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Combination square

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  • Combination square

    My 12" combination square broke today. One of the tools that I've had so long that I never thought I'd have to replace. Other than my tape measure, it was probably my most used tool.

    So, my question to you, what brand combination square do you have and how do you like it? I own a 6" Stanley and am not impressed - doesn't slide well.

  • #2
    Wow, haven't bought one of those in years either. the new ones do look pretty cheap don't they? If money was not a consideration I'd say get a Starrett for about $60 just for the combo head and blade. But for everyday use in the field and rough work I would think the garden variety Stanley or equal for around $15 for a 12" square is gonna be good enough.

    Finding one that adjusts and slides easily is another matter. That cheap plating they put on the blade doesn't help any. I'd rather have a blade that was made from stainless and laser etched and filled graduations.
    "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006


    1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error


    • #3
      Square or not too Square

      Look no further than Starret, spot on and scaled perfect. Avoid Johnstone stuff which HD offer, its not good.


      • #4
        I have an old cast iron combination square with a steel rule. Unfortunately it's so corroded that you can barely make out the measurements on the rule. It used to belong to my Dad. The casting however is about as accurate as it ever was. Last year I received a Johnson for a Christmas present. I think it was the cheapest one and it wasn't square at all. Even the aluminum casting was machined incorrectly and you could easily see a gap when you placed a straight edge across it. I took it back to HD and was surprised that the next level up was only about a dollar or two more.

        That combination square is more accurate than the low grade one (good, better, best), and I guess it's rated as "better" by the Johnson. It's an aluminum casting with a steel rule. It's okay, but the steel rule has no coating of any kind and I've found that with this past summer's humidity, the blade is showing some slight rust marks. I oil the blade when I put it back in the drawer, but even with that care, it doesn't protect it enough. So I guess my recommendation would be to spend the added bucks to find a brand that has a stainless rule.



        • #5
          Originally posted by cjh20
          ...what brand combination square do you have and how do you like it? I own a 6" Stanley and am not impressed - doesn't slide well.
          Like those previously mentioned - the Starrett is top drawer stuff. The Stanley is OK for the framing type jobs where extreme accuracy is not too necessary. Besides, if you lose the Stanley out of your tool bag, it's about 1/5 the price of a Starrett.

          Starrett makes about every measuring tool you can think of.

          You can also find similar quality squares if you Google machinst tools.
          Tools Rule


          • #6
            I'm leaning towards the Starrett. I don't mind the price for a tool that I count on for so much. I was hoping there was Starrett owners out there to tell me they were well worth the price. Maybe I'm missing a product, but it seems like the price range is mostly below $20 then jumps to the $70 range.


            • #7
              Quick Link

              Starret combo square sets are well worth the investment, ther flagship model is a 4 piece set, had mine for 35 years and its still like new and still spot on in every respect. About three years ago we moved house and had everything packed up and ready to go, except my most essential power tools, some numpty stole a couple of the kitchen cabinets I made and when I coulnt find my Starret, my friend loaned me his Johnson from HD, well I was far from impressed, 1/ was,nt 90, 2/ the grads were off 3/ coulnt get it to lock the steel blade tight enough to rely upon, I found that out when I was setting my Circ saw to cut a panel, the set measurement moved due to the poor lock and I ruined a 8 foot strip section from a hard faced 8 x4, even with measuring twice I still screwed up. The set or individual squares come in very nice wooden boxes, they even have an eyelet and you can secure it to your tool box or bag and have no fear it can fall out.

              Those who appreciate quality and strive to produce top quality works will have no trouble paying for it. But I agree if your a 2 x 4 chopper its overkill.

              Here is a quick link to Starret combination square sets: