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Thread: When is a square not a square?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Prosper, Texas
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    When is a square not a square?

    <o =""></o>The answer of course is “When it is not square”! <o =""></o>

    With great care and patience, I tuned my new Jet cabinet saw last weekend. Everything was tuned to .002” or less. I ripped a test piece and then crosscut it on my Windhaven miter gauge. I then checked the angle with my square (nothing fancy, wooden handle bought at Home Depot years ago). My cut was off quite a bit – I don’t know to what degree, but certainly more than I was willing to tolerate. Knowing how diligent I was in the tuning of my saw, I decided to check for square against one of those measuring devices sold by Incra – the ones with the very small holes for marking and the littler red fence. I have never considered using this to check for a 90 degree angle, but I did anyway. My cut was perfectly square according to it. I then picked up a speed square and checked with that. Once again, my test cut looked great. I decided I needed a machinist’s square to confirm the mixed results. Neither HD or Lowes have such a thing, so I drove to the local Woodcraft store and checked my test cut with an Incra (guaranteed square) square. Now I felt better, as my saw was obviously well tuned and the problem was the original square I was using was not square at all (I should have just checked it by scribing a line with it and then flipping it over, but I did not think of that – DUH!!) In any event the 2 tools I had in my shop in which I did not have much confidence proved to be more accurate than the square I assumed was dead-on. Lesson learned.

    <o =""></o>BTW, I bought the Incra square!!

  2. #2
    I too have the Incras and love them. I have the smaller and larger one of the 90* and 45*.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    I love my Starrett squares (I have 3) plus a couple of antique english machinists squares. They've always been perfect or near enough but I check them about every two weeks anyway.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    You know this is something I ALWAYS worry about. I know it's stupid but man I am so anal about it. I have some machinests squares I keep for JUST aligning my TS. Other than that they do nothing else but be tucked away in their case.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Cheap square squares

    About the most accurate square you can buy is a drafting triangle. They cost only a few dollars and are very accurate. I have a 30/60 and 45 triangle hanging on the wall right be side my saw. I use it to check the miter gage for perpendicularity to the blade. I think I paid less than $5.00 for the pair. I also use them to check my combination square and carpenters square.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  6. #6
    Quick question on the INCRA square,

    I have the 7" square and 45 degree square. On the 7" square there is a small hole drilled and taped on the blade... the picture on the box and sites I've seen does not have such a hole.. I bought it from woodcraft and was wondering if I got a damaged/altered return?

    Thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Tidewater, VA
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    2,123
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Christopher
    You know this is something I ALWAYS worry about. I know it's stupid but man I am so anal about it. I have some machinists squares I keep for JUST aligning my TS. Other than that they do nothing else but be tucked away in their case.
    Me, too!
    --------------

    Glen -

    I received a Starrett combinations square for Christmas. It is light years better than the old Stanley/Craftsman/Whatever combo squares it replaced. Since you have the Incra square, you are set. But having good quality measuring tools is as important as the tools used to machine the wood. You must be able to accurately check your work.

    Regards,
    Ted

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Boston MA
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    67

    Into the trash with it.

    Glen -

    Just one warning. Please throw your unsquare square in the trash right away. It's tempting to hold onto it (say for some non-critical household task) but it's possible that someday you'll pick it up without thinking and some piece you are working on will be ruined. Give it the heave-ho before it's too late.

    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Odessa, Texas
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    1,567
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Katz
    Glen -

    Just one warning. Please throw your unsquare square in the trash right away. It's tempting to hold onto it (say for some non-critical household task) but it's possible that someday you'll pick it up without thinking and some piece you are working on will be ruined. Give it the heave-ho before it's too late.

    Mark
    No need to throw the "Unsquare" Square away, just get out a hammer and punch, and adjust it til it is square. This has been the normal procedure in the industry for at least 60+ years that I'm aware of, and probably a lot longer than that. It's not that difficult to do, no more so than using a punch to "Tighten" up a mitre runner in a table saw slot.
    "Some Mistakes provide Too many Learning Opportunities to Make only Once".

  10. #10
    Quick question on the INCRA square,

    I have the 7" square and 45 degree square. On the 7" square there is a small hole drilled and taped on the blade... the picture on the box and sites I've seen does not have such a hole.. I bought it from woodcraft and was wondering if I got a damaged/altered return?"

    That hole is part of an improved machining process. there is another one hidden under the handles. They apparently found the squares were more accurate or more consistently so by actually bolting the blanks down during machining. I make note of this in my review of the Incra Squares at the link below.

    http://www.newwoodworker.com/reviews/incrasqrsrvu.html
    "Because There Is Always More To Learn"

  11. #11
    Thanks Tom!

    I should have thought to check your site, I find info on everything else there

    BTW -- not to hijack the thread, but your site is awesome.

  12. #12
    You beat me to it. I have three of them and they are very accurate.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, WA
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    2,550
    I have one of these from Grizzly it work great for checking squares to see if their square as well as checking tools for accuracy.



    http://www.grizzly.com/products/item...emnumber=g9900
    I usually find it much easier to be wrong once in while than to try to be perfect.

    My web page has a pop up. It is a free site, just close the pop up on the right side of the screen

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