either (2) or (3) the deviation is twice the error. If (3), then the blade must be straightened before squaring.
Cheers!
Jim
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