My wife found a little book in her uncles old stuff recently - titled - The
Steel Square. i'm not all that experienced a woodworker but this was
completely new to me.
Found it an absolutely facinating read about how to use this thing to cut
rafters and all manner of other difficult angles. is there anything you cant
do with it?
would be interested to learn from the ng of your experiences with this
Sorry to disappoint, but as a carpenter I can tell you that a $10
calculator makes all of the tables on a framing square useless. Problems
that would use the brace table, the rafter tables, the hundredths scale,
the essex table(!), are all much faster and more accurate with a
I do, however, still occasionally use the twelfths scale.
A buddy is a carpenter, specializing in stairs though he can build you
a nice house, starting from bare dirt. He swears he can't do math -
algebra or trig is "too hard". But give him a roof rafter rise, run,
horizontal distance from ridge board to top of the wall plate and
how much eave overhand you want and he'll have the first one done
and be marking out the rest from the first before you can shapen
your pencil or clear your calculator. Give him the distance from
the top of the subfloor on the ground floor to the subfloor on the
second floor, along with the horizontal distance he has to play in
or how much space he has on the first floor if a landing or two
are required and he'll have stairs of uniform rise and run - for
the finished floor height - in no time at all. He "can't do math"
but he sure knows how to use his square.
Is the book's author Siegle? Excellent work. The language is slightly
archaic sounding to our untrained ears, but definitely worth the effort.
The amount of geometry that is compressed into the square is phenomenal.
Meaning he steps off rafters and probably the stairs he builds. It's
sloppy and inaccurate and if you and I were together I would show you
both methods and you would understand both methods and discard the rafter
tables and the square altogether.
But the square is romantic and traditional.
"No time at all" is still slower, much slower if landings are involved.
The concepts don't change. What you are trying to do doesn't change. It's
only the tool you are using.
The math isn't that hard. Virtually anyone can do it.
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