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Thread: Square Framing Square?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Brookline, NH
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    32

    Square Framing Square?

    I use a Starrett combination square all the time ever since I picked up a used one off ebay. That of course led me to confirming my suspicions about my other squares -- they aren't square. None match the Starrett, and only the Starrett matches a line drawn with it when you flip it to the opposite side.

    So I've had my eye on this framing square from Lee Valley for a while: http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.a...936,42944&ap=1

    But then yesterday someone posted on another forum about this Starret: http://www.toolbarn.com/cgi-bin/prod...starrett/FS-24

    The rafter version of the Starrett is available at Woodworkers Supply for $17.99, but only the Lee Valley is stainless steel.

    Which do you own, or more importantly which would you buy?

    ~ Fred

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Redwood City, CA
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    6,429
    Starrett's a good brand, but you notice there's no specs on that framing square. Even on Starrett's site, there's no specs. In contrast, Lee Valley is willing to tell you the accuracy of their square.

  3. #3
    I have several old Stanleys from my framing days, stair building , rafter cutting etc. The way I use the big square , you don't need stainless or expensive. If you are gluing up a carcass, it is a quick way to check for square. That means you might get a bit of glue on it. This is different then the Starrett comb square you are very careful with and mark Mortise...and oter joints and layout with
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    I stick to Starrett for measuring devices because they are usually the most accurate. But I've never seen any Starrett for $10, which makes me curious about its accuracy. Lee Valley is consistently gives good value value for your money. If you are really concerned about the stainless steel issue, you will not go wrong with the LV product.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    St. Louis
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    3,287

    I love Starrett tools, but

    I've got a couple old Stanley squares. I've made them accurate by using a punch and a hammer. A couple blows near the inside of the corner narrows the legs, a couple blows near the outside of the corner widens the legs.

    I recently dropped one so I had to set it up again. A pencil, punch, mallet and piece of paper - along with the square. 15 minutes later, it was dead on again.

    I may buy a Starrett square some day. I've got several of their tools, but if it isn't guaranteed to be within a few thousands of square, why bother?

    One thing I have learned is to never lend out a Starrett. I leant my neighbor my 12" combo square once. I have no idea how he bent it (only slightly), but he managed somehow. I like him so didn't say anything. He's a really good guy tho, because now I have 2 combo squares.

    From now on the only person other than me that can use any of my Starretts is my wife the engineer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Southern MD
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    1,931
    Well, I think there's Starett machinist tools and Starrett construction tools. The machinist tools, like the combo square, are nice and expensive. The construction tools are no different from Stanley IMO. I had a Starrett tape measure that was the same price as a Stanley, and otherwise very similar. I actually like other brands better.

    As mentioned, you can square a framing square with a punch. I've done this successfully, and I've tweaked the square out of usability doing it too much.

    What I do is bring a pencil with me to the Borg and do the flip test on a bunch of 'em using a nice MDF edge in the lumber dept. You'll find one that's right on. In fact, the most I've ever had to try was 3. I do the same with cheap speed squares. I try to keep the good one nice by having a very slightly off beater to square up glueups. If I drop my good one again, it'll probably become my beater

    Jay
    Jay St. Peter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Williamsburg,Va.
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    9,641
    Starrett squares are very accurate,even though they might not specify the accuracy,you can be assured that they are more accurate than you will ever be able to use,unless you are a machinist,and have the means to verify accuracy. I have master granite squares and granite master straight edges. For wood working,you will be just fine,and more than fine with a Starrett NON ADJUSTABLE square. Combo squares with sliding blades can get out of order from the blades wearing the groove it runs in.

  8. #8
    i have an old Stanley that has served me well for many years but im looking into purchasing a new square to commemorate moving into my new shop. maybe i'll get it engraved with the date.

    all brands aside, any square can be as accurate as you want it to be by adjusting it with a hammer and punch.
    S.M.Titmas.

    "...I had field experience, a vocabulary and a criminal mind, I was a danger to myself and others."

    -Anthony Bourdain

  9. #9
    Slightly off topic but I have an old Empire combo square. As hard as it is to believe, it's essentially dead on, any position. The only other squares I own that are that exact are my machinists squares. I figured it would be the worst of the bunch given that it's an Empire (strike one) and a combo square at that (strike two). Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I recently threw out a whole bunch of squares. Not one was square, or even close enough that it was worth it to fix it. Amazing how crappy most squares are these days.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Los Angeles, Calif.
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    You can true up a framing square with a metal punch and a ball peen hammer. Very easy to do.

    Jason



    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Hubert View Post
    I use a Starrett combination square all the time ever since I picked up a used one off ebay. That of course led me to confirming my suspicions about my other squares -- they aren't square. None match the Starrett, and only the Starrett matches a line drawn with it when you flip it to the opposite side.

    So I've had my eye on this framing square from Lee Valley for a while: http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.a...936,42944&ap=1

    But then yesterday someone posted on another forum about this Starret: http://www.toolbarn.com/cgi-bin/prod...starrett/FS-24

    The rafter version of the Starrett is available at Woodworkers Supply for $17.99, but only the Lee Valley is stainless steel.

    Which do you own, or more importantly which would you buy?

    ~ Fred

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    3,041
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason White View Post
    You can true up a framing square with a metal punch and a ball peen hammer. Very easy to do.

    Jason
    When we were running hard there were a dozen squares around the shop/jobs. Every once in a while I would gather and check them. I use an air hammer with a blunt on an anvil at relitively low air pressure. It does the job and leaves no marks.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Southport, NC
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    IMO, spending much money for a framing square makes little sense. I don't care whether you use an old Stanley or a brand new Starrett, drop either once and it needs to be re-squared--and framing squares are always being dropped.

    Just get a cheap one, verify it with your known accurate square or correct it and spend the extra money buy some wood. BTW, in the machine shop I ran will found errors in any "squares" we bought new whether they were Starrett, Brown & Sharp or one of outstanding Japanese tools. That's the reason we had some squares that were precision calibrated that were only used to verify our working tools.

    Personally, I find myself rarely using a framing square.
    Howie.........

  13. #13
    While it's true that one can true up a framing square with a punch, this only works if the legs are accurately ground to the same width all the way along.

    If either of the legs is slightly tapered, then it becomes impossible to get both the inner and outer corners square at the same time.

    The other problem I've seen with framing squares is that they're covered in gooped-on varnish. This retards corrosion, but makes the edge somewhat uneven.

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    extreme southeast Nebraska
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    Gary Herman wrote, " A couple blows near the inside of the corner narrows the legs, a couple blows near the outside of the corner widens the legs."

    I think you have them reversed Gary!
    Jr.
    Hand tools are very modern- they are all cordless
    NORMAL is just a setting on the washing machine.
    Be who you are and say what you feel... because those that matter... don't mind...and those that mind...don't matter!
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  15. #15
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    Feb 2009
    Location
    Tryon, NC
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    22

    Wink True square?

    Have you used Incra tools?

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